Habitat & Cultivation : Indigenous to eastern North America and northern Asia, the cranberry flourishes in acidic soils and thrives in wet, boggy ground. It is extensively cultivated in the north-eastern United States.
Parts Used : Berry (fruit).
Constituents : Cranberry contains tannins (catechins, proanthocyanidins and polyphenols), flavonoids and vitamin C.
History & Folklore : Cranberries are most renowned for their use in cranberry sauce, but in Sweden, they have a traditional association with a tart and acidic drink. The cultivation of cranberries in Britain dates back to 1808 when the English botanist Joseph Banks first undertook it. In the United States, which has become the primary producer of cranberries, cultivation began in the 1840s.
Medicinal Actions & Uses : A well-known remedy for urinary tract infections, cranberry can serve both preventive and therapeutic purposes for issues like cystitis and urethritis. Whether consumed as berries, juice, or extract, cranberry aids in disinfecting the urinary tubules and can be beneficial for challenges related to poor urinary flow, such as an enlarged prostate, as well as bladder infections. In instances of acute infection, combining cranberry with herbs like buchu and bearberry is likely to enhance effectiveness. Moreover, cranberries may be employed on a long-term basis to proactively prevent the formation of urinary stones composed of calcium carbonate.
Research : In a study published in 1994, it was observed that cranberry juice played a role in reducing the necessity for antibiotics in women dealing with chronic urinary tract infections. The potential mechanism behind this effect is believed to be the hindrance of bacteria adherence to the urinary tract wall, making it easier to flush out the infection. Proanthocyanidins and catechins found in cranberry are likely responsible for this action.