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Cranberry quick review
Botanical description: a group of evergreen dwarf shrubs in the genus Vaccinium subgenus Oxycoccus. Cranberries are tart, round, deep red berries. The flowers are dark pink.
Active constituents: phytochemicals (proanthocyanidins and anthocyanins), carbohydrates (glucose, fructose), organic acids (ascorbic acid, benzoic acid, citric acid, quinic acid, malic acid), and vitamin C, triterpenoids, catechins, lectins.
Health benefits : prevents recurrent urinary tract infections (UTI), may increase plasma antioxidant levels reducing the risk of heart disease, may serve as a digestive aid.

Dosage: recommended daily dose for treating urinary tract infections is up to 960 ml 33% cranberry juice, divided into three or four doses.
Side effects : can cause diarrhea and stomach upset. Cranberry juice may decrease the effectiveness of antacid medications. Cranberry juice may increase the absorption of proton pump inhibitor drugs.
 
Cranberry Concentrate by Vitabase
Cranberry Concentrate by Vitabase contains the equivalent of 34 pounds of whole cranberries in each pound of cranberry powder. The cranberry powder consist of 100% cranberry fruit solids and contains a perfect balance of naturally occurring organic acids in their synergistic ratios. Unlike cranberry juice cocktail products, our cranberry concentrate contains no sugar. Click here for more information.
 

Cranberry


The cranberries are a group of evergreen dwarf shrubs in the genus Vaccinium subgenus Oxycoccus, or in some treatments, in the distinct genus Oxycoccus. They are found in acidic bogs throughout the cooler parts of the Northern Hemisphere. Cranberries are
tart, round, deep red berries, grown primarily in wet, sandy coastal lands, or bogs, in the northeastern United States. They are available fresh autumn through early winter and frozen year-round. Cranberries are low, creeping shrubs to 10 cm tall (often less), with slender, wiry stems, not thickly woody, and small evergreen leaves. The flowers are dark pink, with very distinct reflexed petals, leaving the style and stamens fully exposed and pointing forward. The fruit is a berry that is larger than the leaves of the plant. It is initially white, but turns a deep red when fully ripe. The name cranberry probably derives from their being a favourite food of cranes, though some sources claim the name comes from "'craneberry' because before the flower expands, its stem, calyx, and petals resembled the neck, head, and bill of a crane". Another name, used in northeastern Canada, is mossberry.

There are four species of cranberry. Vaccinium oxycoccus or Oxycoccus palustris (Common Cranberry or Northern Cranberry) is widespread throughout the cool temperate Northern Hemisphere, including northern Europe, northern Asia and northern North America. It has small 5-10 mm leaves. The flowers are dark pink, with a purple central spike, produced on finely hairy stems. The fruit is a small pale pink berry, with a refreshing sharp acidic flavour. Vaccinium microcarpum or Oxycoccus microcarpus (Small Cranberry) occurs in northern Europe and northern Asia, and differs from V. oxycoccus in the leaves being more triangular, and the flower stems hairless. Vaccinium macrocarpon or Oxycoccus macrocarpus (American Cranberry) native to the northeastern part of the North American continent (eastern Canada, and eastern United States south to North Carolina). It differs from V. oxycoccus in the leaves being larger, 10-20 mm long. The American cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) produces clusters of white, urn-shaped flowers which turn into bright red, tart berries in August or September. The shrubs grow only about a foot tall, but their capacity to spread is unlimited. The sprawling stems will take root wherever they touch the ground. The berries tend to be bitter before the first frost, but the flavour improves thereafter. Vaccinium erythrocarpum or Oxycoccus erythrocarpus (Southern Mountain Cranberry) native to the southeastern part of the North American continent at high altitudes in the southern Appalachian Mountains.

 

Active constituents and clinical pharmacology of cranberry


The main active constituents of cranberry are phytochemicals (proanthocyanidins and anthocyanins), carbohydrates (glucose, fructose), organic acids (ascorbic acid, benzoic acid, citric acid, quinic acid, malic acid), and vitamin C, triterpenoids, catechins, lectins. The cranberry fruit is high in antioxidants, partly from substances called proanthocyanidins. Proanthocyanidins specifically interfere with type P fimbrial adherence of uropathogenic E. coli. They may also help relieve diarrheal symptoms. Proanthocyanidins also help prevent microorganisms from causing infections (such as urinary tract infections) and appear to have cancer fighting properties. The organic acids are responsible for the sour taste of cranberries, acidify the urine and prevent kidney stones. Malic acid, for example, is known to help guard against diarrhea, while regulating digestion. Cranberries are rich sources of vitamins including vitamin A , carotene, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin C. And many essential minerals, such as sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, sulfur, iron and iodide, are also found in cranberry. The vitamins and minerals are strong antioxidants which help protect the body against such infections as colds or influenza. In addition, like many other fruits, cranberries are a good source of fiber.
 

Medicinal uses and health benefits of cranberry


Historically, cranberry juice has been used to prevent kidney stones and "bladder gravel" as well as to remove toxins from the blood
. Today, the major clinical use for cranberry is to prevent recurrent urinary tract infections (UTI). Taking cranberry juice or pills by mouth may help prevent urinary tract infections and may particularly work against the bacteria Escherichia coli. Women get UTIs when bacteria get into the relatively short female urethra and move up to the bladder. There they grow and spread to other parts of the urinary tract. Women with recurrent urinary tract infections appear to be especially susceptible to adhesion by uropathogenic bacteria. Uropathogenic strains rely on Type P fimbrial adhesion to allow colonization and infection. The proanthocyanidins in cranberry and blueberry prevent Type P fimbrial adhesion of uropathogenic strains of E. coli.

Cranberry also has been recommended as an adjunctive treatment for Candida infections. Cranberry juice exerts fungistatic effects against dermatophytic and other fungi but has no effect against Candida albicans. Cranberry juice is a good source of vitamin C and antioxidants. Those vitamins and minerals are thought to have detoxifying and purifying properties. Cranberry juice may increase plasma antioxidant levels reducing the risk of heart disease. Cranberry has also been used to prevent kidney stones, as well as to remove unwanted toxins from the body. Cranberries may serve as a digestive aid. Because of their high acidity, they help to digest fatty foods and increase the appetite.

 

Dosage and administration of cranberry


Cranberries are available fresh or frozen and in juice and concentrate forms. Dried berries are also available in tablet or capsule form. Most cranberry preparations are highly sweetened with sugar, corn syrup, saccharin or fructose to enhance palatability. Cranberry cocktail juices are generally diluted 70% or more with water. The recommended daily dose of cranberry juice for preventing urinary tract infections is three or more fluid ounces of cranberry juice cocktail containing at least 33% cranberry juice. The recommended daily dose for treating urinary tract infections is up to 960 ml of the same concentration, divided into three or four doses (such as four 500 mg capsules, three or four times a day).
 

Side effects, precautions, interactions


Drinking cranberry juice in large quantities can cause diarrhea and stomach upset. Cranberry contains relatively high levels of oxalate, a substance that may increase the risk of kidney stones in people who are at risk for this condition. Cranberry should not be used as a substitute for antibiotics during a serious UTI. Cranberry juice may decrease the effectiveness of antacid medications. Cranberry juice may increase the absorption of proton pump inhibitor drugs. Cranberry shouldn't be used as a substitute for an antibiotic in acute infections. Patients with diabetes should use sugar-free cranberry products.