Cranberry, or American cranberry, has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial properties useful in case of cystitis and urinary tract infections.
What is Cranberry
The cranberry is the fruit of Vaccinium macrocarpon, an evergreen plant native to North America and belonging to the Ericaceae family. Also known as cranberry or American cranberry, it is a shiny, red berry, one or two centimeters in diameter and sour in taste.
The fruits of cranberry are harvested at the end of autumn, when they reach full ripeness, and are used fresh or dried to produce extracts and juices beneficial for the urinary tract.
The properties of Cranberry
Cranberry fruits mainly contain polyphenols, including flavoinoids, anthocyanins, catechins and proanthocyanidins, as well as fructose, vitamin C, iridoids and organic acids. Thanks to the presence of these substances, cranberries have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that are effectively exploited to fight cystitis and to prevent recurrent urinary tract infections.
The substances contained in lingonberry are in fact able to hinder the adhesion of bacteria to the bladder wall and, at the same time, to reduce the inflammation caused by the infection. For this reason, American cranberry products are traditionally used by women who often suffer from cystitis.
Cranberry is commercially available in the form of a succo, capsules and tablets. Natural cranberry juice, free of additives, has a sour and unpleasant taste. It is consumed at a dose of 500-750 milliliters per day.
Compared to capsules and tablets, cranberry juice or cranberry juice, has the advantage of providing the body with a share of water, useful for stimulating diuresis and “cleaning” the urinary tract. On the other hand, often the juices obtained from the cranberry do not have sufficient amounts of antibacterial substances; capsules and tablets are usually more concentrated. In addition, cranberry juice is generally added with sugars to make it more palatable.
In general, to combat cystitis it would be preferable to resort to solid products, supplementing with herbal teas based on bearberry, another effective remedy in case of urinary tract infections.
Contraindications and side effects of Cranberry
American cranberry is a safe remedy, well tolerated and free of significant side effects. Administered at very high doses or for long periods, however, it can lead to gastrointestinal disorders and diarrhea.
In addition, its use is not recommended in people predisposed to urinary stones from calcium oxalate. Attention then to the sugar content in cranberry juice, especially for people with high blood sugar and if you follow a low-calorie diet for weight loss.
If you are taking medications – especially anticoagulants – or other supplements, you should still inform your doctor, pharmacist or herbalist before resorting to cranberry preparations.