Chemicals in cranberries keep bacteria from sticking to the cells in the urinary tract. But they don't seem to be able to remove bacteria that are already stuck to these cells. This might explain why cranberry helps prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs), but doesn't help treat them.
People commonly use cranberry to prevent UTIs. Cranberry is also used for kidney stones, enlarged prostate, the common cold, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
Don't confuse cranberry with cramp bark, lingonberry, or uva ursi. These are sometimes also called cranberry but they are not the same.
How does it work ?
Uses & Effectiveness ?
Possibly Effective for
- Infections of the kidney, bladder, or urethra (urinary tract infections or UTIs). Taking certain cranberry products by mouth seems to help prevent UTIs in adult females. But it doesn't seem to help people with neurogenic bladder, a condition caused by a spinal cord injury. It's also not clear if it helps in children, elderly adults, or pregnant adults. It's important to note that while cranberry might help prevent UTIs in some people, it shouldn't be used to treat UTIs.
Special Precautions and Warnings
Children: Cranberry is commonly consumed in foods. There isn't enough reliable information to know if cranberry is safe to use as medicine or what the side effects might be.
Aspirinallergy: Cranberries contain significant amounts of salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is similar to aspirin. Avoid drinking large quantities of cranberry juice if you are allergic to aspirin.
Diabetes: Some cranberry juice products are sweetened with extra sugar. If you have diabetes, stick with cranberry products that are sweetened with artificial sweeteners.
Kidney stones: Cranberry juice and cranberry extracts contain a large amount of a chemical called oxalate. Since oxalate is found in kidney stones, cranberry might increase the risk of kidney stones. If you have a history of kidney stones, stay on the safe side and avoid taking cranberry extract products or drinking a lot of cranberry juice.
Warfarin (Coumadin) interacts with CRANBERRY
Warfarin is used to slow blood clotting. Cranberry might increase how long warfarin is in the body, and increase the chances of bruising and bleeding. Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. Your warfarin dose might need to be changed.
Atorvastatin (Lipitor) interacts with CRANBERRY
Cranberry might decrease how quickly the body breaks down atorvastatin. This might increase the effects and side effects of atorvastatin. Avoid drinking large amounts of cranberry juice if you are taking atorvastatin.
Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2C9 (CYP2C9) substrates) interacts with CRANBERRY
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Cranberry might change how quickly the liver breaks down these medications. This could change the effects and side effects of these medications.
Nifedipine (Procardia) interacts with CRANBERRY
Cranberry might decrease how quickly the body breaks down nifedipine. Drinking cranberry juice while taking nifedipine might increase the effects and side effects of nifedipine.
Be cautious with this combination
Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2C9 (CYP2C9) substrates) interacts with CRANBERRY
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Cranberry might change how quickly the liver breaks down these medications. This could change the effects and side effects of these medications.
Diclofenac (Voltaren, others) interacts with CRANBERRY
Cranberry might decrease how quickly the body breaks down diclofenac. Drinking cranberry juice while taking diclofenac might increase the effects and side effects of diclofenac.
Be watchful with this combination
As medicine, cranberry dried powder has most often been used by adults in doses of 250-1500 mg by mouth daily for up to 6 months. Cranberry extract has most often been used in doses of 120-1600 mg by mouth daily for 12 weeks. And cranberry juice drinks are often used in doses of 120-750 mL daily for up to 90 days. Speak with a healthcare provider to find out what type of product and dose might be best for a specific condition.
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RE: Health Claim Petition - Consumption of Cranberry Products and Reduced Risk of Recurrent Urinary Tract Infection in Healthy Women (Docket No. FDA-2018-Q-0739). Available at: https://www.fda.gov/media/140304/download. Accessed on July 23, 2020.
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