Herb Basics: Fight Bladder Infections with Cranberry

Cranberries can prevent bacteria growth in the bladder.


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The tangy red cranberry is high in vitamin C and, among other vital nutrients, it contains calcium, folic acid, iron, potassium, and vitamins A and E. Cranberry juice and cranberry extracts contain antioxidants that help protect the kidneys, bladder, and skin from cancer. But cranberry’s most famous use is as a bladder infection fighter. Cranberry adds acid to the urine, preventing bacteria from adhering to bladder cells. Regular doses can help steer you clear of bladder infections; higher doses can help treat an infection while you have it.

The recommended dosage of cranberry consists of 3 oz. of unsweetened or lightly sweetened cranberry juice once or twice a day. You should avoid cranberry juice cocktail products, as they contain a great deal of sugar, but straight, unsweetened cranberry juice is very sour and difficult to drink. If you prefer, take two to four capsules (400 to 500 mg) of cranberry extract daily as a preventive. If you have a bladder infection, take up to ten capsules daily. If your infection doesn’t clear up in a few days, contact your health practitioner, as antibiotics may be necessary.


Balch, Phyllis, and James Balch. Prescription for Nutritional Healing. New York: Avery, 2000.

Castleman, Michael. The Healing Herbs. Emmaus, Pennsylvania: Rodale, 1991.