Cranberry powder is the freeze-dried form of cranberry. As with cranberry juice, the powder can be consumed to help prevent urinary tract infections owing to cranberries' anti-bacterial properties. Cranberry powder may be sold loose or in capsule form. In addition to preventing urinary tract infections, cranberry powder may help people with asthma, swelling, and bacterial infections in the digestive system. A patient should consult her doctor before taking cranberry powder.
Cranberries grow on an evergreen bush in North America. The fruit has a history of being used to treat infections, especially among Native American tribes. Cranberry powder is produced by freeze drying and grinding the berries. The powder can be mixed into water and drunk or sold in a capsule that is swallowed as a pill. Powdered cranberry does not have the sugar content of cranberry juice and may be more effective at preventing infections.
Cranberry juice and powdered cranberries do not treat urinary tract infections but can help prevent them in people who are prone to infection. The fruit contains chemicals that prevent bacteria from bonding with the cells of the urinary tract. The chemicals cannot unbind bacteria that is already attached to the urinary tract, though.
The powder may also help prevent infections in the digestive system and mouth. Chemicals that prevent bacteria in the urinary tract from bonding to cells may also prevent Heliocbactor pylori, the bacteria that causes ulcers, from bonding to cells. Likewise, cranberry prevents oral bacteria from sticking to the gums, reducing a person's risk of plaque and gingivitis.
Cranberry powder also contains salicylic acid, which is the main ingredient in aspirin. Salicylic acid has anti-inflammatory properties. Taking cranberry powder regularly may help reduce swelling in the body and may reduce a person's risk for blood clots.
The chemicals in cranberries may also help reduce signs and symptoms in people with asthma. It was thought that cranberries could lower blood sugar levels, but there is not enough evidence of any effect. More studies need to be conducted to determine if cranberries can help reduce tumor size or help people with chronic fatigue syndrome.
If a person decides to take cranberry powder, she should consult her doctor to make sure it won't interact with any medications she is on. She can try drinking the powder as a tea by stirring two teaspoons (10 grams) into a glass of water. The water can be hot or cold.