If you have ever suffered from a urinary tract infection, kidney infection or some other bladder ailment then you have more than likely utilized a medicine that contained cranberry extract. The cranberry, also known as Vaccinium Macrocarpon, has been utilized by Native Americans for hundreds of years to treat a wide variety of ailments. But what exactly is a cranberry, and is it an effective medicinal remedy?
The cranberry is native to North America, and it can be found growing naturally in bogs and other moist environments. This evergreen shrub is related to the huckleberry, bilberry and blueberry family. You can find this plant by looking for a bush with upright branches and pink flowers with a dark red fruit, which blooms from June throughout the end of July.
The main compounds within cranberries that provide it with medicinal properties, are proanthocyanidins, which are a powerful form of antioxidants. You can visually see the antioxidants within cranberries as this chemical causes the berry to take on a vibrantly red color. Cranberries also contain a large amount of vitamin C, which is another form of antioxidant.
When the active compounds of cranberry are introduced within the body, they immediately begin to seek out free radicals and fight them off. While many take cranberry when they have physical symptoms of a urinary tract infection, studies show that cranberries may not be an effective way to quickly rid a UTI. Rather, cranberries should be used to help prevent UTI’s from forming as well as in conjunction with an antibiotic UTI treatment.
Other uses of cranberry include the reduction of heart disease. The type of antioxidants located in this herb can help reduce the severity or likelihood of developing heart disease through lowering LDL cholesterol as well as preventing the buildup of plaque within the arteries; however, scientists still need to perform more research to determine the exact effectiveness of cranberry for heart disease.
You can consume cranberry in three different forms; all of which are easy, and quite tasty. The first way to consume cranberry is through its juice form. You will want to consume a minimum of three ounces of pure, undiluted cranberry juice every day. While cranberry juice is tasty, it can be bitter. Thus, you can also consume 10 ounces of a cranberry juice cocktail. Make sure you purchase all-natural juices that are free from additional sugars or artificial flavors.
A more convenient way to consume cranberry is through capsule form. Consume 400 milligrams of a standardized cranberry extract up to six time per day. Do not take all six doses at one time, but rather spread them out throughout the day so your body will absorb the nutrients.
Lastly, you can actually eat cranberries to ingest the healing properties of this herb. Eat a minimum of 1.5 to 2 ounces of frozen or fresh cranberries per day.