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Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon)
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.

Related Terms

  • American cranberry, arándano americano (Spanish), arándano trepador (Spanish), bear berry, black cranberry, bog cranberry, Ericaceae (family), European cranberry, grosse Moosebeere (German), isokarpalo, Kranbeere (German), Kronsbeere (German), large cranberry, low cranberry, marsh apple, Moosebeere (German), mossberry, mountain cranberry, Oxycoccus hagerupii, Oxycoccus macrocarpus, Oxycoccus microcarpus, Oxycoccus palustris, Oxycoccus quadripetalus, pikkukarpalo (Finnish), Preisselbeere (German), ronce d'Amerique (French), trailing swamp cranberry, tsuru-kokemomo (Japanese), Vaccinium edule, Vaccinium erythrocarpum, Vaccinium hageruppi, Vaccinium microcarpum, Vaccinium occycoccus, Vaccinium plaustre, Vaccinium vitis.

Background

  • There is some human evidence supporting the use of cranberry juice and cranberry supplements to prevent urinary tract infection (UTI), although most available studies are of lesser quality. Clear dosing guidelines are lacking, but given the safety of cranberry, it may be reasonable to recommend the use of moderate amounts of cranberry juice cocktail to prevent UTI in non-chronically ill individuals.
  • Cranberry has not been shown effective as a treatment for documented UTI. Although cranberry may be used as an adjunct therapy in some cases, given the proven efficacy of antibiotics, cranberry should not be considered a first-line treatment.
  • Cranberry has been investigated for numerous other medicinal uses, and promising areas of investigation include prevention of H. pylori infection, which causes gastrointestinal ulcers and dental plaque.

Evidence

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Dosing

The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.

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Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. 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. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

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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.

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Author Information

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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.

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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.