Plant Family: 

Ericaceae

 

Habitat & Cultivation: 

Bogs of the northern U.S., and Canada. Due to its specialized habitat requirements, cranberries have been naturalized only in surrounding areas with rich, glacial peat bogs. Affinity for marshes means attraction to wetness and acidic regions, hinting at an affinity for the urinary tract. Specifically, this translates to being a powerful cleansing agent of urinary infections and stones (American Botanical Council, n.d.).  Vaccinium angustifolium is usually cultivated in the US.

 

Parts Used/Collection: 

Berries

Cold press it means that the cranberry juice was extracted using a hydraulic press. This brings out the pure qualities and properties of the cranberry pasteurized process is used to kill all the harmful bacteria that could be present, but without harming the properties of the cranberry or fruit being used.

If sugar is added to the cranberry juice, many of its properties will disappear. If the cranberry juice has sugar, and it’s being used to treat a UTI, it will most likely not work at all.

 

Herbal Actions: 

  • Antiseptic

  • Diuretic

  • Antioxidant

  • Antiinflammatory

  • Antimicrobial

 

Indications: 

  • Urinary Tract infection!! (it needs to be pure cranberry, it can’t be the sweet cranberry juices from the store)

  • Antimicrobial

  • Decreases inflammation

  • Helps the immune system

  • Treating kidney stones

  • consumption of cranberry juice increases antioxidant capacity

Influenza, common cold, sinusitis, low immunity

 

Contraindications: 

None known for flower (Mills and Bone, 2005). Nontoxic, but leaves/stems/bark/roots/flower/unripe fruit contain cyogenic glycosides which can cause n/v and diarrhea when immature plants or high quantities of fruit consumed; majority of Sambucus nigra consumed is processed - heating process changes cyogenic glycosides to be less poisonous (Sidor & Gramza-Michalowska, 2015).

 

Plant Constituents: 

 

  • Flavonoids

  • Tannins

  • Mucilage

  • Volatile oil 

  • Sterols

 

System Affinities:

  • Immune

  • Respiratory

  • Integumentary

  • Gastrointestinal

  • Urinary

  •  

 

Energetics: 

 

Cooling, light , dry

 

Safety: 

 

According to Hoffmann, there are no safety issues, side effects, or drug interactions surrounding Sambucus nigra and it is safe for pregnancy and lactation (Hoffmann, 2003). Consuming raw berries can cause severe diarrhea and vomiting.

 

Personal Experience:

 

Each winter I make elderberry syrup for my family, it is a decoction with elderberry, cinnamon, ginger and honey to fight the cold and flu season. 

 

Research: 

 

ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs. New York, NY: American Botanical Council.

 

Hoffman, D. (2003). Medical Herbalism. Healing Arts Press: Vermont.

 

Romm, A. (2010). Botanical medicine for women's health (p.18-19). St. Louis, Mo: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier.

 

Cranberry (Vaccinium spp.)