NCCAM -- Historically, cranberry fruits and leaves were used for a variety of problems, such as wounds, diarrhea, diabetes, stomach ailments, and liver problems. Most notably, cranberry products have been used in the hope of preventing or treating urinary tract infections. The berries are used to produce beverages and many other food products, as well as dietary supplements in the form of extracts, capsules, or tablets.
Research has examined the use of cranberry in preventing urinary tract infections but study sizes have been too small to provide a definitive answer. Recently, an NCCAM-funded study in Clinical Infectious Diseases found that cranberry juice—given to college-aged women who just recovered from a bladder infection—did not prevent urinary tract infections from coming back.
People who are using or are considering using natural products, including cranberry, should discuss this decision with their health care provider.