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Why You Really Need to Start Drinking Cherry Juice

Cherry juice is a delicious summer treat that’s really good for you when added to a healthy diet. It’s tart, refreshing, and packed with nutrients.

benefits of cherry juice

Cherries come in many forms. There are sweet cherries, tart cherries, sour cherries. All types of cherries are made into drinks. Sweet cherries are most often used in juice. Tart cherry juice is often used as a health drink.

Cherries are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, and iron. They are very high in many of the antioxidants and phytonutrients that keep us healthy and moving well. These same antioxidants are believed to help aid the body in rejecting cancer and preventing disease.

The two most powerful compounds in tart cherries are anthocyanins and bioflavonoids. These slow down the enzymes Cyclo-oxyygenase-1 and -2, major factors for arthritis and gout flare-ups.

Researchers have found the flavonoid queritrin to be a potent anti-cancer agent. Cherries have a significant amount of queritrin. A natural phenol, ellagic acid, also is believed by some researchers to help prevent cancer.

The Clinical Cancer Press (May 1998), a research journal, found the perillyl alcohol (POH) compound is able to reduce the occurrence of cancer. POH is able to stop protein integration, and causing the cells to die early. The Cancer Research Journal (June 2007) compiled a list of nearly all cancers and the effects of POH, finding it works against all cancers researched.

The juice retains many of the nutrients, but you just need to moderate. It’s very high in carbohydrates, so it’s not the best juice for people with sugar issues.

Benefits of Cherry Juice

Cherry juice is good for many things. There have been several studies produced in the Journal of Medicinal Foods (Aug 2012) and the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry (Dec 2005) that shows there good health benefits to cherries juice.

Many of the health benefits you’ll get are simple ones: relieving pain and oxidative stress, helping prevent cancer and migraines, and aiding your natural sleep patterns.

There also many health benefits of tart cherry juice. In addition to helping everything sweet cherry juice does, tart cherry juice also aids in sports fatigue recovery. The antioxidants that help prevent cancer also help reduce muscle soreness and inflammation during exercise. In the December 2010 issue of the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sport, researchers showed just 10 oz of juice per day was able to help marathon runners to recover from the race better than those who took a placebo.

Cherry juice is good for many issues related to stress. These include fatigue, inflammation, digestive problems, sleep, and others. And many of the studies show it doesn’t take much juice to do all this.

tart cherry juice benefits infographic

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In fact, to answer the question of how much cherry juice should you drink, the answer is a surprisingly small 5 to 10 oz per day, or about 1 glass. Most studies and research broke this up into 2 or 3 servings throughout the day.

Tart cherry juice dosage usually is a little less. Usually, the concentration of the phytonutrients is higher than in sweet cherry juice, so you don’t need as much. While there are no official recommendations, it seems 4 to 8 oz per day give you plenty of health benefits.

One last watch: cherry juice is acidic. It’s more than orange juice, but less than grapefruit. If your mouth can handle the acidity, your body will appreciate the nutrients. For those with sensitive mouths, it might be best to avoid this juice and seek out a supplement.

Types of Cherry Juice

There are many types of cherry juice, and if you were a little confused before, here’s a great place to get sorted out.

Sweet Cherry Juice

This is the typical cherry juice you’ll find on the grocery store shelf. It’s easy to make and highly processed. We actually don’t recommend this juice because of the high heat of pasteurization that is used. The heat kills many of the good nutrients and you are left with a juice that little more than flavored sugar water.

Tart Cherry Juice

Tart cherries are a little different than sweet cherries. Although they are sisters, botanically, tart cherries contain more nutrients and less sugar. Many of the juices are artificially sweetened because the tart juice really is tart. It is more expensive in most places, but also more nutritious.

Tart cherry juice concentrate * is often found in health stores, rather than the prepared juice. From a good company, the concentrate can be as nutritious as the fresh juice. We recommend you try it and see! The biggest benefit is you can adjust the level of sweetness yourself and make it fit your tastes.

