Medicinal Properties and Uses of Tannins

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Chapter: Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry : Drugs Containing Tannins

Tannins occur in crude drugs either as major active constituent as in oak bark, hammamelis leaves, and bearberry leaves, etc. or as a subsidiary component as in clove, cinnamon, peppermint, or garden sage.


MEDICINAL PROPERTIES AND USES

 

 

Tannins occur in crude drugs either as major active constituent as in oak bark, hammamelis leaves, and bearberry leaves, etc. or as a subsidiary component as in clove, cinnamon, peppermint, or garden sage. In many cases, they    synergistically increase the effectiveness of active principles. Tannins are medicinally significant due to their astringent properties. They promote rapid healing and the formation of new tissues on wounds and inflamed mucosa. Tannins are used in the treatment of varicose ulcers, haemorrhoids, minor burns, frostbite, as well as inflammation of gums. Internally tannins are administered in cases of diarrhoea, intestinal catarrh, and in cases of heavy metal poisoning as an antidote. In recent years, these compounds have demonstrated their antiviral activities for treatment of viral diseases including AIDS. Tannins are used as mordant in dyeing, manufacture of ink, sizing paper and silk, and for printing fabrics. It is used along with gelatine and albumin for manufacture of imitation horn and tortoise shell. They are widely used in the leather industry for conversion of hide into leather, the process being known as tanning. Tannins are also used for clarifying beer or wine, in photography or as a coagulant in rubber manufacture. Tannins are used for the manufacture of gallic acid and pyrogallol, and sometimes as a reagent in analytical chemistry.

 

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