The medicinal herb Cranberry as an alternative herbal remedy for urinary disorders, diabetes – Cranberries are the fruit of a native plant of North America. These red berries are used in foods and in herbal products. American cranberry bush often develops fall colors of yellow, orange, red, and purple. In spring, it bears wide, flat flower clusters. These lacy flowers have an outer ring of large white florets with many smaller white florets in the center. The clusters of rounded fruit that follow turn from green to yellow-orange to brilliant red in the fall and often hang on the plant through the winter.Common Names–cranberry, American cranberry, bog cranberry
Latin Name–Vaccinium macrocarpon Picture of Cranberry berries Picture of Cranberry Bush
What Cranberry Is Used For
Historically, cranberry fruits and leaves were used for a variety of problems, such as wounds, urinary disorders, diarrhea, diabetes, stomach ailments, and liver problems.
Recently, cranberry products have been used in the hope of preventing or treating urinary tract infections or Helicobacter pylori infections that can lead to stomach ulcers, or to prevent dental plaque. Cranberry has also been reported to have antioxidant and anticancer activity. Herbal remedy for urinary disorders.
How Cranberry Is Used
The berries are used to produce beverages and many other food products, as well as dietary supplements in the form of extracts, teas, and capsules or tablets.
What the Science Says about Cranberry
- Some studies testing cranberry products for their ability to prevent urinary tract infections have shown promise. These studies have generally been small in size, and some were not randomized or controlled; therefore, the results are not conclusive.
- Cranberry products have not been adequately tested to see if they can be used to help treat an existing urinary tract infection.
- Research shows that components found in cranberry may prevent bacteria, such as E. coli, from clinging to the cells along the walls of the urinary tract and causing infection. However, the mechanism of action of cranberry is not fully understood.
- NCCAM, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and the National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research are funding studies to understand whether and how cranberry might work to:
- Prevent urinary tract infection
- Prevent the formation of dental plaque
Side Effects and Cautions about Cranberry
- Eating cranberry products in food amounts appears to be safe, but drinking excessive amounts of juice could cause gastrointestinal upset or diarrhea.
- People who think they have a urinary tract infection should see a health care provider for proper diagnosis and treatment. Cranberry products should not be used to treat infection.
- It is important to inform your health care providers about any herb or dietary supplement you are using, including cranberry. This helps to ensure safe and coordinated care.
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