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Sour Cherry

Scientific Name(s): Prunus cerasus L. ( Cerasus vulgaris Mill.) Family: Rosaceae.

Common Name(s): Sour cherry , morello cherry , tart cherry , pie cherry , red cherry

Uses

A study has been done on the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of sour cherries. Tart cherry's anthocyanins have the potential to inhibit tumor growth, slow cardiovascular disease, and possibly retard the aging process. Tart cherry juice is used to mask the unpleasant taste of some drugs.

Dosing

There is no dosage information available for sour cherry.

Contraindications

Contraindications have not yet been identified.

Pregnancy/Lactation

Generally recognized as safe or used as food. Avoid dosages above those found in food because safety and efficacy are unproven.

Interactions

None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

Little information exists; one document reports the contamination percentages of the mycotoxin, patulin, in sour cherry.

Toxicology

Research reveals little or no information regarding toxicology with the use of sour cherry.

Botany

There are ≈ 270 varieties of sour cherries, a handful of which are of commercial importance (eg, Montmorency, Richmond, English morello). The sour cherry tree is smaller than the sweet cherry tree ( Prunus avium ) and is more tolerant of extremes in temperature. 1 The sour cherry originated in Europe, but is widely cultivated in America. The trees may reach ≈ 12 meters in height, with a trunk diameter of 30 to 45 cm. The bark is a grayish-brown, flowers are white to pale pink, and leaves are ovate with serrated edging. 2 , 3 Sour cherry fruits can grow to 20 mm in length and 18 mm in width. They are cordate drupes, with color ranging from light to dark red. This fruit envelops a light brown seed. 4

History

The Greek botanist Theophrastus described the cherry circa 300 BC; although it is believed to have been cultivated even earlier than this time. In 70 AD, Pliny indicated locations of cherry trees to be in Rome, Germany, England, and France. By the mid-1800s, cherries were being cultivated in Oregon. The first commercial cherry orchard was planted in the late 1800s. By the early 1900s, the sour cherry industry was flourishing. As of the late 1900s, 100,000 tons of sour cherries are produced in the US each year. 1 , 5

Chemistry

Cherries contain 80% to 85% water. Sour cherries have 58 calories per 100 grams, which contain 1000 IU vitamin A (per 100 g) as compared to 110 IU in sweet cherries. 1 Nutrients and other constituents found per 100 g of dried tart cherries include potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, phosphorus, sugars, fiber, and carbohydrates. 5 Citric acid, amygdalin, malic acid, tannin, dextrose, sucrose, quercetin, and anthocyanin are all present in juice preparations of the fruit. 3 The antioxidants kaempferol and quercetin are found in the fruits, as are ≈ 15 other compounds with antioxidant properties. 5

Older studies have determined the presence of coumarin derivatives, 6 glycoside 2,3-dihydro-wogonin-7-mono-beta-D-glucoside, 7 and flavonoids in tart cherries. 8

More recent studies have determined other compounds. The pigment cyanidin-3-glycoside has been isolated from the tart cherry. 9 Polyprenol patterns have been found in the leaves of the plant. 10 Chlorogenic acid methyl ester and the new compounds 2-hydroxy-3-(0-hydroxyphenol) propanoic acid, 1-(3′,4′-dihydroxycinnamoyl)-cyclopenta-2,3-diol and 1-(3′,4′-dihydroxycinnamoyl)-cyclopenta-2,3-diol have also been identified by spectral data. 11

Uses and Pharmacology

Cherries were traditionally used by Cherokee Indians as a remedy for arthritis and gout. Components of the plant responsible for anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity have been found. 11 Michigan State University studies indicate tart cherry compounds (eg, cyanidin) to be 10 times more active than aspirin, without the side effects. Antioxidant activity has been studied as well. Tart cherry's anthocyanins have the potential to inhibit tumor growth, slow cardiovascular disease, and possibly retard the aging process. 5

The juice of tart cherries is used in the formulation of cherry syrup, USP, as a vehicle for unpleasant-tasting drugs. 3 , 4

Animal/Clinical data

Research reveals no animal/clinical data regarding the use of sour cherry for any condition.

Dosage

There is no dosage information available for sour cherry.

Pregnancy/Lactation

Generally recognized as safe or used as food. Avoid dosages above those found in food because safety and efficacy are unproven.

Interactions

None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

Little information concerning the toxicology of tart cherry was found in recent literature searches. One document reports in an analysis of fruits and vegetables, the contamination percentages of the mycotoxin, patulin, in sour cherry. 12

Toxicology

Research reveals little or no information regarding toxicology with the use of sour cherry.

Bibliography

1. Ensminger A, et al. Foods and Nutrition Encyclopedia, 2nd ed. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1994;386-89.
2. http://www.gypsymoth.ento.vt.edu/vagm/index.html
3. Youngken, H. Textbook of Pharmacognosy, 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: The Blakiston Co., 1950;414-15.
4. Osol A, et al. The Dispensatory of the United States of America, 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: JB Lippincott Co., 1960;272-73.
5. http://www.cherrymkt.org/
6. Shcherbanovskii, L. On the presence of coumarin derivatives in sour cherry and prune leaves. Ukr Biokhim Zh 1965;37(6):915-19.
7. Wagner H, et al. Synthesis of 2,3-dihydro-wogonin-7-mono-beta-D-glucoside, a new gylcoside from Prunus cerasus L. Tetrahedron Lett 1969;19:1471-73.
8. Nagarajan G, et al. Flavonoids of Prunus cerasus . Planta Med 1977;32(1):50-53.
9. Hansmann, C. Synthesis and characterisation of methyl 2-O-(beta-D-glucopyranosyl)-6-O-(alpha-L-rhamnopyranosyl)-alpha-D-glucopyranoside. Carbohydr Res 1990;204:221-226.
10. Wanke M, et al. The diversity of polyprenol pattern in leaves of fruit trees belonging to Rosaceae and Cornaceae. Acta Biochim Pol 1998;45(3):811-818.
11. Wang H, et al. Novel antioxidant compounds from tart cherries ( Prunus cerasus ). J Nat Prod 1999;62(1):86-88.
12. Thurm V, et al. Hygienic significance of patulin in food. 2. Occurrence of patulin in fruit and vegetables. Nahrung 1979;23(2):131-34.

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