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Cranberry

Cranberry
Cranberry is a tiny red-colored, shiny fruit that is sweet and sour in taste. It is rich in nutrients and has powerful antioxidant activity due to which it has recently gaining importance in the medical field. It can be consumed fresh or in the form of juice, jams, chocolates, sauces and candies.
Daily consumption of Cranberry juice or capsules is best known for the treatment and prevention of urinary tract infections (UTIs) as it inhibits the growth of infection-causing bacteria. Cranberry might also help to manage kidney stones due to its diuretic property. It prevents the deposition of calcium oxalate crystals that are responsible for kidney stone formation. Intake of Cranberry with honey is a well-known remedy to manage common cold symptoms.
Applying Cranberry in the form of a face pack also helps protect the skin from the harmful effects of free radicals due to its antioxidant and anti-aging properties.
Avoid excess consumption of Cranberry and Cranberry juice as it might upset your stomach[1][2][16].

What are the synonyms of Cranberry?

Vaccinium macrocarpon, Indian Cranberry, American Cranberry, large Cranberry[2]

What is the source of Cranberry?

Plant Based

Benefits of Cranberry

What are the benefits of Cranberry for Urinary tract infections (UTIs)?

scientific
Modern Science View
Cranberry is beneficial in preventing urinary tract infections (UTIs). Cranberry does not allow the bacteria to adhere to the surface of the urinary tract. Thus, Cranberry inhibits the growth and colonization of the bacteria in the urinary tract[3][10].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Urinary tract infection is described under the broad term of Mutrakcchra in Ayurveda. Mutra means ooze, krichra means painful. Thus, dysuria and painful urination are called as Mutrakcchra. In urinary tract infection, Cranberry juice helps to control burning sensation because it has Mutral (diuretic) effect. It increases the urine flow and subsides the symptoms of UTI like burning sensation during urination.
Tips:
1. Take 2-3 teaspoon Cranberry juice.
2. Mix with one glass of water.
3. Have it before food once or twice a day to get rid of UTI symptoms.

What are the benefits of Cranberry for Common cold symptoms?

ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Cranberry is good for managing cough and cold. Cough is commonly known as Kapha disorder and is caused by the accumulation of mucus in the respiratory tract. Cranberry helps to remove accumulated mucus due to its Ushna (hot) balancing property.
Tips:
1. Take ¼-½ teaspoon Cranberry powder.
2. Mix with water or honey.
3. Have it after lunch and dinner to get rid of common cold.

What are the benefits of Cranberry for Coronary artery disease?

scientific
Modern Science View
Cranberry might be beneficial in managing coronary artery disease. Cranberry has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Cranberry protects the blood vessels and increases the level of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide in return dilates the blood vessels and improves the flow of blood. Cranberry also reduces arterial stiffness in patients with coronary artery disease[3][10].

What are the benefits of Cranberry for Helicobacter pylori (H.Pylori) infection?

scientific
Modern Science View
Cranberry might be beneficial in managing stomach ulcers caused by Helicobacter pylori (H pylori) infection. Cranberry has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It inhibits the growth of H. pylori in the stomach and prevents inflammation of the intestine[3][9].

What are the benefits of Cranberry for Influenza (flu)?

scientific
Modern Science View
Cranberry might be beneficial in managing flu and associated symptoms. Cranberry also reduces inflammation associated with the bacterial infection[3][11].

How effective is Cranberry?

Likely effective
Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
Insufficient evidence
Common cold symptoms, Coronary artery disease, Helicobacter pylori (H.Pylori) infection, Influenza (flu)

Precautions when using Cranberry

Advice from Experts
scientific
Modern Science View
1. Cranberry may cause inflammation of the stomach lining in patients with gastritis. This is due to the increased absorption of vitamin B12[3].
2. Due to its acidic nature, Cranberry juice may counteract antacids.
3. Cranberry juice may also increase the effects of antibiotics in the urinary tract as well as increase the excretion of of some drugs in the urine.
Allergy
scientific
Modern Science View
People who are allergic to Vaccinium species such as blueberries may also be allergic to Cranberry. In such cases, consult your doctor before taking Cranberry[8].
Breastfeeding
scientific
Modern Science View
It is safe to take Cranberry in food amounts. However, it is advised to consult your doctor before taking Cranberry supplements during breastfeeding. Also, some Cranberry tinctures may contain high levels of alcohol due to which it must be avoided[8].
Minor Medicine Interaction
scientific
Modern Science View
1. Cranberry may increase the effects and side effects of drugs metabolized in the liver.
2. Cranberry may interact with Alzheimer’s drugs, antivirals agents, antifungals, anthelmintics, anticancer agents, cholesterol-lowering drugs, diuretic and salicylates[8].
Moderate Medicine Interaction
scientific
Modern Science View
Cranberry may increase the effects of anticoagulant/antiplatelet drugs. So it is generally advisable to consult your doctor before taking Cranberry along with anticoagulant/antiplatelet drugs[3].
Patients with diabetes
Important
scientific
Modern Science View
Cranberry may increase insulin sensitivity and reduce the level of blood glucose. So it is generally advised to monitor the blood glucose level regularly while taking Cranberry supplements along with anti-diabetic drugs[7].
Patients with kidney disease
scientific
Modern Science View
Cranberry may increase the amount of oxalates in the body. Oxalate accumulation may cause kidney stones. So patients who have a tendency for formation of kidney stones should avoid consuming excessive Cranberry or Cranberry supplements[3][6].
Pregnancy
scientific
Modern Science View
It is safe to take Cranberry in food amounts. However, it is advised to consult your doctor before taking Cranberry supplements during pregnancy. Also, some Cranberry tinctures may contain high levels of alcohol due to which it must be avoided[8].
Side Effects
scientific
Modern Science View
Stomach upset/Diarrhoea

