Pain is an unpleasant sensation. It ranges from mild to localized discomfort to agony. It affects individuals and families not only physically, but also emotionally and economically. Even businesses are not spared by the negative effects of pain due to lost productivity.

Pain is felt by as many as 30 percent of the entire population and about 50 percent of us are forced to visit our doctors to seek relief from pain, the American Pain Society stated.

Pain medications can cost a fortune aside from their potential to bring serious side effects.

There are actually lots of herbal pain relievers which can relieve pain naturally. They can be good alternatives for traditional medicine.

One of these herbal alternatives to combat pain is cherries, an herb rich in antioxidant called anthocyanins. This is the substance which is responsible for giving cherries their red color and pain-relieving attributes.

A 2001 study conducted at Michigan State University found that anthocyanins are equivalent to two common over-the-counter painkillers. These are intended to hold back COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes which are associated with pain and inflammation.

Cherries Provide Relief for Sore Muscles in Athletes

In 2009, scientists from Oregon’s Health and Science University studied the effect of tart cherry juice on pain by administering it on athletes who participated in the Oregon Hood to Coast relay. It is a 197 mile race which is participated by a thousand relay teams.

A week before the start of the race, participants were made to drink 10.5 ounces of tart cherry juice twice daily. During the race, they were also made to drink the same amount every eight hours. After the race, the scientists found out that cherry drinkers experienced less pain and faster muscle recovery.

Although Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) offer relief, they are associated with serious side effects which could be fatal.

Tart cherry juice has a few side effects and it could be a healthier alternative for relieving pain.

Cherries are also found to work effectively in easing pain caused by gout and fibromyalgia.

In a 2003 study conducted by researchers at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, researchers found out that within five hours after eating 45 Bing cherries, the levels of urate in blood plasma decreased as well as it increased urine. The scientists also noted that the levels of C-reactive protein and nitric oxide, two substances associated with inflammation, reduced after the participants ate cherries.

In a separate study conducted by the Oregon Health and Science Center, the researchers also found out that the pain experienced by women who suffered from fibromyalgia reduced significantly after drinking cherry juice for 10 days.

With the result of the studies, researchers suggested that cherries can be effective in easing different types of pain. The researchers further said that while both tart and sweet cherries contain anthocyanins, tart cherries proved to be better because they contain more of this pain-relieving chemical.

Tart cherries are one of the few natural foods which contain melatonin, a chemical that helps people whose sleep is disrupted by pain.