Blog: Tart Cherry Research Blog
by risingsun

Cherries for Cancer?

A Bowl of Cherries
Singer Rudy Vallee used to croon: "Life is just a bowl of cherries." I always wondered, "Why cherries? Why not plums, pears, or persimmons?" No longer. Scientists are now proving that the cherry (particularly the tart cherry, Prunus cerasus) contains a host of marvelous compounds that fight diseases, including cancer.


I read somewhere on a list that woman drank tart cherrie juice to relieve back pain. I hope it helps.

Date:   5/26/2006 7:51:00 PM   ( 13 y ) ... viewed 5691 times


The cherry is of course a harbinger of spring, its deep-colored fruit among the best of summertime treats. The tart cherry is a hardy and attractive planting. Despite its name (sometimes also called "sour cherry"), it is a delightfully pungent fruit to eat. My neighbor, Jan W., has a magnificent tart cherry tree in her front yard. The soil is not rich yet in good years she feasts off that tree, about 7,000 cherries in a good season!

Tart cherries are only "sour" in comparison to sugary sweet cherries. The top tart cherry species in the US is the Montmorency, but recently, Dr. Amy Iezzoni of Michigan State University discovered another variety, called the Balaton, named for Hungary's largest lake. Balaton cherries are sweeter, larger and firmer that the Montmorency. Its juice is more highly colored, making it great for preserves.

For centuries, the cherry, either as bark, root or fruit, has been a source of medicine for indigenous peoples. Native Americans prized cherries as pain relievers, especially for sore throats. The Cherokees used an infusion of sour cherry bark to treat laryngitis. The Ojibwa used the crushed root for stomach pain. The Forest Potawatomi employed an infusion of the inner bark to alleviate internal pains while the MicMac used black cherry fruit as a health tonic. (I suspect that the cherry flavoring of most cough medicines is a faint memory of this ancient Native American usage.)

In 1999, Michigan State University scientists discovered that cherries' dark coloring material is an outstanding source of antioxidants known as anthocyanins. This makes them similar to the food supplement Pycnogenol (derived from maritime pine bark). In fact, the antioxidant activity of tart black cherries is greater than of vitamin E, the benchmark antioxidant. Dark-colored Balaton cherries are particularly rich, with a total of 37.5 mg of anthocyanins in every 100 grams of fruit.

Second, cherries contain pain-relieving compounds. Most of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, Vioxx, and Celebrex work by inhibiting cyclooxygenase I and II, popularly known as cox 1 and cox 2. Cherries also deliver a dose of cox inhibitors comparable to, say, Advil. Cox inhibitors are also being investigated for anticancer activity.

Finally, cherries contain surprisingly high levels of melatonin, a hormone previously thought to be produced only by the pineal gland in the brain. Melatonin is part of the body's natural way of regulating sleep. It also may have anticancer properties. "Consuming cherries could be an important source of dietary melatonin," said Texas scientists recently. For reasons such as these, last year, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) gave a grant to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore to study the use of sour cherries in alleviating the pain of cancer.

How many cherries do you need to provide these benefits? "Cherries can prevent and treat many kinds of pain," said Muraleedharan Nair, the lead researcher of the Michigan State University project. "Twenty cherries provide 25 milligrams of anthocyanins, which help to shut down the enzymes that cause tissue inflammation in the first place."

Michigan produces 80 percent of America's tart cherries. Depending on the variety, two teaspoons to two tablespoons per day of concentrated cherry juice is a reasonable dose. I am unaware of any adverse effects, such as occur with aspirin or other NSAIDs.

At least one Michigan company is thinking of bringing out a cherry supplement pill. More power to them. For now, it is easy to find and take concentrated cherry juice. Or better yet, do as I have done, and plant a few tart cherry trees in your front yard and then help yourself to Nature's bounty.


Public Health Service
Food and Drug Administration
Detroit District
300 River Place
Suite 5900
Detroit, MI 48207
Telephone : 313-393-8100
FAX: 313-393-8139


WARNING LETTER

October 17, 2005

Skyview Orchards
5996 W Meisenheimer Rd
Ludington, MI 49431

Dear Owner/Operator :

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reviewed the labeling of .your Cherry Juice Concentrate and Cherry Capsules on your web site at http://www.skyview1.com as it appeared on August 13, 2005. Our review shows serious violations of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act) in the labeling of these products. You can find the Act and implementing regulations through links on FDA's Internet home page at http://www.fda.gov.

Under the Act, articles intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease in man are drugs [Section 201(g)(1)(B) of the Act, 21 USC 321(g)(1)(B)]. The labeling for your products bears the following claims :

Get the Facts about Tart Cherries 5 times more potent on all types of Cancer! Mother Nature's all-natural chemotherapy agents.

