- Prevention and Possibly Treatment: Bladder Infections
The cranberry plant is a close relative of the common blueberry. Native Americans used it both as food and for the treatment of bladder and kidney diseases. The Pilgrims learned about cranberry from local tribes and quickly adopted it for their own use. Subsequent physicians used it for bladder infections, for "bladder gravel" (small bladder stones), and to remove "blood toxins."
In the 1920s, researchers observed that drinking cranberry juice makes the urine more acidic. Since common urinary tract-infection bacteria such as E. coli dislike acidic surroundings, physicians concluded that they had discovered a scientific explanation for the traditional uses of cranberry. This discovery led to widespread medical use of cranberry juice for treating bladder infections. Cranberry fell out of favor with physicians after World War II, but it became popular again during the 1960s—as a self-treatment.
What Is Cranberry Used for Today?
What Is the Scientific Evidence for Cranberry?
peptic ulcershelicobacter helicobacterHelicobacter pylori
The results were somewhat promising. In the study group at large, OAC plus cranberry was no more effective than OAC plus placebo or OAC alone. However, among female participants in the study, use of cranberry was associated with a significantly increased rate of helicobacter eradication as compared to placebo or no treatment.
Does this mean that women undergoing ulcer treatment may benefit from cranberry? Perhaps, but not necessarily. When a treatment fails to produce benefit in the entire group studied, researchers may, after the fact, go on a hunt for a subgroup who did benefit. The laws of chance alone ensure that they can almost always find one. Therefore, it is not clear whether cranberry actually did provide benefit, or whether this finding was merely a statistical fluke.
The usual dosage of dry cranberry juice extract is 300 mg to 400 mg twice daily or 8 to 16 ounces daily of pure cranberry juice (not cranberry juice cocktail.)
As a widely eaten food, cranberry is thought to have a generally good safety profile.
In addition, cranberry juice might allow the kidneys to excrete weakly alkaline drugs more rapidly, thereby reducing their effectiveness. This would include many antidepressants and prescription painkillers.
Interactions You Should Know About
If you are taking:
- Warfarin (Coumadin) : Use of cranberry might lead to excessive bleeding.
- Weakly alkaline drugs (including many antidepressants and prescription painkillers): Cranberry might decrease their effectiveness.
- Reviewer: EBSCO CAM Review Board
- Review Date: 09/2014 -
- Update Date: 09/18/2014 -