Cranberry has been used for reducing the risk of “bladder infections” (urinary tract infections). It has also been used for decreasing the smell of urine in people who are unable to control urination (incontinent). This product should not be used alone to treat bladder infections.
Some evidence exists for the use of cranberry in preventing, but not treating, urinary tract infections (UTIs). Other possible uses for cranberry, with limited evidence, include reduction of the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Cranberries contain about 88% water and are a rich source of phytochemicals, such as organic acids (including benzoic, cinnamic, sinapic, caffeic, ferulic and other acids) and flavonoids (including quercetin, myericetin, cyanidin, catechin, and epicatechin). Cranberries also contain iridoid glycosides and anthocyanins, triterpenoids, and other alkaloids and constituents. They also contain small amounts of protein, fiber, sodium, potassium, selenium, and vitamins A, C, and E (2 to 10 mg). Cranberries are also a dietary source of resveratrol. Dried berries contain little sodium or fat.
Cranberry phytochemicals, especially proanthocyanins, quercetin, and ellagic and ursolic acids, have been investigated for a role in cancer treatment. Induction of apoptosis and inhibition of tumor proliferation via inhibition of cell invasion and migration have been suggested as mechanisms. In vitro studies have shown cranberry extracts to inhibit growth of human cancer cell lines, including oral, colon, prostate, breast, liver, lung, and leukemia.