Recommended Dosage of Cranberry

  • Cranberry Tablet - 1-2 tablets twice a day.
  • Cranberry Capsule - 1-2 capsules twice a day.
  • Cranberry Powder - ¼-1/2 teaspoon twice a day.
  • Cranberry Juice - 2-3 teaspoon twice a day.

How to use Cranberry

1. Cranberry Tablets
a. Take 1-2 tablets of Cranberry with water after meals.
b. Follow this twice a day.

2. Capsules
a. Take 1-2 capsules of Cranberry with water after meals.
b. Follow this twice a day.

3. Cranberry Powder
a. Take ¼-½ teaspoon Cranberry Powder.
b. Mix with water or honey.
c. Have it after lunch and dinner.

4. Cranberry Syrup
a. Take 1 ½ cup fresh or frozen Cranberry.
b. Transfer in a saucepan.
c. Add 1 cup water to it.
d. Add ¾ cup of granulated sugar.
e. Bring the mixture to boil on medium heat.
f. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer of about 15 minutes.
g. Once the Cranberries have fallen apart, take the saucepan off the fire.
h. Strain the mixture in a bowl and let it sit for about 1 hour till cool.
i. Discard the solid component and store the syrup in an airtight bottle in the refrigerator.
j. The syrup can be stored for upto 2 weeks.

5. Cranberry Juice
a. Take 2-3 teaspoon Cranberry Juice.
b. Mix with one glass of water.
c. Have it before taking food once or twice a day.

6. Cranberry Tea
a. Add 2-3 teaspoons of Cranberry powder in a saucepan.
b. Add 1 cup water to it
c. Add a cinnamon stick and 1-2 cloves.
d. Let the mixture come to a boil on medium heat.
e. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
f. Strain the tea and drink hot.

Benefits of Cranberry

Aging
Cranberry helps to reduce the signs of aging such as fine lines and wrinkles which are due to dry skin and lack of moisture. According to Ayurveda, it is due to an aggravated Vata. Cranberry helps in controlling the signs of aging and wrinkles. It increases the moisture content in the skin because of its Ushna (hot) and Snigdha (oily) properties. It helps to balance Vata and keep the skin glowing and soft.
Tips:
1. Blend a few Cranberries to form a smooth puree.
2. Add 1-2 teaspoon of honey.
3. Mix and apply on the face and neck.
4. Leave it for 20-30 minutes.
5. Rinse with lukewarm water to manage the signs of aging.


Anti- Dandruff
As per Ayurveda, dandruff is a condition marked by flakes of dry skin on the scalp which may be attributed to an aggravated Vata and Pitta Dosha. Cranberry has properties of balancing Vata and remove excessive dryness due to its Snigdha( oily) nature. Thus, helps to control dandruff and prevent hair loss.
Tips:
1. Take 2-3 teaspoon Cranberry juice.
2. Mix with one glass of water.
3. Apply on the scalp and wait for 20-30 minutes.
4. Wash it with normal water.
5. Repeat this once a week to control dandruff.

Precautions when using Cranberry

Allergy
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Use Cranberry with honey or rose water if you have hypersensitive skin. This is because of its Ushna (hot) potency.

Recommended Dosage of Cranberry

  • Cranberry Juice - 1-2 teaspoons or as per your requirement.

How to use Cranberry

1. Cranberry face pack
a. Blend a few Cranberries to form a smooth puree.
b. Add 1-2 teaspoon of honey.
c. Mix and apply on the face and neck.
d. Leave it for 20 minutes.
e. Rinse with lukewarm water.

