Author(s): Morton JF
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Abstract Tannins are increasingly recognized as dietary carcinogens and as antinutrients interfering with the system's full use of protein. Nevertheless, certain tannin-rich beverages, masticatories, and folk remedies, long utilized in African, Asiatic, Pacific, and Latin American countries, are now appearing in North American sundry shops and grocery stores. These include guarana (Paullinia cupana HBK.) from Brazil, kola nut (Cola nitida Schott & Endl. and C. acuminata Schott & Endl.) from West Africa, and betel nut (Areca catechu L.) from Malaya. The betel nut, or arecanut, has long been associated with oral and esophageal cancer because of its tannin content and the tannin contributed by the highly astringent cutch from Acacia catechu L. and Uncaria gambir Roxb. and the aromatic, astringent 'pan' (leaves of Piper betel L.) chewed with it. In addition to the constant recreational/social ingestion of these plant materials, they are much consumed as aphrodisiacs and medications. Guarana and kola nut enjoy great popularity in their native lands because they are also rich in caffeine, which serves as a stimulant. Research and popular education on the deleterious effects of excessive tannin intake could do much to reduce the heavy burden of early mortality and health care, especially in developing countries.
This article was published in Basic Life Sci
and referenced in Journal of Sleep Disorders & Therapy