Cranberry Extract Vaccinium macrocarpon Anthocyanosides
What Is It?
Generations of American women have known that the bitter native cranberry isn't just the basis of a Thanksgiving relish. In fact, these small, dark red berries have a long medical history in addition to a colorful culinary one. Specifically, cranberry juice and cranberry extract appear to help prevent and even eliminate urinary tract infections. Most women develop this type of problem at least once in their lives, and some suffer from constant recurrences.
The name "cranberry" evolved from "craneberry" (a common name for the low-growing shrub Vaccinum macrocarpon) because the plantís flowers resemble the heads of cranes frequently spotted in the bogs where cranberries thrive.
Early American physicians successfully applied crushed cranberries to tumors and wounds. They also used cranberries as a remedy for the age-old malady known as scurvy, a disease caused by a lack of vitamin C. It wasnít too surprising, therefore, when modern scientists discovered that cranberries contain plentiful stores of this common antioxidant vitamin.
Recently, Israeli researchers discovered that a compound in cranberry juice is effective against various plaque-forming bacteria that can bind to teeth and cause gingivitis and gum disease. If youíre considering using cranberry juice for this purpose, however, stick with the natural (and unsweetened) variety. Commercial cranberry juice cocktails are very high in sugar, a gum-disease culprit in its own right.
Researchers have also found that cranberry juice may deodorize urine, a real boon for individuals who suffer from incontinence. In fact, the most popular medicinal uses by far for cranberry relate to urinary tract conditions.
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