2. Cranberry scrub
a. Blend a few Cranberries into a smooth paste.
b. Add 1 teaspoon of jojoba/almond/coconut oil to the paste.
c. Add some oatmeal powder and sugar to it.
d. Apply evenly on damp face and neck.
e. Massage gently in circular motion.
f. Rinse with water.

3. Cranberry hair mask
a. Take some Cranberry juice.
b. Add 1-2 egg whites to it.
c. Mix well and apply on the scalp.
d. Massage your scalp for sometime.
e. Leave it on for a few minutes.
f. Rinse with cold water.
g. Apply twice a week for best results.

Frequently asked questions

Q. Is it OK to eat raw Cranberries?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Cranberry has very low calorie content but is rich in antioxidants, fibres and other essential phytochemicals. All the nutrients and goodness of Cranberry can be best obtained when eaten raw. It can also be consumed in the form of juice or along with cereal.

Q. Can you buy Cranberries year round?

scientific
Modern Science View
Fresh Cranberry are harvested in the autumn season and are available in store from October through December. However, frozen or canned Cranberry are available throughout the year.

Q. Can you eat Cranberries seeds?

scientific
Modern Science View
Cranberry has very small seeds in the centre of the fruit. Although the seeds are edible, it is advisable not to consume excessive amounts of seeds.

Q. Is dried Cranberry good for you?

scientific
Modern Science View
Dried Cranberry contains the same nutrients as fresh Cranberry. However, the process of drying reduces the vitamin content considerably. Also, if sugar is added to dried Cranberry, it may reduce the amount of good nutrients.

Q. What happens if you drink too much Cranberry juice?

scientific
Modern Science View
Cranberry juice may help improve digestion and also prevent the formation of peptic ulcers. However, drinking more than 1 liter per day for a long period of time might increase the chance of getting kidney stones[3].

Q. Does Cranberry cause acidity?

scientific
Modern Science View
Cranberry has an acidic pH (2.72) and can thus cause acidity and even heartburn[4].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Taking Cranberry helps to improve digestion. But taking in excess can cause acidity due to its Ushna (hot) potency.

Q. Do dried Cranberries make you poop?

scientific
Modern Science View
Cranberry is rich in fibres. Excessive consumption of dried Cranberry may cause mild stomach upset and make you poop[3][5].

Q. Does Cranberry have a role in hypercholesterolemia?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Cranberry has a role in hypercholesterolemia. Anthocyanins in Cranberry promote the uptake of LDL which lowers its level in the blood. Cranberry also increases the level of HDL or good cholesterol. The antioxidant activity of Cranberry prevents lipid peroxidation and also prevents damage of the blood vessels[10].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
High cholesterol is due to an imbalance of Pachak Agni (digestive fire). Impaired digestion at the tissue level produces excess waste products or Ama (toxic remains in the body due to improper digestion). This causes accumulation of bad cholesterol and blockage in the blood vessels. Cranberry helps to improve Agni (digestive fire) and reduce Ama. This is due to its Ushna (hot) properties. It also helps to remove blockage from the blood vessels by eliminating toxins and helps lower high cholesterol level.

Q. Is Cranberry good in diabetes?

scientific
Modern Science View
Flavonoids present in Cranberry help to manage diabetes. Cranberry lowers the blood glucose level by regulating the release of glucose from the liver. Cranberry also increases insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity for better utilization of glucose[3][10][11].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Diabetes also known as Madhumeha is due to an aggravation of Vata and impaired digestion. Impaired digestion leads to an accumulation of Ama (toxic remains in the body due to improper digestion) in the pancreatic cells and impairs the function of insulin. Cranberry helps to correct impaired digestion and reduce Ama due to its Ushna (hot) property. It also helps to improve the function of insulin and manage normal blood sugar level.
Tips:
1. Take 2-3 teaspoon Cranberry juice.
2. Mix with one glass of water.
3. Have it before food once or twice a day.

Q. Is Cranberry juice a detox?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Cranberry juice may act as a detoxifying agent. It inhibits the growth of bacteria in the stomach and intestines. It also has antioxidant property[8].

Q. Is Cranberry good for weight loss?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Cranberry is good for weight loss as it increases the metabolism of the body. Since Cranberry is rich in fibre it helps promote regular bowel movements and gives a feeling of fullness that helps prevent overeating[13].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Yes, Cranberry might be useful in losing weight. Weight gain it is a condition that occurs due to poor digestion wherein toxins get accumulated in the form of excessive fat or Ama. Cranberry helps to manage this condition by improving digestion due to its Ushna (hot) property. This helps to prevent the formation of toxins and improves metabolism thereby reducing weight.
Tips:
1. Add 2-3 teaspoons of Cranberry powder in 1 cup of water.
2. Boil the mixture and leave it for a few minutes on low heat.
3. You can also add a cinnamon stick and 1-2 cloves for better results.
4. Strain the tea and drink hot to help manage weight.

