The Sweet Smelling, Tiny Wound Healer
Native to North America, cranberry shrubs synthesize their precious berries and seeds in sandy, harsh weather conditions. Seasonal flooding is a known method of harvest as the plant is not tolerant of the damp pampering conditions that other plants enjoy. Cranberries are traditional astringents famous for their ability to combat Urinary Tract Infection (UTIs). While their anti-inflammatory effects are evident in all the parts of the plant, the oil of the seed exhibits many other unique qualities. Nothing beats the naturally balanced 1:1:1 ratio of Omega 3:6:9 of Cranberry oil! The plant is also rich in ascorbic acid, tocopherols, tocotrienols and other anti-oxidants. Thus, it may act as one of nature's most unique topical beauty-enhancing oils. Studies also show promising potential as internal vascular health promotion, lipid profile normalization and gastrointestinal support agent.
Key Health Benefits
Support healthy lipid profile
Supports vascular health
Enhances natural skin barrier
May prevent UV-mediated skin damage
May enhance the skin repair process
Antioxidant and Antimicrobial
Laboratory analysis confirms that the American Cranberry (Vaccinium Macrocarpon) demonstrates good radical scavenging activity. Significant antimicrobial properties were also detected by further analysis. It appears that the bacteria Bacillus cereus and Micrococcus luteus were the most sensitive to cranberry extracts in lab settings. The activity of Cranberry both as an anti-oxidant and an antimicrobial agent is attributed to the rich anthocyanin and ascorbic acid content.
Consuming the Benefits
According to Amy Howell, Ph.D., a pioneer in cranberry and blueberry research at Rutgers University, desired health benefits may be observed with the consumption of 8 to 10 ounces of cranberry juice. That is equivalent to 1.5 ounces of dried cranberries. Such benefits include the breakdown of bacterial adhesions in the oral cavity, stomach and urinary tract. Howell compares the activity of cranberry to that of conventional antibiotics.
Studies on cranberry seed oil demonstrate that it may play a potential role in reducing the risk of heart disease, reducing brain cell damage after stroke and preventing gum disease.
Cranberries are cultivated in many places all over the world. Northern United States, Canada, Europe and even Chile are all places of cranberry cultivation. Unfortunately, cranberry cultivation is negatively impacted by the decline in bee populations as bees are the predominant pollinator of the plant. According to Anne Averill, Ph.D., though requiring pollination by external pollinators, cranberry flowers are not a high-priority flower for bees. Introducing migratory bees is becoming more and more of a necessity for cranberry farmers. Remember to support your local pollinators by planting as many flowers as you can every spring!