We all have those old family remedies that have been passed down from generation to generation. Lemon and honey to cure a hangover. Garlic for a quick immunity boost. Another popular homemade elixir: cranberry juice for a UTI. For many, this is thought to be an all-natural and easy at-home cure for the uncomfortable affliction. But does it actually work? According to a recent study, not really.

Wild lingonberries in the forest

Manisha Juthani-Mehta, an associate professor of medicine at Yale School of Medicine recently conducted a study in which she sought a definitive answer for the common infection. She and her team opted away from the sugary Ocean Spray drink we tend to associate with cranberry juice and instead used cranberry in capsule form, where it’s most potent.

She recruited 147 women in the study total. Half took a pill that equated to 20 oz of cranberry juice a day. The other half took a placebo pill. They did this for a whole year and had their blood and urine tested regularly for any signs of UTI bacteria over the course of the study.

Juthani-Mehta says she and her team saw no scientific evidence that proved cranberry played a crucial role in either avoiding or curing a UTI. There were 10 episodes of symptomatic UTIs reported in the group that received the cranberry pills and 12 in the group taking placebo pills.

Fall and health care

It should be noted that this study was conducted on older women in nursing homes. So the effect cranberry has on a younger person might vary slightly. And, while Juthani-Mehta doesn’t see any huge medical advantage to dosing with cranberry for UTI treatment, she says it’s not hurtful either. She told TIME, “I don’t see much downside, even if I don’t think the scientific evidence is convincing.” She just wants to be clear that it’s not worth spending big bucks on cranberry products when dealing with a UTI. If the symptoms feel severe, your money would be better spend on a doctor’s appointment.

What’s your go-to cure for a UTI? Share with us on Twitter @britandco.

(Photo via iStock)