If you're suffering from the burning and pain of a bladder infection, it's understandable that you'd look to natural remedies like cherry juice for UTI relief. However, there's no clinical evidence to suggest that tart cherry powder or any other cherry product can resolve bladder infections.
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Unfortunately, there is no clinical evidence that cherry juice provides relief from a bladder infection. You might be thinking of cranberry juice, which has a much broader — although still conflicting — set of clinical studies to back its use.
Bladder Infections Are UTIs
As the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) explains, a urinary tract infection, or UTI, can affect any part of the urinary system, including the bladder, kidneys, ureters or urethra. Women are particularly at risk because of their shorter urethras, which open right next to the anus and vagina — both ready sources of bacteria — and ultimately allow bacteria quicker access to the bladder.
The HHS warns that one out of every two women will have a UTI at some point in their lives; if you're one of them, it's perfectly understandable that you'd go looking for relief in the form of cherry juice for a bladder infection and other natural remedies for a UTI. However, there is no evidence that cherry juice or any other form of cherry product will help a bladder infection.
If you decide to go ahead and try some form of cherry as a home treatment anyway, talk to your doctor first. If your bladder infection isn't resolved, it can move into your kidneys and produce permanent damage. Also, nutritional supplements can produce unexpected interactions with prescription medications and existing health conditions.
As the Michigan Medicine points out, your doctor may suggest treating the bladder infection with prescription antibiotics and drinking lots of fluids.
Read more: 5 Health Benefits of Eating Cherries
Cherry Juice for a Bladder Infection?
Cranberries are the fruit that have been studied most for their usefulness in treating urinary tract infections. As noted in a 2013 issue of Reviews in Urology, the clinical evidence for cranberry's usefulness in promoting a healthy urinary tract is conflicting. The positive effects observed are believed to be due to cranberry's high proanthocyanidin content.
You'll find this powerful antioxidant at high concentrations in some common foods — but unfortunately, cherries aren't anywhere near the top of the list. To illustrate that point, the best analysis of proanthocyanidin content in common foods was published in the March 2004 Journal of Nutrition.
In it, the authors reveal that cherries have just 8.2 milligrams of proanthocyanidin content per 100 grams of fruit. Compare that to the findings for cranberries: Those tart little fruits have a whopping 418.8 milligrams of proanthocyanidin content per 100 grams of fruit — more than 50 times the content you'll find in cherries.
The Reviews in Urology analysis also notes that vitamin C is often recommended as a supplement to prevent recurring urinary tract infections — although the authors also note that there's a lack of strong clinical evidence to support this claim in healthy, adult women.
Cranberries still win the competition for vitamin C content, anyway; according to the USDA, 100 grams of cranberries (just under a cup) contains 14 milligrams of vitamin C. That's compared to 10 milligrams per 100 grams of sour or tart cherries, and 7 milligrams per 100 grams of sweet cherries.
But if you really want a lot of vitamin C, reach for the humble orange. It blows both cranberries and cherries out of the water with 53.2 milligrams of vitamin C in 100 grams of fruit — roughly equivalent to one small orange.
Read more: Is It Dangerous to Eat Too Many Cherries?
Is This an Emergency?
- Reviews in Urology: "Management of Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections in Healthy Adult Women"
- Journal of Nutrition: "Concentrations of Proanthocyanidins in Common Foods and Estimations of Normal Consumption"
- USDA: "Cranberries, Raw"
- USDA: "Cherries, Sour, Red, Raw"
- USDA: "Cherries, Sweet, Raw"
- USDA: "Orange, Raw"
- HHS.gov: "Urinary Tract Infection"
- Michigan Medicine: "Urinary Tract Infections in Teens and Adults"