Shut down the growth of cancer cells by depriving them of the proteins they need to grow.

One of the most potent Anticancer agents ever discovered, Queritrin.

Five times more potent than the other known cancer-reducing compounds at inducing tumor
regression.

The most potent way to prevent cancer, Ellagic acid is a naturally occurring plant phenolic that is known as a potent anti-carcinogenic/anti-mutagenic compound in tart cherries. It also may Inhibit the growth of cancer cells, and Arrest the growth of cancer in subjects with a genetic predisposition for the disease . . . .

Relieve the pain of Arthritis and Gout. Superior to over-the-counter pain relief because cherries block pain in the same manner and reduce potential side-effects. . . .

Tart cherries contain natural anti-inflammatory compounds 10 times more active than aspirin."

[T]here are beneficial compounds in Montmorency tart cherries that help relieve the pain of arthritis and gout. . . . [M]any, consumers are discovering that tart cherry juice and other tart cherry products can stave off pain."

"[D]ocumented the presence of ellagic acid in cherries. Ellagic acid is a naturally occurring plant phenolic that is known as a potent anti-carcinogenic / anti-mutagenic compound. Clinical tests . . . show that ellagic acid may be the most potent way to prevent cancer. It also may inhibit the growth of cancer cells, and arrest the growth of cancer in subjects with a genetic predisposition for the disease."

"[T]art cherries contain perillyl alcohol (POH), a natural compound in that is -extremely powerful in reducing the incidence of all types of cancer. Perillyl alcohol `shuts down the growth of cancer cells by depriving them of the proteins they need fo grow . . . . .. `It works on every kind of cancer we've tested it against .' Perillyl alcohol (POH) has performed favorably in the treatment of advanced carcinomas of the breast, prostate and ovary.. POH also has exhibited chemopreventive activity in pre-clinical breast cancer tests. Perillyl alcohol has been shown to induce the regression of 81 percent of small breast cancers and up to 75 percent of advanced breast cancers in animal studies . Perillyl alcohol was up to five times more potent than the other known cancer-reducing compounds at inducing tumor regression."

"[C]herries are rich in two important flavonoids isoqueritrin and queritrin. According to leading researchers, queritrin is one of the most potent anticancer agents ever discovered. Consuming it in foods, such as cherries, is like unleashing inside your body an entire army of James Bond-type agents who are adept at neutralizing cancer-causing agents ."

"[T]hree powerful anthocyanins in tart cherries with the potential to inhibit the growth of colon cancer tumors."

"Tart cherries contain anthocyanins and bioflavonoids which . . . prevent inflammation in the body. These compounds have similar activity as aspirin, naproxen and ibuprofen. Further investigations revealed that daily consumption of tart cherries has the potential to reduce the pain associated with inflammation, arthritis and gout. Many middle-aged and elderly consumers are choosing to drink cherry juice rather than take over-the-counter medications to stave off the pain of arthritis and gout."

"TART CHERRY CAPSULES An all-natural capsule made from tart cherries is now avalible [sic] that gives consumers health benefits to stave off the pain of arthritis and gout .. ."

This list of claims is not intended to be all-inclusive, but represents the types of claims found in your product labeling.

These claims cause your products to be drugs, as defined in section 201(g)(1)(B) of the Act (21 USC 321(g)(1)(B)]. Because these products are not generally recognized as safe and effective when used as labeled, they are also new drugs as defined in section 201(p) of the Act [21 USC 321(p)]. Under section 505 of the Act (21 USC 355), anew drug may not be legally marketed in the United States without an approved New Drug Application (NDA). FDA approves a new drug on the basis of scientific data submitted by a drug sponsor to demonstrate that the drug is safe and effective.

The above violations are not meant to be an all-inclusive list of deficiencies in your products and their labeling. It is your responsibility to ensure that products marketed by your firm comply with the Act and its implementing regulations.

Failure to promptly correct these violations may result in enforcement action without further notice. Enforcement action may include seizure of violative products, injunction against the manufacturers and distributors of violative products, and criminal sanctions against persons responsible for causing violations of the Act.

Please advise this office in writing, within 15 working days of receipt of this letter, as to the specific steps you have taken or will be taking to correct these violations, including the steps taken to assure that similar violations do not recur. Your reply should be directed to Judith A. Putz, Compliance Officer at above address.

Sincerely,

/s/
Joann M. Givens
District Director
Detroit District Office

http://www.fda.gov/foi/warning_letters/g5556d.htm




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