Cranberry – A Home Remedy for Bladder and Urinary Tract Infections


Vaccinium macrocarpon

Common Names: American Cranberry, Arandano, Bearberry, Bog Cranberry, Craneberry, Large Cranberry, Mossberry

Medicinal Part: Berries

Description: Cranberries are a unique fruit. They can only grow and survive under a very special combination of factors: they require an acid peat soil, an adequate fresh water supply, sand and a growing season that stretches from April to November, including a dormancy period in the winter months that provides an extended chilling period, necessary to mature fruiting buds. 1

Properties and Uses: Anti-oxidant, anti-bilious, anti-putrid, diuretic, laxative, refrigerant, sub-astringent, vasodilator. Indicated for: Candida and other bacterial conditions, diarrhea, dropsy, fevers, scurvy, stomach ulcers, urinary tract infections (UTIs) of the bladder and urethra, urolithiasis. 2

I always find it amazing how the most common plants can harbor such beneficial properties. Take the cranberry for instance. It’s common enough, making an annual appearance on most every American table at Thanksgiving time. But historically, its role was far more prominent as a Native American cure for drawing poison from an arrow wound, to calm the nerves, and even as a dye.

For over 30 years now I’ve used cranberry juice to treat bladder or urinary tract infections, and I still find it unnerving how quickly the medical community will scoff at this common application that has been utilized for centuries. However, recent studies have shown that the use of cranberry can indeed impact such infections by preventing bacteria from attaching to the walls of the urinary tract. Cranberries may also protect against heart disease and certain types of cancer, probably through the antioxidant and anti-tumor effects of flavonoids found in cranberry. 3

Using Cranberry to Treat Bladder and Urinary Infections:

As with most herbal remedies, early intervention is the key. Cranberry should be taken at the first signs of a growing infection, (frequent urge to urinate and a painful, burning feeling in the area of the bladder or urethra during urination). Cranberry can be taken in juice form, by diluting cranberry concentrate with water, as a supplement or tincture.

If you choose to simply drink cranberry juice, read the product label carefully. Many so-called cranberry cocktails contain little or even no actual cranberry juice. While cranberry juice is always diluted because of its strong flavor, you should find a juice containing a minimum of 20% cranberry.

At the first sign of urinary problems, drink 3 to 4 (8) oz. glasses of cranberry juice daily until the symptoms disappear. If the symptoms persist or worsen consult your health care professional, as an antibiotic will likely be needed to get the infection under control. However, even if an antibiotic were required, I would recommend continuing with the cranberry juice, as it is helpful in reducing the painful symptoms associated with such infections.

So many Doctors today are concerned about the over-prescribing of antibiotics, and cranberry juice is one home remedy that, if utilized in the early stages of bladder and urinary infections, can offer relief without the need or expense of a doctor visit and subsequent medications.


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