Cranberry Essay

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The Cranberry: A Healthier, Cheaper Alternative to Antibiotics?
Have you ever heard that cranberry juice helps prevent a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)? The Vaccinium oxycoccus, more commonly known as the small cranberry, is a plant that I have always been curious about researching and exploring in further detail. The fruit may remind people of holiday decorations, or of the Ocean Spray commercials in the beautiful cranberry bogs in Massachusetts. They remind me of their incredible powers in preventing UTIs. Many credible adults, including my doctor, have mentioned that cranberry juice can be helpful for UTIs. However, today it is becoming harder to identify whether the fruit is a reliable, affective and/or healthier alternative to antibiotics.
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The Vaccinium oxycoccus is also called the small cranberry, and belongs to the family Ericaceae. This is a family of flowering plants that includes other fruit such as blueberries and huckleberries (not actually berries, but epigynous fruits). Of the many delicious and sweet fruits that belong to this family, the cranberry is instead a more bitter fruit, and is grown in a peaty or alluvial-soil environment (Corbett, 1903). Alluvial soil is a sand-like soil that is very fine-grained and fertile when paired with the flow of water. This flow of water can eventually create deposits in a stream or riverbed, which is then used for cultivating cranberries. The plant itself is very slender, with a habit of creeping or running along the soil. The stems are very short and contain leaves that can be acute, ovate or acuminate. This simply means the formation and overall appearance of the leaves can differ between each cranberry plant. Author Lee Cleveland Corbett mentions in his book, Cranberry Culture, “The fruit of the cranberry is borne on short upright shoots of the previous season’s growth. As will be noted, the flowers are borne in the axils of the leaves, which gives the fruit the appearance of being distributed along the stem, a fact which is taken advantage of in harvesting” (Corbett, 1903). Many believe that the cranberry must be grown in a …show more content…
Common symptoms of a UTI include burning, pain and discomfort during or after urination, as well as pressure in the bladder. All of these uncomfortable indications of a UTI can negatively affect anyone’s daily life, especially those who have reoccurring problems. UTIs can also increase the risk of obtaining a kidney infection, scarring of the kidney walls, and/or kidney stones. A study was done in 2014 to, “Determine if daily consumption of cranberry juice decreased symptoms of UTIs among women between the ages of 30 and 39 years who reported at least one previous UTI” (Bass-Ware, Weed, Johnson, and Spurlock, 2014). The researchers gave participants a required 4 ounces of cranberry juice for consumption each day, and at the 2, 4 and 8-week marks, participants took 2 surveys indicating the intensity/frequency of their symptoms. These surveys were called the “Interstitial Cystitis Symptom Index (ICSI) tool and the Interstitial Cystitis Problem Index (ICPI) tool” (Bass-Ware, Weed, Johnson, and Spurlock, 2014). They both focus on symptoms and problems such as urgency, frequency, nocturia (waking up in the night to urinate), dysuria (stinging or discomfort when urinating), and pain in the bladder. A researcher read the questions from each survey at the indicated weeks and recorded their responses. In the end, the researchers were able to conclude that,

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