Montmorency Tart Cherries are a prized superfood with a storied past. They belong to the Prunus Cerasus family, an ancient lineage of sour cherries first discovered along the Caspian and Black Sea as early as 300 BC. Favoured by the Romans, sour cherries were first consumed as food while the fruit’s wood was harvested to build and repair equipment. As time went on, word of the tiny fruit’s utility and restorative benefits began to spread and Prunus Cerasus trees were planted throughout Europe.
Cultivated in France since the 13th century, Montmorency Tart Cherries are thought to have been named after a noble family in Montmorency Valley, an area located near Paris. Although anecdotal evidence of the fruit’s benefits remained steadfast, it wasn't until the 1950’s before any of the possible health claims were actually verified.
Today, mounting evidence backed by peer-reviewed studies suggests that Montmorency Tart Cherries may provide many benefits beyond simply being a delicious snack.1
What are the Health Benefits of Montmorency Tart Cherries?
- They contain melatonin and may improve natural sleep patterns*
- May reduce immune and inflammatory stress*
- Help increase performance in aerobically trained individuals*
- Act as a powerful antioxidant and contain high levels of anthocyanins*
- Reduce muscle soreness and catabolism*
Montmorency Tart Cherries are a Natural Source of Melatonin
If you’ve ever struggled with sleep, then chances are you’ve anxiously stopped by a store, headed straight for the supplement aisle and picked up a bottle of fast release melatonin tablets.
Melatonin is a hormone produced by the brain’s pineal gland that tells your body it's time to sleep in response to darkness.
You might be surprised to find out that the supplement you purchased, like most melatonin on the market today, was likely synthesized in a lab in an attempt to replicate what some plants and your body produce naturally. In fact, most “natural” sleep aids available for purchase still use a synthetic form of melatonin in their formulas.
Fortunately for anyone looking for a natural plant-based sleep aid, researchers studying tart cherries at the University of Texas Health Science Center may have found a solution.
Using a high performance liquid chromatography, researchers discovered that Montmorency Tart Cherries contain high levels of melatonin compared to the concentrations typically found in mammals.2
If eaten at night or taken as an extract (if you’d like to avoid excess sugars before bedtime), Montmorency Tart Cherries could help you to improve natural sleep patterns by better regulating the timing of an internal 24-hour clock known as your circadian rhythm.*
Another study looking at the effects of Montmorency Tart Cherry juice consumed at night by sleep disturbed patients suggests that the exogenous melatonin from the concentrate could improve both sleep duration and sleep length in otherwise healthy men and women.*3
Interestingly, Montmorency Tart Cherries may prove to be a two-in-one immune boosting sleep aid since melatonin in both plants and animals act as a powerful antioxidant. Research suggests that the melatonin from Montmorency Tart Cherries functions as a free radical scavenger, helping to protect cells from oxidative damage and prevent disease.*
Looking for a natural sleep aid? Try Night Botanic, our plant-based sleep and recovery formula containing a standardized dose of Montmorency Tart Cherry Extract by CherryPURE®.
Montmorency Tart Cherries Contain Powerful Antioxidants
In addition to melatonin, Montmorency Tart Cherries contain high levels of anthocyanins, a flavonoid often found in plants, believed to have profound antioxidant properties. These antioxidants may better help protect your cells against free radicals, molecules with unpaired electrons thought to play a role in heart disease, cancer and other ailments.*
Furthermore, the high concentrations of anthocyanins found in Montmorency Tart Cherries are believed to work similarly to some pain medications by inhibiting enzymes COX-1 and COX-2 and could explain why there is anecdotal evidence that tart cherries may be beneficial to helping patients suffering from arthritis and gout.*4
Montmorency Tart Cherries Improve Performance and Recovery
Two short-term studies published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition looking at the effects of powered Montmorency Tart Cherry supplementation on aerobically trained individuals and resistance trained males both showed promising results in regard to increased muscle recovery and reduced muscle soreness.
In one study, 27-endurance trained athletes supplementing with the extract averaged 13% faster half-marathon race finish times, increased antioxidant activity, and reduced inflammatory markers when compared to the control group. The results suggest that short-term supplementation of Montmorency powdered tart cherries increased performance in aerobic athletes while reducing muscle catabolism, immune and inflammatory stress.*5
Similarly, a double-blind placebo controlled study looking at the effects Montmorency powered tart cherry extract supplementation on resistance trained men showed an increase in muscle recovery and a significant reduction in muscle soreness and muscle catabolism after a single bout of resistance training.*6
Summary: Montmorency Tart Cherries for Sleep and Performance
Montmorency Tart Cherries (Prunus Cerasus) are a small fruit that pack a powerful punch. Historically grown in the Montmorency Valley of France, these tart cherries are an excellent source of anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants that can decrease pain, inflammation and fever caused by COX 1 and COX 2 activity. In addition, tart cherries are one of the only known food sources of the sleep hormone, melatonin. The levels of melatonin found in Montmorency Tart Cherries specifically are actually higher than those typically found in the blood of humans. Studies have shown that supplementing with Montmorency Tart Cherry extract may not only help fight free radicals, but could also improve sleep quality, latency and duration. Finally, Montmorency Tart Cherries have been shown to be an effective supplement for increasing athletic performance. Studies have shown statistically significant benefits top muscle recovery of both resistance trained and anaerobic athletes.
Night Botanic, our natural, plant-based sleep aid contains 500mg of CherryPURE®, a standardized Montmorency Tart Cherry extract. Designed to promote healthy sleep patterns, Night Botanic encourages a restorative and quality sleep without any groggy side effects the next day. Try Night Botanic today. *
*The statements made in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Any products mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information in this article is intended for educational purposes. The information is not intended to replace medical advice offered by licensed medical physicians. Please consult your doctor or health practitioner for any medical advice.