Cranberry (Man Yue Mei)
Botanical Name: Vaccinium macrocarpon
Unsweetened cranberry juice has been used for centuries to help protect the urinary system because it can help fight against bacterial infections in the bladder and urethral mucosa. Cranberry juice turns the urine acidic helping to prevent the formation of alkane stones in the urinary tract. Cranberries have one of the highest oxygen radical absorbent capacities among edible berries, making them an excellent protector from cancer causing free radicals in the body. Cranberries were considered a symbol of peace by the Native American Delaware Tribes.
Below is an overview of Cranberry (Man Yue Mei), combining and interpreting the best of Western Science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of Cranberry (Man Yue Mei).
Western Name: Cranberry
Also Known As: Bog Cranberry, American Cranberry
Organs/Systems: Bladder, Kidney, Digestion, Immunity
Key Western Actions & Medicinal Uses: Antioxidant, Anticancer, Anti-aging, Anti-inflammatory, Antibacterial, Vasodilator, Diuretic. Inflammation, infections, diabetes, neurological diseases, anti-aging, anti-cancer, counteracts cholesterol, loss of appetite, digestive disorders, scurvy, anti-asthmatic.
Pin Yin: Man Yue Mei
Also Known As: N/A
Meridians: Bladder, Lung, Stomach, Kidney
Key TCM Actions & Medicinal Uses: Removes Toxins from the Blood/Dissolves Kidney Stones: kidney stones, bladder stones, wounds. Clears Heat/Opens the Lungs: asthma, dry coughs, urinary tract infections (UTIs), poor digestion, loss of appetite, mouth sores.
Parts Most Frequently Used: Berry
Flavors/Temps: Bitter, Sour, Cold
History/Folklore: Half a cup of cranberries contains only 25 calories.
Because bacteria does not thrive in acidic environments, the increase in acid in urine from eating cranberries is another reason they are helpful for preventing urinary tract infections (UTIs). One in five women will develop a UTI during her lifetime, it is far less common disorder in men. Most infections are caused by one type of bacteria, E. coli. Recent studies have shown that unsweetened cranberry juice not only increases the acid in urine, but it can also reduce the ability of E. coli to adhere to the lining of the bladder and urethra, reducing the chance for urinary tract infections (UTIs).
Another study found that cranberry extract inhibits an enzyme that has been associated with reducing the risk of cancer.
Native Americans used raw cranberries in dressings to help heal wounds, especially to draw poisons form the blood caused by arrow wounds. Cranberries were understood to help remove toxins from the blood. Cranberries were considered a symbol of peace by the Native American Delaware Tribes. Native Americans also mixed deer meat with mashed cranberries to make a convenience food that could be kept for a long period of time.
The name “cranberry” comes from early Dutch and German settlers, who called it “crane berry” because in the spring the flower’s petals twist back resembling the neck, head and bill of a crane.
Cranberries are a traditional relish dish included in the U.S. Thanksgiving meal. It is rumored that they were part of the first Thanksgiving dinner served in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Cranberries are the symbol for the state of Massachusetts.
Cranberries were carried on sailing ships because they were easy to preserve and helped prevent scurvy.
Cranberry juice can be used to make a natural dye for rugs, blankets and clothing.
98% of the world’s cranberries are cultivated in the northern U.S. and Canada. The cranberry is one of only a handful of fruits native to North America, the Concord grape and blueberries are two others.
High levels of Phenolic flavonoid phytochemicals (Pro-anthocyanidins or PAC’s), Oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPC’s or Antioxidant compounds), Arbutin, Vitamin C, A and B-12, B-carotene, Potassium, Manganese, Folate, Copper.
WWII Scurvy Prevention
During WWII about one million pounds of dehydrated cranberries were used a year to help strengthen immunity and prevent scurvy.
Due to cranberries bitter and sour taste, juicing and powdering for capsules, are the most popular preparations.
Cranberries are sometimes added to wine, but as they do not ferment a naturally as grapes, they are not used in the traditional wine-making process.
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