Cranberry is one kind of evergreen shrub that thrives in wet areas like wetlands or bogs. A native to northcentral and northeastern parts of the US, cranberry shrub has dark green and small leaves, egg-shaped dark red fruit, and pink flowers.
Cranberry is mostly used to prevent and treat UTIs or urinary tract infections. Cranberry can also be used for neurogenic bladder and kidney stones. This can also deodorize the urine of people who find it hard to control urination. This is also said to help prevent blockage in urine catheters and can also heal the skin around the surgical openings in the stomach used for eliminating urine. There are also people who use cranberry extract to reduce fever, kill germs, and boost urine flow.
There are also people who use cranberry for CFS or chronic fatigue syndrome, type 2 diabetes, common colds, enlarged prostate, memory, heart disease, flu, ulcers due to Helicobacter pylori, metabolic syndrome, inflammation of pleurisy or lining around the lung, cancer, and scurvy.
As for foods, the cranberry fruit can be used as sauce, jelly, cranberry juice, and cranberry juice cocktail.
How Cranberry Works
People assumed that cranberry is effective for UTIs through making urine acidic, thus, unlikely supporting bacteria growth. However, researchers no longer believe the explanation. Now, they think that several chemicals found in cranberries can prevent the bacteria from sticking to cells lining the urinary tract wherein they can thrive and multiply. However, it seems that cranberry lacks the ability to release bacteria that are already stuck to the cells. It may explain why cranberry is effective in preventing UTI or urinary tract infection, but ineffective in treating them.
Like other vegetables and fruits, cranberry contains a particular amount of salicylic acid, which is a crucial ingredient in aspirins. Regular intake of cranberry juice increases the body’s salicylic acid. It may prevent blood clots, swelling, and may have anti-tumour effects.
Are There Some Safety Concerns?
Cranberry is safe for the majority of people when taken by mouth in an appropriate manner. Cranberry extracts and cranberry juice have been used safely in individuals. But, drinking a lot of cranberry juice may cause several side effects including diarrhoea and stomach upset. Drinking more than a litre daily for a long period of time could increase the chance to get kidney stones.
Special Warnings and Precautions
- Aspirin Allergy
Cranberries basically contain a particular amount of salicylic acid, which is same with aspirin. Avoid drinking huge quantities of cranberry juice if you’re allergic to aspirin.
- Breastfeeding and Pregnancy
There isn’t enough reliable information regarding the safety of taking cranberries for some therapeutic reasons if you are breastfeeding or pregnant. Avoid using it and stay on the safe side only.
- Kidney Stones
Cranberry extracts and cranberry juice contain a big amount of a chemical known as oxalate. As a matter of fact, there’s evidence that other cranberry extract tablets can improve the oxalate level in one’s urine by as much as forty-three percent. Since the kidney stones are primarily made from calcium and oxalate, some healthcare providers worry that cranberry could increase the risks of kidney stones.