08 July, 2011
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Vaccinium macrocarpon is the scientific name for the cranberry bush. The berries from cranberry bushes provide an herbal supplement common in some alternative health care treatments. Although cranberry supplements may be helpful in treating certain conditions that involve the urinary tract, there is no evidence that this herb helps increase urinary output or makes your body shed excess water weight.
The cranberry bush is native to many areas, including the United States. Native Americans used the berry as an herbal treatment for urinary conditions. Cranberry fruit contains antioxidants, such as proanthocyanidins, the substance that gives the berries their intense color. Cranberry supplements come in the form of capsules and tablets, which contain particles from the dried berries. The standard dose involves taking 300 to 400 mg pills six times a day.
Studies indicate that cranberry supplements may be helpful in preventing urinary tract infections, although there is no evidence that they cure existing infections or increase the production of urine. This herbal supplement may provide protection against bladder infections by decreasing the stickiness of bacteria and preventing them from attaching to the inner lining of the urinary tract. Although more research is necessary, some studies indicate that cranberry supplements may help other conditions, such as heart disease, ulcers, oral hygiene and cancer. Research does not indicate that cranberry supplements reduce water weight, however.
Although cranberry supplements do not act as diuretic, several other herbal substances do have this effect on the body. Dandelion, juniper and ginger are some plants that may help treat edema by helping your body shed excess water. Diuretics work by making your body produce more urine.
Edema is a symptom that may stem from a medical condition. Seek medical advice before attempting to treat an illness or condition with herbal supplements. While herbal supplements and certain nonprescription drugs may help promote temporary weight loss by increasing the flow of urine, they can also have side effects. Drink more water, eat more fresh vegetables and fruits, and cut back on salt; these are healthy ways to limit excess water weight. Cranberry supplements may interact with warfarin, a drug that thins the blood. This herb may also increase the risk of developing kidney stones, due to the high levels of oxalate in the berries. Some people are allergic to cranberry and may experience difficulty breathing and swelling of the mouth and face.
- Cranberry - Cerise image by ParisPhoto from Fotolia.com