We chose cranberry this month because it is widely used to prevent urinary tract infections.

 

A perennial vine prevalent in northeastern part of North America, cranberry was used by Native American healers to treat fevers, wounds, swelling, blood disorders and seasickness. Clinical data suggest utility of cranberry in 

Herb of Month Cranberrytreating urinary tract infections in adults and in children, and in preventing cystitis in prostate cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy. But a recent trial failed to find any beneficial effects in older adults with higher risk of urinary tract infections. In other studies, regular intake of cranberry juice was shown to suppress H. pylori infection, a major factor in peptic ulcer disease that may contribute to gastric cancer; and reduced cardiovascular disease risk factors in men with type-2 diabetes. Cranberry extracts and cranberry proanthocyanidins also showed anti-proliferative effects against esophageal, stomach, colon, bladder and prostate cancers, as well as glioblastoma and lymphoma. Clinical trials have yet to be conducted. Read more about cranberry.

The last two decades have seen a significant increase in dietary supplement use by cancer patients. Despite the proliferation of Web sites that contain information about dietary supplements, finding a reliable source can be overwhelming. The Integrative Medicine Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center developed and maintains a free Web site “About Herbs”  that provides objective and unbiased information about herbs, vitamins, minerals and other dietary supplements, and unproven anticancer treatments. Each of the 278 and growing number of entries has healthcare professional and patient versions that are regularly updated with the latest research findings. The free About Herbs App, compatible with iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch devices, can be downloaded at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/about-herbs/id554267162?mt=8.