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© 2018 Steven Foster

A cranberry monograph for the home

Latin Name: Vaccinium macrocarpon, also known as Oxycoccus macrocarpos, Vaccinium oxycoccos

Common Names: cranberry, American cranberry, bearberry

This cranberry monograph provides basic information about cranberry—common names, usefulness and safety, and resources for more information.


Cranberry Basics

  • Cranberry is a native evergreen shrub that grows throughout North America.
  • Historically, cranberry fruits or leaves were used for bladder, stomach, and liver disorders, as well as diabetes, wounds, and other conditions.
  • Today, cranberry is used as a dietary supplement primarily for urinary tract infections (UTIs).
  • The berries are used in beverages and food. They are also made into dietary supplements in the form of extracts, powder, capsules, and tablets.

Cranberry in Health Research

  • There have been a lot of studies in people of cranberry for UTIs, but there’s very little high quality recent research on cranberry for other conditions.

Cranberry Research Summary

  • There’s mixed evidence that cranberry can help to prevent UTIs.
    • In a 2016 year-long study of 147 women living in nursing homes, taking two daily cranberry capsules decreased bacteria levels in their urine in the first 6 months of the study, but didn’t decrease their frequency of UTIs over the year of the study, compared to taking a placebo. The two capsules together contained as much proanthocyanidin, a compound that is believed to protect against bacteria, as 20 ounces of cranberry juice.
    • A 2012 research review of 13 clinical trials suggested that cranberry may help reduce the risk of UTIs in certain groups, including women with recurrent UTIs, children, and people who use cranberry-containing products more than twice daily.
    • A 2012 research review of 24 clinical trials concluded that cranberry juice and supplements don’t prevent UTIs but many of the studies were poor quality.
  • Cranberry hasn’t been shown to be effective as a treatment for an existing UTI.
  • NCCIH-supported research is looking at the possible effects of cranberry on cancer-related anemia and tumor cells.

Cranberry Safety

  • Drinking cranberry juice appears to be safe, although large amounts can cause stomach upset and may over time increase the risk of kidney stones.
  • Large doses of cranberry may alter levels of warfarin, an anticoagulant (blood-thinner).
  • People who think they have a UTI should see a health care provider for a diagnosis and treatment. Don’t use cranberry products in place of proven treatments for infections.

Cranberry References


PubMed Articles About Vaccinium macrocarpon

Source: National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)[Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US), National Center for Biotechnology Information; [1988] – [cited 2018 Apr 5]. Available from:

Bruyère, F., Azzouzi, AR., Lavigne, JP., Droupy, S., Coloby, P., Game, X., Karsenty, G., Issartel, B., Ruffion, A., Misrai, V., Sotto, A., Allaert, FA., (2020) A Multicenter, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study Evaluating the Efficacy of a Combination of Propolis and Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) (DUAB®) in Preventing Low Urinary Tract Infection Recurrence in Women Complaining of Recurrent Cystitis.

The purpose of the study was to compare the efficacy of a product containing cranberry and propolis (DUAB) to placebo for reducing frequency of cystitis in women with recurrent acute cystitis.

Skarpańska-Stejnborn, A., Basta, P., Trzeciak, J., Michalska, A., Kafkas, ME., Woitas-Ślubowska, D., (2018) Effects of cranberry () supplementation on iron status and inflammatory markers in rowers.

The aim of this study was to analyze the effect of supplementation with cranberry () on the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, hepcidin and selected markers of iron metabolism in rowers subjected to exhaustive exercise.

Scharf, B., Schmidt, TJ., Rabbani, S., Stork, C., Dobrindt, U., Sendker, J., Ernst, B., Hensel, A., (2021) Antiadhesive natural products against uropathogenic E. coli: What can we learn from cranberry extract?

Extracts from Cranberry fruits (Vaccinium macrocarpon) are traditionally used against urinary tract infections, mainly due to antiadhesive activity against uropathogenic E. coli (UPEC), but the exact mode of action and compounds, responsible for the activity, are unknown.

Chiancone, F., Carrino, M., Meccariello, C., Pucci, L., Fedelini, M., Fedelini, P., (2020) The Use of a Combination of Vaccinium Macracarpon, Lycium barbarum L. and Probiotics (Bifiprost®) for the Prevention of Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis: A Double-Blind Randomized Study.

To evaluate the efficacy of Bifiprost® + Serenoa Repens 320 mg versus Serenoa Repens 320 mg alone for the prevention of chronic bacterial prostatitis (CBP) due to enterobacteriaceae.

Cho, A., Eidelberg, A., Butler, DJ., Danko, D., Afshinnekoo, E., Mason, CE., Chughtai, B., (2021) Efficacy of Daily Intake of Dried Cranberry 500 mg in Women with Overactive Bladder: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo Controlled Study.

We sought to determine the efficacy of dried cranberry on reducing symptoms of overactive bladder in women.