Vaccinium macrocarpon, “Cranberry” in English and “Canneberge à gros fruits” in French, belongs to the Ericaceae botanical family.
Native to Eastern North-America, and cultivated in Northern Europe, it is a small creeping shrub that grows to 0.2 m on average in acid boggy ground, cultivated mainly in artificial ponds called cranberry bogs.
Its berries are edible raw or cooked and mostly used to make juice and sauces, particularly cranberry sauce, commonly served at Thanksgiving dinner in North America.
It is used as a herbal treatment for digestive disorders and urinary tract infections. Fruit and juice are reported to be health foods endowed with potent antioxidant and anticancer activity, with vasorelaxing effects as well as inhibitory effects on bacterial adhesion in the urinary tract and biofilm formation.
The fruit’s main constituents are sugars, organic acids, phenolics (quercetin, cyanidin), flavonol glycosides, proanthocyanidins (procyanidin A2) and anthocyanins: cyanidin- and peonidin-3-arabinoside/galactoside.