Q. Do Cranberry supplements affect diabetes?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Cranberry supplements might affect diabetes as they tend to lower blood glucose levels. Cranberry increases insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity thereby lowering blood glucose levels. When taken along with other blood glucose lowering drugs, it might enhance their effect and help manage diabetes[7][14].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Diabetes is a condition which generally occurs due to weak digestion or production of Ama. Cranberry helps to correct impaired digestion and reduce Ama due to its Ushna (hot) property. It also helps to improve the function of insulin thereby maintaining normal blood sugar levels.

Q. How does Cranberry juice help your kidneys?

scientific
Modern Science View
Cranberry juice reduces urinary odour and burning during urination and prevents urinary tract infection. However, due to its high oxalate content, it might increase the risk of formation of kidney stones[6].

Q. What are the benefits of Cranberry juice for men?

scientific
Modern Science View
Cranberry juice may lower the occurrence of lower urinary tract infections in men as it prevents the bacteria from sticking to the walls of the bladder. It also contains certain constituents that possess anti-inflammatory as well as antitumor properties which helps support prostate health by reducing the symptoms of prostatitis and enlarged prostate[12][15].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Cranberry helps to reduce urinary tract infections in men which might occur due to an imbalance of Vata dosha. This is due to its Vata balancing and Mutral (diuretic) properties. It increases the urine production which helps in the removal of infection-causing toxins from the body.
Tips:
1. Take 2-3 teaspoons of Cranberry juice.
2. Mix with one glass of water.
3. Have it before taking food once or twice a day.

References

  1. Khaneja M , Gupta S, Sharma A.Pharmacognostical and Preliminary Phytochemical Investigations on fruit of Vaccinium macrocarpon aiton.Pharmacogn J.2015;7(6):333-338.
  2. WHO monographs on selected medicinal plants.Fructus Macrocarponii. Volume 4.149-166.
  3. WebMD.Cranberry: Uses, Side effects, Doses, Interactions [Internet].Atlanta [last updated in 2016].
  4. Feldman M, Barnett C.Relationships between the acidity and osmolality of popular beverages and reported postprandial heartburn.Gastroenterology.1995;108(1):125-131.
  5. Dugoua J-J, Seely D, Perri D et al.Safety and efficacy of Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) during pregnancy and lactation.Can J Clin Pharmacol.2008;15(1):e80-e86.
  6. Gettman MT, Ogan K, Brinkley LJ et al.Effect of Cranberry juice consumption on urinary stone risk factors.J Urol.2005;174(2):590-594.
  7. Shidfar F, Heydari I, Hajimiresmaiel SJ et al.The effects of Cranberry juice on serum glucose, apoB, apoA-I, Lp(a), and paraoxonase-1 activity in type 2 diabetic male patients.J Res Med Sci.2012;17(4):355-360.
  8. Ulbricht CE.Natural Standard:Herb and Supplement Guide, An Evidence Based Reference.Elsevier;2010.
  9. Zhao S, Liu H, Gu L. American cranberries and health benefits - an evolving story of 25 years. J Sci Food Agric.2018.
  10. Blumberg JB, Camesano TA, Cassidy A, et al. Cranberries and Their Bioactive Constituents in Human Health. American Society for Nutrition. Adv. Nutr.2013;4:618-632.
  11. Blumberg JB, Basu A, Krueger CG, et al. Impact of Cranberries on Gut Microbiota and Cardiometabolic Health: Proceedings of the Cranberry Health Research Conference 2015. American Society for Nutrition. Adv Nutr.2016;7:759S–70S.
  12. Leyner M, Goldberg B.Why Do Men Have Nipples?: Things You’d Only Ask a Doctor After Your Third Gin ‘n’ Tonic.Hachette UK.2015.
  13. Anhe FF, Roy D, Pilon G et al.A polyphenol-rich cranberry extract protects from diet-induced obesity, insulin resistance and intestinal inflammation in association with increased Akkermansia spp. population in the gut microbiota of mice.Gut. 2015 Jun;64(6):872-83.
  14. Al-Juhaishi AM, Mousa TH, Murtadha Al-Shehristani RM.Effect of Cranberry in Enhancing Oral Hypoglycemic Agents in Uncontrolled Type-II Diabetic Patients.Journal of Global Pharma Technology. 2018: 10(08):319-324.
  15. LEDDA A, BELCARO G, DUGALL M.Supplementation with high titer cranberry extract (Anthocran®) for the prevention of recurrent urinary tract infections in elderly men suffering from moderate prostatic hyperplasia: a pilot study.European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences.2016: 20: 5205-5209.
Disclaimer
The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

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