A glance around the shelves in your local pharmacy will tell you that cranberry extract is extremely popular.
It’s mostly used by women when they have cystitis or a urinary infection, but a recent randomised trial suggests you might be best saving your money. The history of cranberry is quite old and stems from North America where Native Americans used cranberries for a variety of sources for thousands of years.
When it comes to urinary infections, there is little evidence that cranberry extracts can get rid of the germs but they may help to relieve some of the symptoms while antibiotics attack the cause.
That leaves the question for women who have recurrent cystitis of whether cranberry extract can help to prevent future infections and that’s what this recent trial tried to answer.
The active ingredients in cranberries are called proanthocyanidins and they used extract at a dose of 72mg per day in the year-long study. Unfortunately, the extract didn’t prevent urinary infections.
This doesn’t mean that women who find that cranberry extracts help should stop using them, but it does mean that if you have cystitis then you need to see your doctor.