Treatments - Cranberry Extract
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What is Cranberry Extract?

Cranberry has been used to prevent kidney stones as well as to remove toxins from the blood. Cranberries, also known as bear berry and Fenne berry, are the fruit of an evergreen shrub native to eastern regions of the United States and Canada. It grows in wet soils such as bogs and marshes or poorly drained meadows.

What are the uses of Cranberry Extract?
Urinary Tract Infections. Cranberry has long been recommended for persons with recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs). Indeed, a 1994 study from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) of 153 women (mean age 78.5 years), conducted at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Mass., found that "the use of a cranberry beverage reduces the frequency of bacteriuria and pyuria in older women. Prevalent beliefs about the effects of cranberry juice on the urinary tract may have microbiologic justification."

The researchers found women who drank cranberry juice were less likely to develop a urinary tract infection compared to those who drank a placebo. Women who already had an infection and drank cranberry juice were also less likely to have their infections continue.

Mechanism of Action:
Originally, scientists thought a compound in cranberries called hippuric acid inhibited bacteria in the bladder. However, current thinking suggests that compounds called proanthocyanidins are responsible for preventing problematic bacteria from infecting the bladder. This inhibitory mechanism is the reason that cranberry extract is best used to prevent a UTI in women experiencing recurrent bladder infections. It has never been proven effective for the only treatment of UTI or kidney infections.

What are the recommended Preparations/Dosages:
The dose of cranberry can vary widely in the extract or concentrate of juice consumed. Suggested doses include 400 mg of extract one to four times daily. Consuming cranberry juice several times a day may be beneficial, but caution should be taken after considering the large amount of sugar in commercial juices.

What about Side Effects?
Although side effects are rare, nausea and diarrhea may occur with large doses of cranberry. Allergic reactions are extremely rare, but have been reported. Use with moderate consumption during pregnancy is generally considered safe.