CRANBERRY: Uses, Side Effects, Pills, Extracts

From Humble Fruit To Cranberry Pills & Extracts, Oh My!

cranberry pills
Photo by Jennifer Pallian on Unsplash
Most people think of cranberry as a fruit for food, but now cranberry pills and extracts are hitting the shelves, mainly because of the health benefits associated with this lowly sour fruit that grows from bushes living in boggy areas. In this article we will discuss cranberry's history as a crop, and it's evolution into a modern American natural supplement, as well as it's uses, side effects, and forms (from pills, extracts, whole foods, jams, jellies, etc.).

If you've read the Pine Barrens by John McPhee, then you know cranberries literally made areas in New Jersey like the Pine Barrens an economic powerhouse, until modern cranberry farming came along, but the little cranberry is now a big food product, as well as a medicine (though little evidence exists that cranberries really work as an effective medicine for many ailments it is used to treat).

Cranberry Pills - Review

Let's start with looking at cranberry pills and extracts. Many companies are now manufacturing cranberries into pill or extract form for easy consumption by individuals who believe this fruit is a health benefit. 

Cranberry is a kind of shrub that grows close to the ground and bogs or Wetland places. It is considered an evergreen or rather a plant that is green all year round. It is indigenous to areas in the Northeast United States. The shrub itself has little green leaves and pink flowers with fruits that look a darkish red and are shaped like eggs.

Cranberry As Natural Medicine

Cranberry has been used as a supplement for many types of ailments which include:

-urinary tract infections (UTIs).
- kidney stones
-neurogenic bladder
- increase urine flow
- killing germs
- fever reduction
-type 2 diabetes
- chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
- enlarged prostate
- common colds
- flu
-heart disease
- metabolic syndrome
-  Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) ulcers
- scurvy

Well the research varies and as often unsubstantiated people continue to look to Cranberry as a natural medicine but is it safe?

Cranberry Side Effects, Warnings and Safety

For the most part cranberry is considered safe for most people when taken orally. But consuming too much cranberry can cause side effects that may include bothered stomach, diarrhea increased probability of kidney stones (from increased oxalate in the blood) Etc. For women who are pregnant and or feeding a baby with breastmilk there has not been adequate research on cranberry supplements and how they affect them. It is best to talk with a doctor before consuming or considering any supplement.

Also people who are allergic to aspirin may also be allergic to cranberries if it is the salicylic acid they are allergic to because cranberry is also contain salicylic acid. Cranberry juice may also inflamed or irritate the stomach lining and increase the amount of vitamin B12 absorbed by people with atrophic gastritis.

Also cranberries consumed may contain amounts of sugar which interact and adversely affect those with diabetes. There is also evidence that cranberries May interact with
Warfarin (Coumadin), so those who are on this medication may need to check on this.

Cranberry As Food

Now most of us in the United States no that cranberries are used as a cocktail sauce or jelly to put on turkeys on Thanksgiving Day. Cranberry may also be used and similar fashion on any day to make turkey or chicken taste better and is often added two salads or as a jelly on muffins or toast when mixed with other fruits. Of course there are many varieties of cranberry juices.

Typical Dosages

For UTI prevention many will take up to 16 ounces of a cranberry juice drink that contains at least 26% cranberry juice. Cranberry pills often contain up to 500 mgs of dried cranberries which may be swallowed up to twice daily for up to a 1 year.

Dosages for kids may be less or not recommended

Here, below, is a Youtube video of someone reviewing cranberry pills as a urinary tract health supplement: 

DISCLAIMER: we do not guarantee this information to be accurate or true. Check with your doctor. Use info here for research purposes. Comment or email us to suggest corrections.