cherriesThe Journal of Natural Products, published by the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society, concluded that tart cherries may relieve pain better than aspirin and many other anti-inflammatory drugs. It turns out that consumption of about 20 cherries reduces inflammation in a similar manner as aspirin or Cox-2 inhibiting drugs without the lethal side effects of gastric bleeding or vitamin depletion associated with these drugs. The molecules in cherries, called anthocyanins, work to reduce inflammation at ten times less dosage than aspirin.

Antioxidant and Antiinflammatory Activities of Anthocyanins and Their Aglycon, Cyanidin, from Tart Cherries Journal Natural Products 1999 Feb; 62(2): 294–6 Haibo Wang, Muraleedharan G. Nair,* Gale M. Strasburg, Yu-Chen Chang, Alden M. Booren, J. Ian Gray, and David L. DeWitt Bioactive Natural Products Laboratory, Department of Horticulture and National Food Safety and Toxicology Center, Food Science and Human Nutrition, and Department of Biochemistry, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824

The anthocyanins (1-3) and cyanidin isolated from tart cherries exhibited in vitro antioxidant and antiinflammatory activities comparable to commercial products. The inhibition of lipid peroxidation of anthocyanins 1-3 and their aglycon, cyanidin, were 39, 70, 75, and 57%, respectively, at 2-mM concentrations. The antioxidant activities of 1-3 and cyanidin were comparable to the antioxidant activities of tert-butylhydroquinone and butylated hydroxytoluene and superior to vitamin E at 2-mM concentrations. In the antiinflammatory assay, cyanidin gave IC50 values of 90 and 60 mM, respectively, for prostaglandin H endoperoxide synthase-1 and prostaglandin H endoperoxide synthase-2 enzymes.

Molecular Mechanisms Behind the Chemopreventive Effects of Anthocyanidins J Biomed Biotechnol. 2004; 2004(5): 321–325 De-Xing Hou,1* Makoto Fujii,1 Norihiko Terahara,2 and Makoto Yoshimoto3. 1Department of Biochemical Science and Technology, Faculty of Agriculture, Kagoshima University, Korimoto 1-21-24, Kagoshima 890-0065, Japan
2Department of Food Science for Health, Faculty of Health and Nutrition, Minami-Kyushu University, 5-1-2 Kirishima, Miyazaki 880-0032, Japan 3Department of Upland Farming Research, National Agricultural Research Center for Kyushu Okinawa Region, Miyazaki, Miyakonojo 885-0091, Japan

Anthocyanins are polyphenolic ring-based flavonoids, and are widespread in fruits and vegetables of red-blue color. Epidemiological investigations and animal experiments have indicated that anthocyanins may contribute to cancer chemoprevention. The studies on the mechanism have been done recently at molecular level. This review summarizes current molecular bases for anthocyanidins on several key steps involved in cancer chemoprevention: (i) inhibition of anthocyanidins in cell transformation through targeting mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway and activator protein 1 (AP-1) factor; (ii) suppression of anthocyanidins in inflammation and carcinogenesis through targeting nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) pathway and cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) gene; (iii) apoptotic induction of cancer cells by anthocyanidins through reactive oxygen species (ROS) / c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK)-mediated caspase activation. These data provide a first molecular view of anthocyanidins contributing to cancer chemoprevention.