Cherry Cure for Gout
Gout is a fairly common type of arthritis which occurs when an excess of uric acid in the blood, tissues and urine crystallizes in a person's joints. Some people are unable to break down or excrete uric acid, causing them to have bouts of gout which brings about extremely sore toes or other areas of the foot. The pain of a gout attack can come on suddenly and generally lasts from a few hours to several days. Infrequently, gout can appear in a person's ear, heel of the hand, ankles, elbows, knees or wrists, bringing inflammation, swelling and intense pain due to the buildup of uric acid crystals. People who have gout do not have the necessary amounts of the digestive enzyme known as uricase, which allows most people to metabolize uric acid. If left uncontrolled, gout can lead to the development of kidney stones, kidney disease and even kidney failure. Although there are a variety of medical treatments for gout, there are also some good alternative treatments to try. In 1950, a Texas doctor studied the positive effects that cherries could have on gout symptoms. Although the study was small, with only 12 people, the doctor had each person eat a half of a pound of red, black, or yellow cherries, or drink the equivalent in cherry juice each day--in all twelve people the blood uric acid levels fell to normal levels.
The doctor, who suffered from gout himself, said that eating 6-8 cherries per day completely ended his frequent gout attacks. Whether or not cherries actually cure gout is a question which still remains open for debate. Many studies have been done throughout the years since the first Texas doctor's study, and many of them have reported promising results. Many Internet sites on which people who suffer from gout discuss various alternative cures seem to show time and time again that cherries offer very positive results. Drinking large quantities of water as well as diluted apple cider vinegar are also good natural remedies for gout.
Benefits of Cherries
Why do cherries offer promise in the treatment of gout? Cherries contain a sub class of flavonoids called anthocyanidins which can block pain as well as reduce levels of uric acid. These same anthocyanidins are frequently used in the manufacture of ibuprofen, NSAID's, and aspirin, leading to surprising similarities between cherries and these painkillers and anti-inflammatory agents. A Michigan State University found that the anthocyanidins and the quercetin in Montmorency (sour) cherries ease the pain of gout with no side effects. Another study which was conducted by the Agricultural Research Service in the United States found that five hours after volunteers had a breakfast which included 45 Bing cherries had significant reductions in their blood uric acid levels. It is actually the anthocyanidins in cherries which give them their color, but for the purposes of gout sufferers, it is enough to know that simply eating cherries may be enough to substantially decrease your incidence of gout, reducing both the pain and the inflammation.
It's possible that there are other compounds in cherries as well which work with the anthocyanidins to increase the overall therapeutic effect. The darker the cherries color, whether red or black, the more likely they are to be higher in flavonoids. Gout sufferers can also be at risk for heart disease and stroke, so need to keep their heart as healthy as possible. Some two million people have gout, and from 75-90% of those are middle-aged males. Because 25% of the gout sufferers have family members with gout, it may also have some heredity links.