Tannins are an astringent polyphenolic component found in a variety of plants such as aloe, geranium, rhubarb, chinaberry, St John’s wort, Echinacea, and astragalus.
Links to Plants Containing Tannins
The listings of research below represents a compilation of scientific articles found on the topic, with a very brief overview description of each article/study. This compilation of research articles does not necessarily imply that there are adequate results to demonstrate safe and/or effective human use of any herb listed.
- Studying aloe components in vitro, antioxidant activity was correlated with phenolic content and anti-inflammatory activity was associated with catechin tannins compounds. From: Kammoun, M., Miladi, S., Ali, Y. B., Damak, M., Gargouri, Y., & Bezzine, S. (2011). In vitro study of the PLA2 inhibition and antioxidant activities of Aloe vera leaf skin extracts. Lipids in health and disease, 10(1), 30.
- This mega review discussed herbs for treating herpes infection including mints and other plants from the Lamiaceae family, tannins as found in Geranium species, Chinese rhubarb and chinaberry, and other herbs like tea tree, St. John’s wort, algae, echinacea, and astragalus. From: Abascal, K. (2005). Herbs for Treating Herpes Simplex Infections. ALTERNATIVE & COMPLEMENTARY THERAPIES.
- There was a correlation in tannin content and antioxidant activity of six tested Rumex species (yellow dock). From: Wegiera, M., Grabarczyk, P., Baraniak, B., & Smolarz, H. (2011). Antiradical properties of extracts from roots, leaves and fruits of six Rumex L. species. Acta Biologica Cracoviensia Series Botanica, 53(1), 125-131.
- Geraniin, a tannin in Geranium species, induced apoptosis of human melanoma cells. From: Lee, J. C., Tsai, C. Y., Kao, J. Y., Kao, M. C., Tsai, S. C., Chang, C. S., … & Way, T. D. (2008). Geraniin‐mediated apoptosis by cleavage of focal adhesion kinase through up‐regulation of Fas ligand expression in human melanoma cells. Molecular nutrition & food research, 52(6), 655-663
ANTI-DIARRHEA / DIGESTIVE AID
- Herbs high in tannins and flavonoids reduce diarrhea by increasing water in the colon and increasing electrolyte reabsorption. From: Palombo, E. A. (2006). Phytochemicals from traditional medicinal plants used in the treatment of diarrhoea: modes of action and effects on intestinal function. Phytotherapy Research, 20(9), 717-724.
- Infants aged 3-21 months with acute diarrhea from a bacterial or viral origin were treated with tannin rich carob pod powder and had improved results compared to the placebo. From: Loeb, H., Vandenplas, Y., Würsch, P., & Guesry, P. (1989). Tannin-rich carob pod for the treatment of acute-onset diarrhea. Journal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition, 8(4), 480.
- A product called Cesinex® whose major ingredient was tannic acid, was tested on cholera toxin-induced mice, and showed antidiarrheal properties: epithelial barrier ability, inhibited intestinal fluid secretion, and a high antioxidant capacity From: Ren, A., Zhang, W., Thomas, H. G., Barish, A., Berry, S., Kiel, J. S., & Naren, A. P. (2012). A tannic acid-based medical food, Cesinex®, exhibits broad-spectrum antidiarrheal properties: a mechanistic and clinical study. Digestive diseases and sciences, 57(1), 99-108.
- Tannic acid offers protection against Salmonella colonization by improving the mucosal resistance in rats. From: van Ampting, M. T., Schonewille, A. J., Vink, C., Brummer, R. J. M., van der Meer, R., & Bovee‐Oudenhoven, I. M. (2010). Damage to the intestinal epithelial barrier by antibiotic pretreatment of Salmonella-infected rats is lessened by dietary calcium or tannic acid. The Journal of nutrition, 140(12), 2167-2172.
- Gallic acid, the major component of Galla Chinensis (sumac), blocked the binding to reduce induced diarrhea in mice. From: Chen, J. C., Ho, T. Y., Chang, Y. S., Wu, S. L., & Hsiang, C. Y. (2006). Anti-diarrheal effect of Galla Chinensis on the Escherichia coli heat-labile enterotoxin and ganglioside interaction. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 103(3), 385-391.
- Gallic acid, a polyphenolic compound in certain plants, significantly prevented and healed induced gastric injury of gastric mucosal cells in vivo. From: Pal, C., Bindu, S., Dey, S., Alam, A., Goyal, M., Iqbal, M. S., … & Bandyopadhyay, U. (2010). Gallic acid prevents nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug-induced gastropathy in rat by blocking oxidative stress and apoptosis. Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 49(2), 258-267.
- The antioxidant activity of gallic acid and the inhibitory activity of cinnamic acid against Helicobacter pylori found in ginger rhizomes contributed to its gastroprotective ability. From: Nanjundaiah, S. M., Annaiah, H. N. M., & Dharmesh, S. M. (2011). Gastroprotective effect of ginger rhizome (Zingiber officinale) extract: role of gallic acid and cinnamic acid in H. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2011.
By: Kathy Sadowski