Not to suggest that there’s any connection between philosophy and cystitis, which apparently can plague older women. However, the effectiveness of cranberry juice is one of the true old wives tales. In short, it does work:
The research, by Terri Camesano, associate professor of chemical engineering at WPI, and graduate students Yatao Liu and Paola Pinzon-Arango, and funded, in part, by the National Science Foundation, shows that a group of tannins (called proanthocyanidins) found primarily in cranberries affect E. coli in three devastating ways, all of which prevent the bacteria from adhering to cells in the body, a necessary first step in all infections:
● They alter their cell membranes.
● They make it difficult for bacteria to make contact with cells, or from latching on to them should they get close enough.
For most of these effects, the impact on bacteria was stronger the higher the concentration of either cranberry juice or the tannins, suggesting that whole cranberry products and juice that has not been highly diluted may have the greatest health effects.
The old wives thought the juice changed the ph of one’s body, which isn’t right. Rather, it works right on the bacteria. Now, one needs to know, a glass works for 6-24 hours.
This news was presented at the American Chemical Soc. meeting in 2006, but its appearance in Chemical and Engineering News, March 29, 2010, alerted my resident scientist, who passed the information on.