There is something special about plucking shiny red cherries fresh from the tree and tasting the succulent juicy flesh on a summers day.
Several years ago I planted several fruit trees and nurtured them so that they are now mature trees bearing a plentiful harvest enough to eat and share with friends, the birds and the local badger who are known to love cherries. I remember when I was reprimanded by a local farmer about the state of the lower trunk telling me that I would be a hopeless doctor if I didn’t look after my diabetics legs and allowed them to get advanced leg ulcers so look after my trees trunks in the same way. I have been vigilant since and paid great attention to clearing the base of the tree and bandaging them if appropriate.
Cherries are derived from either Prunus avium, the sweet cherry (also called the wild cherry). The native range of the sweet cherry extends through most of Europe, western Asia and parts of northern Africa, and the fruit has been consumed throughout its range since prehistoric times. Interestingly,where I am talking about where I planted the trees is in the Perigord, France and known to be the home of Primitive Man. That implies ‘man’ has been eating cherries on summer days in the same place I did for a very long time!
As I am sure followers of my blogs now appreciate I am curious about the wider benefits of foods and plants and this region which has been the home of hunter- gatherers for countless generations provides a constant source of interest.
Cherries are known to contain Anthocyanins to have a marked anti-inflammatory action. Specifically, these compounds seem to be highly effective in treating gout, a condition that causes excruciating painful swelling in joints notoriously the great toe. Last year, a Boston Medical Center study reported that eating cherries reduces gout attacks by 35%.
Cherries are also one of the few food sources of the hormone melatonin, which regulates sleep patterns.
A study published in 2011 in the European Journal of Nutrition, reported that eating tart montmorency (or morello) cherries significantly raised levels of melatonin and improved sleep.
Melatonin is a natural hormone made by your body’s pineal (pih-knee-uhl) gland. This is a pea-sized gland located just above the middle of the brain. During the day the pineal is inactive. When the sun goes down and darkness occurs, the pineal is “turned on” by the suprachiasmatic nucleus(SCN) and begins to actively produce melatonin, which is released into the blood. Usually, this occurs around 9 pm. As a result, melatonin levels in the blood rise sharply and you begin to feel less alert. Sleep becomes more inviting. Melatonin levels in the blood stay elevated for about 12 hours – all through the night – before the light of a new day when they fall back to low daytime levels by about 9 am. Daytime levels of melatonin are barely detectable.
Besides adjusting the timing of the clock, bright light has another effect. It directly inhibits the release of melatonin. That is why melatonin is sometimes called the “Dracula of hormones” – it only comes out in the dark. Even if the pineal gland is switched “on” by the clock, it will not produce melatonin unless the person is in a dimly lit environment. In addition to sunlight, artificial indoor lighting can be bright enough to prevent the release of melatonin.
Although research is very limited, the use of melatonin for jet lag appears reasonable. Many published scientific studies conclude that melatonin can be effective for preventing or reducing jet lag, particularly for crossing five or more time zones and when traveling east. However, safe and appropriate use of melatonin needs further testing.
Some shift-workers alsobenefit from the use melatonin but using it check on the following link:-