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Tannins and health
The beneficial properties of natural extracts
Tannins are essentials constituents in the physiology of many plants, protecting them from harmful physical and biological events. Tannins also have important nutraceutical properties: they are bioactive substances capable of producing beneficial effects in the body if they are ingested in the diet for long periods of time.
This characteristic mainly applies to condensed tannins, composed of flavonoids especially abundant in tea, grapes, barley, fruits of the forest and the sorghum (Dixon et al., 2005), and of course, the plants from which the extracts are normally produced such as chestnut, quebracho, Tara, mimosa and others.
Tannins are molecules useful for the human health because of their antioxidant properties (Bagchi et al., 1998). They have the capacity to protect the tissues from the action of free radicals due to the cellular aging processes.
They have also demonstrated anticancer properties, being able, under certain conditions, to inhibit the growth of cancer cells (Ye et al., 1999). Diverse studies have researched their function as protecting agents in the urinary tract and the cardiovascular and immune system.
Tannins are used in cosmetics for anti aging skin care and to combat hair loss, whereas another pharmacological use is related to their capacity to maximise sexual performance.