Cranberries grow on bushes up to 12 feet tall. In the Spring the berries are preceded by lovely little white flowers.
From these tiny lovely berries comes a host of healing power. As with many brightly colored fruits, cranberries are rich in antioxidants which benefit the body in a number of ways. It is also an excellent source of vitamin C, a very good source of dietary fiber, and a good source of manganese and vitamin K.
For maximum health benefits, Cranberry juice should be consumed unsweetened. It’s a refreshing drink and can be added to your cold glass of green or mint tea. Two ounces of cranberry juice diluted in eight (8) ounces of filtered water is recommended for medicinal purposes.
Below are some of the health benefits, many of which you’re most likely aware of.
Urinary Tract Infection:
Cranberry juice is very effective against urinary tract infections. Drinking one glass of 100% cranberry juice daily reduces the risk of infections and prevents cystitis. Cranberry juice produces hippuric acid in the urine which acidifies the urine and prevents bacteria from sticking to the walls of the bladder. It also prevents kidney stone formation.
Cranberry juice contains powerful antioxidants that help to prevent or repair the damages caused by free radicals. It inhibits oxidation of LDL (Wilson et al., 1999). Drinking cranberry juice helps increase good cholesterol and the body’s antioxidant capacity (Pedersen et al., 200).
Cranberry juice helps inhibit certain strains of the Haemophilus influenza, which is a common cause of ear and respiratory infections in children.
Protection from Herpes Virus
Studies have found that a substance extracted from the cranberries called proanthocyanidin, suppressed the genital herpes virus. Tests showed that this compound made it harder for the virus to penetrate cells.
Some studies have shown that cranberry juice can reduce the growth of bacteria that causes plaque to stick to the teeth, preventing decay and gum disease.
Proanthocyanidin, the compound I mentioned under the Herpes heading, has potential anti carcinogenic activity (Bomser et al., 1996); cranberry products inhibited proliferation of estrogen receptor-negative and receptor-positive human breast cancer cells in a dose-dependent manner (Guthrie, 2000).
Stomach and Ulcers
Research shows that components found in cranberry may prevent bacteria, such as E. coli, from clinging to the cells along the walls of the urinary tract and causing infection. There is also preliminary evidence that cranberry may reduce the ability of H. pylori bacteria to live in the stomach and cause ulcers.