Image for Cranberry ()
Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon)

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • Alpha-linolenic acid, American cranberry, anthocyanins, Arandano Americano, Arandano trepador, ascorbic acid, Azo-cranberry®, bear berry, benzoic acid, black cranberry, bog cranberry, catechins, cinnamic acids, citric acid, coumaroyl iridoid glycosides, ellagitannins, Ericaceae (family), European cranberry, flavonol glycosides, flavanols, flavonoids, gallotannins, grosse moosebeere, isokarpalo, Kranbeere, Kronsbeere, large cranberry, lectins, low cranberry, malic acid, marsh apple, moosebeere, mossberry, mountain cranberry, n-3 fatty acids, n-6 fatty acids, NutriCran®90, Ocean Spray® Cranberries, Ocean Spray® Cranberry Select, Oxycoccus hagerupii, Oxycoccus macrocarpus, Oxycoccus microcarpus, Oxycoccus palustris, Oxycoccus quadripetalus, phenolic acids, pikkukarpalo, preisselbeere, proanthocyanidins, quinic acid, ronce d'Amerique, stilbenes, substituted cinnamic acids, sweetened dried cranberries, trailing swamp cranberry, triterpenoids, Tsuru-kokemomo, ursolic acid, Uti-stat®, Vaccinium edule, Vaccinium erythrocarpum, Vaccinium hageruppi, Vaccinium microcarpum, Vaccinium occycoccus, Vaccinium plaustre, Vaccinium vitis.
  • Related species not included: Blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium), bilberry (Vaccinium myrtilis), bear berry (Uva ursi), alpine cranberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea).
  • Combination product examples: OptiBerry™ (wild blueberry, wild bilberry, cranberry, elderberry, raspberry seeds, strawberry).

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background:

  • Cranberry is widely used to prevent urinary tract infection (UTI) and has been used for approximately 50 years (1). It was initially believed to function by acidifying urine. However, the mechanism is now thought to be inhibition of adhesion of bacteria to uroepithelial cells by proanthocyanadin, a compound present in cranberry.
  • There is preliminary clinical evidence in support of the use of cranberry juice and cranberry supplements to prevent UTI, although most available studies are of poor methodologic quality. Most evidence has focused on effects against E. coli, although in vitro research suggests activity against Proteus, Pseudomonas, and other species. There are no clear dosing guidelines, but given the safety of cranberry, it may be reasonable to suggest the use of moderate amounts of cranberry juice cocktail to prevent UTI in non-chronically ill individuals. Studies have also investigated the use of cranberry tablets for preventative treatment (2;3;4;5;6;7;8) but the evidence is insufficient to make definitive suggestions at this time.
  • Cranberry has not been shown to be effective as a treatment for documented UTI. Although cranberry may be a viable adjunct therapy in a time when antimicrobial resistance is a concern, given the proven efficacy of antibiotics, cranberry should not be considered a first-line agent (9;10;11).
  • Cranberry has been investigated for numerous other medicinal uses, and promising areas of investigation include prevention of H. pylori infection (12) and dental plaque (13). Other areas of study include its anticancer/cytotoxic properties, antioxidant activity, and its potential use for improving neuronal and cognitive brain function (14).
  • Further content available for subscribers only.

Dosing/Toxicology

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Precautions/Contraindications

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Mechanism of Action

  • Content available for subscribers only.

History

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Evidence Table

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Evidence Discussion

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Products Studied

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Author Information

  • Content available for subscribers only.

References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

  • Content available for subscribers only.
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.