Can cherries help relieve pain?

Leopold D. Galland, MD
Internal Medicine
According to research done at Michigan State University, the anthocyanins that make cherries red could help relieve pain more effectively than aspirin. The study found that anthocyanins were potent antioxidants that could prevent oxidative damage and also inhibited enzymes called cyclooxygenase-1 and -2 (Cox-1 and -2), which is similar in the way anti- inflammatory drugs seek to reduce pain. The study appeared in the Journal of Natural Products published by the American Chemical Society.

Lead researcher Muralee G. Nair, Ph.D., Professor at Michigan State University College of Agriculture & Natural Resources, noted about this cherry effect: "It is as good as ibuprofen and some of the nonsteriodal anti-inflammatory drugs." Nair said that his lab results indicate that consuming 20 tart cherries could provide anti-inflammatory benefits.
Ms. Ashley Koff, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
Dark cherries contain anthocyanins, which work just like aspirin or ibuprofen to turn off the body’s pain signals. Fresh or frozen work, but choose organic to get the most pain-fighting antioxidant power per bite. Skip the juice and enjoy 20 or so cherries -- remember, they are a carbohydrate, so they will give you quick energy and are best paired with colorful vegetables, healthy anti-inflammatory fats (like nuts and seeds), and proteins (also found in nuts and seeds). You can blend your frozen cherries with a tablespoon or two of cashew butter for a delicious icy, creamy, pain-reducing treat.

Continue Learning about Pain Treatment

Pain, The Opioid Epidemic and How Health Care Has to Improve
Pain, The Opioid Epidemic and How Health Care Has to Improve
Opioid addiction is a national epidemic—and so is chronic pain. Could there be a relationship? 1.  In 2015, 2 million Americans had a substance use d...
Read More
What treatment should be taken for pain and inflammation?
There are many different pain treatments available and the best one for you will depend on the type ...
More Answers
Who should have invasive therapy or surgery for neck and back pain?
Gerald M. SilvermanGerald M. Silverman
In severe cases, where at least four weeks of conservative, noninvasive treatments have failed t...
More Answers
What's an Inexpensive Treatment for Muscle Aches?
What's an Inexpensive Treatment for Muscle Aches?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.