Organic Cherry Juice

No matter which type of cherry juice you get, do your research. Plantations use chemical sprays and many types of juice contain pesticide residue. Organic groves are not permitted chemical sprays. You are drinking a higher quality juice when you go organic. Unless you can verify the source, seek the better juices.

Black Cherry Juice

This is another type of cherry. Black cherries have a reputation for being tart, but many people find they are sweet. Black cherry juice tends to be more expensive because the berries are more expensive. For a long time, the cherries were considered a luxury, available only locally to home growers. Then, they became a fad. Today, black cherries are easier to find, if expensive.

What is Maraschino Cherry Juice

Originally, maraschino cherries were simply sweet cherries that were preserved in either a sugar solution or fermented. They lost much of their color, but had increased flavor and health benefits.

Today, the cherries are soaked in sulfur dioxide and calcium chloride to bleach the fruit. Then, they are artificially dyed, drenched in corn syrup, and artificial flavorings. The final pasteurization process makes the cherries mushy. There are no health benefits to maraschino cherries or their juice.

how to make maraschino cherry juice infographic

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Homemade Cherry Juice Recipe

Here’s how you can make tart cherry juice at home:

how to make tart cherry juice


  • 10 lbs cherries
  • 2 lbs sugar or to taste


  • Add the cherries to a steam juicer * and follow the manufacturer’s directions.
  • Add sugar to taste

Or, if you are like me and don’t have a steam juicer:

  • Add cherries to a large stock pot. Add sugar and let sit 2 hours.
  • Add enough water to cover and bring to a boil.
  • Allow to simmer 1 to 3 hours. Then cool.
  • Strain through a fine sieve to remove skins and pits.
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To store the juice, place in air-tight container and refrigerate.

  • Note: juice will not last more than 2-3 days.

Cherry Juice Stain

Well, if you made the recipe above, you most likely got cherry juice on your clothes. But, don’t worry, it’s not the end of your shirt. Here’s how we clean up this mess:

how to remove cherry juice stain infographic

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  • Rinse with cold water until water runs clear to remove as much as possible.
  • Dab wet cloth with bleach or hydrogen peroxide to bleach the color out.
  • Optional: mix a bit of vinegar with dish detergent and rub on stain.
  • Rinse well in cold water. Repeat if necessary.
  • Note: maraschino cherry juice will not come out because of the artificial dyes.

Cherry Juice & Medication

Cherry juice isn’t for everyone. There are several medications that react negatively to cherry juice.

Quercetin is also an inhibitor of CYP3A4, an enzyme that breaks down many commonly prescribed drugs in the body," say Abigail J. Larson as published in the January 2012 issue of Advances in Nutrition.

Taking aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs can also accelerate liver and kidney problems. Quercetin can also increase your chances of bleeding, so you must use caution when adding blood thinners to your cherry juice.

Small amounts of juice as we are recommending should not interfere with most people. It is only in excess that you will start to experience side effects.

Some of the side effects of too much cherry juice are diarrhea, gas, and nausea. It is difficult to experience toxic levels of cherry juice unless medications are involved.

We do not recommend drinking more than 10 oz of cherry juice per day, well below the toxic levels for most people.

What You Can Use Cherry Juice For?

There is a wealth of antidotal evidence for cherry juice helping many more conditions than what we list here. While we believe many of the tales, in order to help you make the best decisions for your health, we only offer conditions we know have good research behind them.

Cherry Juice for Arthritis

cherry juice for arthritis

Cherry juice is very good for arthritis. There are several different phytonutrients in cherry juice, including the anthocyanins we mentioned before, that help stop inflammation. Cherry juice also stimulates our pituitary gland to help secrete endorphins, which dull pain.

Additionally, by including cherry juice as part of a healthy diet, you are reducing the number of toxins you take into your body. This helps arthritis by allowing the body to start to heal. Cherry juice provides nutrients for this to happen.

