The People's Perspective on Medicine

Can You Lower Your Blood Pressure With Cherries?

Researchers have found that people can lower their blood pressure with cherries, specifically 60 ml of tart cherry concentrate daily.
Cherries on the Tree – A cluster of red Montmorency Michigan cherries on the tree.

Many people would like to find a way to manage their blood pressure without taking a lot of medications. Although they should try this only with their physicians’ knowledge, it is quite feasible. In essence, a conscientious person can often use non-drug approaches successfully. One reader wants to control blood pressure with cherries.

How Can You Lower Blood Pressure With Cherries?

Q. My doctor says I need blood pressure medication. I’m looking for natural alternatives because I already have joint problems for which I take pills. Do you know anything about the efficacy of tart cherries?

A. Scientists report that 60 ml of Montmorency (tart) cherry concentrate daily lowers systolic blood pressure in men with early hypertension (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, June 2016).  The same dose (60 ml) of Montmorency cherry concentrate also lowered systolic blood pressure in another study (British Journal of Nutrition, Dec. 2016). People taking cherry concentrate did not better on cognitive tests, however.

Other Benefits of Tart Cherries:

A review of tart cherry research points out that you can do more than lower blood pressure with cherries. They also help moderate blood sugar and reduce inflammation (Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, Oct. 30, 2019). In addition, tart cherry supplements have also proven helpful for easing arthritis pain in some studies (Nutrients, March 17, 2018). This could be useful to you with your joint problems. In fact, if you have been taking NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or naproxen to ease the pain, those medications might contribute to your elevated blood pressure

We offer a number of other natural approaches to controlling hypertension in our eGuide to Blood Pressure Treatment. You’ll be able to learn more about how to measure your blood pressure properly. Moreover, we have included information about how weight loss, exercise, slow breathing, following the DASH diet and getting adequate minerals can help you lower your blood pressure.

You may also wish to listen to our interviews with Dr. Katy Bell of the University of Sydney in Australia, Dr. Randall Zusman of Harvard and Dr. Jari Laukkanen of the University of Eastern Finland. You will find them in our Show 1134: Can You Control Your Blood Pressure Without Drugs?

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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Learn about pros and cons of the various medicines used to lower blood pressure, as well as multiple non-drug approaches to blood pressure control such as diet, supplements and special foods.

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Citations
  • Keane KM et al, "Effects of Montmorency tart cherry (Prunus Cerasus L.) consumption on vascular function in men with early hypertension." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, June 2016. DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.115.123869
  • Keane KM et al, "Montmorency tart cherries (Prunus cerasus L.) modulate vascular function acutely, in the absence of improvement in cognitive performance." British Journal of Nutrition, Dec. 2016. DOI: 10.1017/S0007114516004177
  • Alba C MA et al, "Tart cherries and health: Current knowledge and need for a better understanding of the fate of phytochemicals in the human gastrointestinal tract." Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, Oct. 30, 2019. DOI: 10.1080/10408398.2017.1384918
  • Kelley DS et al, "A review of the health benefits of cherries." Nutrients, March 17, 2018. DOI: 10.3390/nu10030368
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So is tart cherry juice better than pomegranate juice for lowering blood pressure?

They haven’t been studied head to head. Why not try each for a month and find out which works better for you? Let us know what you learn.

Do you mean cherry concentrate reconstituted with water? Or if just the concentrate, what is the amount of water removed? We like Trader Joe’s cherry juice 100% ‘not from concentrate’.

It’s likely that Trader Joe’s juice is not Montmorency because it has considerable natural sugar in it.

QUESTION: Do only tart cherries have this effect on lowering blood pressure or can you use other types of cherries? (Like the ones in Dole brand frozen fruit cherries?)

Most of the research has been done with tart cherries, but some studies show other types of cherries may also be helpful.

Sugar Beets are my alternative to Diovan.

Does it have the same effect on women?

We think so.

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