Pharmacognosy - medicinal plants (herbs)

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Theme XII: Tannins


Tannins. Definition. Characteristics and properties

Tannis definition

Tannins are polyphenolic substances found in many plants product of secondary metabolism. Its water-soluble nature allows easy extraction and is useful in various applications in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry.

Characteristics and properties of tannins

They are of variable chemical composition, are distinguished by the common characteristic of being astringent. Are used to interfere in alkaloids and heavy metals absorption, due to its coagulant properties.


Plants containing tannins have astringent, hemostatic, antiseptic and toning properties.


The tannins have the property of coagulate proteins and mucosal tissues, by creating an insulating and protective layer that soothes irritation and pain on the skin.


Herbal preparations containing tannins are used for stop local small hemorrhages, sore mouth, bronchitis, burns, scars of the skin, wounds and many others. They are also used to contain diarrhea.


Some people with digestive difficulties may have some intolerance to tannins, so they should be administered with caution in these cases and tannin-containing plants should not be consumed for long periods since they inhibit the absorption of some vitamins and minerals.


These properties of precipitating the complex compounds are used in industry for the production of wines, beers, for tanning leather, making dyes and as a mordant in the textile industry.


Tannins are considered antioxidants and prevent the onset of degenerative diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.

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Tannins. Definition. Characteristics and properties