Additionally, the extra hydration you take in with the juice helps lubricate the joints. This can help preserve the bones and cartilage and prevent further damage.

How Much: General consensus is to take 2 oz of juice 2-3 times per day.

Cherry Juice for Gout

cherry juice for gout

Cherry juice helps gout in several ways. The bioflavonoids help reduce the inflammation in your joints and in your digestive system. A study from the Journal of Functional Foods credits anthocyanins for reducing the inflammation and preventing re-occurrences.

The juice can also inhibit protein synthesis. This inhibition can reduce gout, and the waste product of protein metabolism, uric acid. Additionally, the phytonutrients in cherry juice can also help your kidneys remove the uric acid from your system and prevent build-up.

How Much: General consensus is to take 1 oz of concentrated juice diluted water in 2-3 times per day.

Cherry Juice for Sleep

does tart cherry juice help sleep

Cherry juice is not a sleep aid, it doesn’t not put you to sleep. In direct conflict, the sugars could keep you up. So, we don’t recommend drinking it at night.

But, does cherry juice help you sleep? Yes. But, not in the way you think. Cherries contain a small amount of melatonin. This is the hormone that helps you sleep. There is not enough of it in cherries to make you sleepy (unless you eat way too many, but then, you’d have bathroom problems to keep you up). What the melatonin does is help restore your circadian rhythms, which will help you get a natural night sleep.

How Much: Research is conflicted. Some people have good results on 4 oz per day in the morning. Others do well with 2 oz 3 times per day.

Cherry Juice for Cancer Prevention

Cherries contain many phytonutrients that are known to prevent and reverse cancer. They are not in large quantities, however. In juice, they may not be present at all. That’s because of the processing; the heat of pasteurization destroys the phytonutrients.

If you make juice at home, or you seek out a brand that uses gentle methods of extraction (like cold-pressed juices), you’ll retain the nutrients.

The cancer benefits are well known for cherries, to the point that the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center actually recommends including cherries and juice in the diet of a cancer patient. We have more on the specifics up top.

How Much: General consensus is to take 2 oz of juice 2-3 times per day.

Cherry Juice for Weight Loss

cherry juice weight loss

Yes, it may aid in your weight loss. There are two studies that tentatively link cherries, and more specifically the anthocyanins in them, to being able to stabilize the metabolism and prevent obesity. An April 2010 study in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemicals found that concentrated anthocyanins help fight obesity. While the study was complete on blueberry juice, the same phytonutrients are found in cherries.

Of course, they worked with concentrated supplements. In regular juice, there are not nearly as many phytonutrients. We still believe that as part of a healthy diet, cherry juice can aid in your weight loss.

How Much: General consensus is to take 2 oz of juice 2-3 times per day.

Cherry Juice for Post Workout Recovery

cherry juice workout recovery

Tart cherry juice contains 330mg of potassium, nearly 10% of your RDA. When you consume electrolytes after a workout, you replenish your body’s natural resources. The potassium in cherry juice can help inflammation and pain afterwards. As we told you above, in studies, marathon runners who consumed just a small amount of cherry juice before a marathon were able to recover faster in the first 48 hours versus those who took a placebo.

When combined with a desire for weight loss, the exercise recovery and obesity prevention work together. Use the cherry juice to help reduce after-workout fatigue and enjoy your workout more!

How Much: General consensus is to take 2 oz of juice 2-3 times per day, preferably near your workout.

Cherry Juice for Heart Disease Prevention

A 2013 study published in International Journal of Preventive Medicine found that quercetin can help reduce the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, and help prevent plaque build-up. Cherries have abundant quercetin, especially dark and black cherries.

One note made in the study showed that natural quercetin, from foods, worked better than supplemental quercetin. The natural form was better tolerated, produced better results, and showed no level of toxicity, unlike the supplement that had to be strictly controlled.

How Much: General consensus is to take 1 oz of concentrated juice diluted water in 2-3 times per day.

