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Cranberries 2

Cranberry: Good and Good for you!


The name cranberry is derived from early European settlers in America who called it “craneberry” as the stem and flowers resembled the shape of a crane’s neck, head and bill.  In northeastern Canada, these berries are called mossberry while the traditional English name is fenberry (fen=marsh).

Cranberries are grown in acidic bogs in the northern hemisphere and are a major commercial crop in the U.S. and Canada.  Most cranberries are processed into juice, sauce, jam or sweetened dried fruit.  There are many cranberry bogs in Wisconsin making it the leader of cranberry production in the U.S. with over 50% of cranberries grown there.  The Northeastern part of the U.S. is also a common location for cranberry bogs.  There are 3-4 species of cranberry.  They are in the genus Vaccinium and subgenus Oxycoccus.

The health effects of cranberries have been proclaimed due to their anti-oxidant qualities from flavonoids and other nutrients.  They are sometimes considered a “super-fruit.”   It is widely felt that cranberry juice, tablets, capsules or syrup can prevent urinary tract infections by preventing the binding of E. coli bacteria to the lining of the urinary tract.  However, a meta-analysis published in JAMA in 2013 revealed that cranberry products are not associated with prevention of UTIs.  However, lack of association of cranberry products with a reduced incidence of UTIs in clinical trials may be due to lack of participant adherence, lack of sufficient active ingredient in the cranberry product, or lack of sufficient statistical power.

Good news!  There are no published reports of cranberry allergy.  However, there is one case report from 2004 of allergy to lingonberry which is in the same genus (Vaccinium vitis-idaea L.) as cranberry.  To read this case report, go to:

Other information on cranberries:

  • The Cranberries is also an Irish rock band formed in Limerick in 1989.
  • My wife’s cranberry relish is a favorite at Thanksgiving dinner.  For the recipe go to: wait!—it is a secret family recipe.

At Family Allergy & Asthma Care of Montana, we are both deep and wide.  This means we diagnose and treat the most common food allergies as well investigate the most challenging and rare food-induced reactions.

This information is solely for informational purposes and not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional.



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