Shopping Cart

No products in the cart.

Reply To: Introduction to Herbal Medicine

Home Forums Online Herbalism Programs Introduction to Herbal Medicine Reply To: Introduction to Herbal Medicine


Hi Candace,

This is referring specifically to tanning hides, but a very similar action happens to not only living human skin but to our mucous membranes in the mouth and through the digestive system as well. For example, if you take a raspberry or blackberry leaf, nibble a little bit, and pay attention to the sensation in your mouth (gums, tongue, throat) it will likely feel dry and maybe a little bit ‘puckered’ or ‘tight’. This is that astringent quality, that binds proteins and tones the mucous membranes and skin. Another simple example is rose water or rose hydrosol that is used as a ‘toner’ on facial skin. The action here is the same, it helps very gently tone the skin and reduce inflammation.

It is important to understand that different plants have varying levels of tannins and therefore varying levels of strength in this action (Rose is quite gentle and Oak is very astringent). This can be a very beneficial action for toning, and sometimes soothing skin and mucous membranes or healing up wounds or ulcers but if tannic plants are consumed often or at high doses it can start to impede on nutrient, mineral and water absorption in the digestive system. This is one of the reasons why it is best to take iron supplements away from black tea for example.

I recommend, trying a few different plants with tannins in them, just nibble them a bit and have that organoleptic experience.

Hope you have fun and this clarifies tannins a little bit!
With warmth,