Scientific Name/Common Name: Vaccinium macrocarpon / Cranberry
Part(s) Used: Berry
Constituents/Active Ingredients: Flavonoids: anthocyanins and oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs). The berries also contain a compound called arbutin, other flavonoids, tannins, plant acids, invert sugar, and pectins. Nutrient wise, they are a good source of vitamin C (22% Daily Value at 13 mg/100 g) and manganese (18% Daily Value at 0.4 mg/100 g).
Overview: Cranberries are rich in colorful flavonoids called anthocyanins and their colorless precursors called oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs). Anthocyanins and OPCs are powerful antioxidants that protect skin from sun damage, prevent LDL cholesterol oxidation, prevent blood platelet stickiness, and prevent bacteria from adhering to urinary tract membranes. Cranberries also contain a compound called arbutin that is diuretic and anti-microbial. The most notable use of cranberries is for their ability to prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs). Several clinical trials have found benefit in reducing incidence of UTIs. Overall, the most recent meta-analysis pooling all available studies found a modest benefit in this area.
Traditional Use/Benefits/Body Systems: Traditionally used in herbal medicine to help prevent recurrent urinary tract infections; provides antioxidants for the maintenance of good health.
Clinical Studies/Scientific Research/References:
Blumenthal M, Hall T, Goldberg A, Kunz T, Kinda K, editors. 2003. The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs. Austin (TX): American Botanical Council.
Foxman B, et al. Cranberry juice capsules and urinary tract infection after surgery: results of a randomized trial. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2015 Aug;213(2):194.
Jepson RG, Williams G, Craig JC. Cranberries for preventing urinary tract infections. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Oct 17;10:CD001321.
Disclaimer: This information in our Herbal Encyclopedia is intended only as a general reference for educational purposes. It is not a replacement for medical advice. This content does not provide dosage information, cautions/contraindications, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Please consult any relevant product labels for detailed information on use and with a medical practitioner for individual health advice.