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Is Tart Cherry Right For You?

6 min read time Sep 17, 2020


Recently, we discussed the benefits and characteristics of tart cherry and why it could be a possible first line of defense when supporting a healthy inflammation response. (If you haven’t read that article, please go here.)

I also took it one step further by comparing it to curcumin (The most well known natural inflammation modulator) based on their mechanisms of action.

It is quite clear, tart cherry is a wonderful food that in many ways provides a unique level of support to the body. The importance of that article was to understand that not only does tart cherry modulate what triggers the initial inflammation response (much like curcumin) but it also directly affects specific parts of the inflammation cascade. This is a unique characteristic of any food. But, all of this “technical stuff” isn’t what you want to hear right?  

You want to know……………….

“What can tart cherry do for me?”

If you look at this food simply for its uniquely nourishing antioxidant makeup and that it’s the highest known food source of melatonin, then just about anyone can benefit from a daily dose.

If you look at tart cherries for all its qualities based on its mechanisms of action, then you will understand how this food is used with a targeted approach.

While tart cherry does modulate the inflammatory response, its results are specific to joint health. Combine this with its ability to:

  • modulate uric acid levels,
  • aid healthy sleep patterns (due to its melatonin content), and
  • support oxidative stress levels

and you have a powerful food with the ability to support a wide range of issues while specifically targeting joint and tendon health.  

Health benefits of Tart Cherry:

Let’s use the average person with moderately high stress and body fat levels as an example to help you decide if this food is right for you. Let’s assume (because it is true) that with both elevated stress and body fat levels, pain and inflammation are either a problem or have the potential to become one. The two greatest factors that produce the effects of tart cherry are its unique antioxidant complex and nourishing melatonin levels.

Healthy sleep / wake patterns have a direct effect on your body’s ability to restore and recover. Melatonin, a hormone which is naturally produced by the body depletes as we get older. The need to support these levels in the most natural way possible is best done through a nourishing source that provides other benefits  -- just as tart cherry does. By having consistent healthy sleep / wake patterns (via healthy melatonin levels) your body is able to function at a more optimal level which helps to modulate pain and inflammation levels.

Next, in the previous tart cherry article, there was a section titled “The power of Anthocyanins & Polyphenolic compounds, found in tart Cherry” where I reference two studies that discuss the powerful antioxidant compounds found in tart cherry and how they support this food’s mechanism of action. Polyphenolic compounds have a vast array of actions because they are very complex creatures. It is this complexity which allows them to perform their magic and the term which describes this magic is synergy. To make this simple, these special antioxidants support and modulate all of the actions which the body performs to replenish and restore itself.  

So, should you use Tart Cherry?

Yes, If you want to support and maintain the structure and integrity of the human body.

But, a more important question is……….

What is your Intention for using Tart Cherry? (Nourishment or therapy?)

Let’s break this down a little bit further…………

There are many ways you can use “food as medicine”. I have learned over the years, whether using foods for nourishment or in a therapeutic way, it is very much one in the same. True therapy and nourishment begin with real wholesome foods.The end result is to provide the body with well-balanced foods which support your body in healing itself. This is exactly what tart cherries do.

A Magic Bullet?

I am sorry to burst your bubble but there is no such substance on earth that is or will ever be considered a magic bullet. Bullets are not meant to restore and replenish, they are meant to kill.  Still looking for a magic bullet?

A Proper Perspective:

Whether the goal is short term or long term, if you picked tart cherry, then you have picked a winner.  We have seen in studies (See Can you Sleep and Recover Better with Tart Cherry?)) with runners, the impressive fast onset and short-term results with repairing muscle damage, lowering pain levels and faster recovery times using tart cherry. I also showed studies with an impressively fast onset for modulating sleep and wake patterns. I think it is safe to say, Tart Cherry has a strong short game.

I believe one of the biggest mistakes people make is basing their goals and perspective only on short-term results.

We see it every day with weight loss as the next great “Lose 50 pounds in 7 days” promise comes along. I think most people are smart enough to realize, if goals are not kept in perspective, you are simply setting yourself up for failure. With that said, if you are hoping or expecting that by taking one dose or a daily dose of tart cherry for a week it will take you from bedridden to dancing the cha-cha again, I suggest you not invest in tart cherry.

I want to be clear, I am not saying you won’t see or feel anything in that short period of time (results are clearly shown above). While the short-term results were impressive, those who participated in the athletic and sleep studies know that the need for consistent use will be the greatest factor for long-term results.

How to get the most bang for your buck with tart cherry:

I am going to do something a little different from the norm. I am going to tell you how a 26-year veteran Elite level powerlifter with a messed up spine and neck incorporates tart cherry into his life to get the most from this amazing food. I personally use tart cherry as a part of a formula in the morning and before bed. My purpose is to support the inflammation process and recovery.

To be clear, this is very specific to my needs. I am showing you these formulas so you have an understanding of how to target your own approach.

The morning formula (I add the following ingredients to 5 oz of water):

  • 1 teaspoon tart cherry
  • 500 mgs curcumin
  • 500 mgs boswellia
  • 2000 mgs fish oil
  • 1 dropperful of cayenne tincture
  • 2 dropperfuls of the following mixture I make myself (st john’s wort, jamaica dogwood and medowsweet)

The evening formula