Cherry Juice for Migraine Prevention

Some migraines are caused by inflammation and swelling. Others are caused by blood pressure problems. The phytonutrients in cherries are able to combat both of these problems. While no formal study has been conducted on preventing migraines with cherry juice or the specific phytonutrients, many people experience prevention of migraines when they make sure their consumption of anthocyanins and bioflavonoids are kept high. Cherry juice can play a large part in this.

Cherry juice has a negligible effect on blood pressure, directly. Including it in your diet can help reduce oxidative stress on your heart and that can lower blood pressure. The quercetin also helps reduce inflammation that can cause blood pressure to rise.

How Much: We recommend 1 oz of concentrated juice diluted water in 2-3 times per day.

Cherry Juice for Anti-Aging

cherry juice anti aging

Queritrin and its cousin isoqueritrin are powerful anti-oxidants. They help reverse oxidative stress. This can help you look younger. While the body will take the nutrients first for vital organs, the brain, heart, and liver, when your body begins to heal, you’ll find the anti-oxidants start working to reverse aging signs.

On top of that, as your body begins to heal, you’ll look and feel younger. And that’s something you just can’t get out of a cream. When you consume a healthy diet, your skin glows and you look better.

How Much: General consensus is to take 2 oz of juice 2-3 times per day.

Cherry Juice to Fight Colds & Flus

cherry juice for flu and colds

Immune support is important. The antioxidants in cherry juice can help your immune system, according to the journal Biochemical Pharmacology. But, it works in more than one way. Cherries are known anti-virals. They have been used for centuries to help fight colds and flus. Now, we know that the phytonutrients work together in cherries to help fight viruses directly. In one report by the Department of Agriculture, during a 2012 outbreak of avian flu, a virus, chicken free-ranging on a fruit farm that included cherries were completely untouched by the virus. The report included cherries in the list of foods eaten by the chicken.

Cherries won’t stop the flu, but it can help you fight it off better.

How Much: General consensus is to take 2 oz of juice 2-3 times per day.

Cherry Juice & Inflammation

cherry juice for inflammation

Many of the phytonutrients in cherries are anti-inflammatory. Cherries have been known to herbal medicine to reduce inflammation and swelling. There have been several studies showing that cherries and the phytonutrients contained therein are able to reduce inflammation for many problems.

Some of the most potent observations of the anti-inflammatory effects are in arthritis and digestive problems. In the digestive system, the cherry juice can soothe the mucus membranes and help balance the pH. It can aid the stomach by lowering the pH of the stomach acid. This can help reduce indigestion and ulcers.

How Much: General consensus is to take 2 oz of juice 2-3 times per day.

Cherry Juice for Pain

cherry juice for pain relief

In the Journal of Food Studies, Jan 2012, a study directly linked drinking tart cherry juice for 21 days with a reduction in pain from osteoarthritis as measured by serum inflammatory biomarkers.

The amount of pain experienced by runners was reduced in an Oregon Health & Science University study. Runners who drank juice did not experience as much pain and recovered quicker than those who used commercial sports drinks or water.

In the December 2006 issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine, muscle builders who supplemented with cherry juice retained their strength and level of comfort during workouts, especially the workouts designed to push the body beyond its limits. Only 12 men participated in the study, however, we feel the information matches the other, better research we found.

How Much: The studies used about 2 oz of juice 2-3 times per day.

Where to Buy Cherry Juice

First, do not buy it at the grocery store. You will not find good or pure juice there.

So, seek out your local natural foods store. Most of them will have various brands of both juice and concentrate.

Below, we have a few online vendors where we believe you will get high quality juice for a reasonable price.

Click Here to Buy Cherry Juice from Amazon Store *

About the Author: Christina Major is a Holistic Nutritionist, Traditional Naturopath, and Herbalist. She has a Master’s degree in Holistic Nutrition and an advanced degree in Traditional Naturopathy. Further certifications in herbalism and metabolic typing. She owns and operates Crystal Holistic Health Consulting based in PA, the USA since 2010.

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