Tea, tannins, & bee stings Where oh where to put this post? I was researching how to tan my salmon skin using tannic acid from natural sources, when I ran across this fascinating tidbit. Tannins also help on bee stings and poison oak!
"Tannin is a large, astringent (meaning it tightens pores and draws liquids out), molecule found in plants that bonds readily with proteins. When you apply tannins to your skin you can instantly see the skin contract. Put them in your mouth and your cheeks pucker. Medicinally, tannins are used to draw irritants out of your skin such as the venom from bee stings or poison oak. Next time you get stung, pull some fresh bark off the twig of a nearby tree, chew it up and apply it to the sting. The irritation will go away within seconds. Tannins are also applied to burns to help the healing and to cuts to reduce bleeding. Another every day interaction with tannin is in tea (from the tea plant....not herb teas). The tradition of adding milk to tea has the added benefit of causing the tannins to bind to the proteins in the milk rather than to the proteins in your liver and kidneys. When you drink tea without milk, you are literally tanning your insides. Tannins occur in nearly every plant from all over the world, in all climates. It is found in almost any part of the plant, from root to leaves, bark to unripe fruit (ever bitten into an unripe persimmon?). Algae, fungi and mosses do not contain much tannin. Many plants don't contain a useful amount of tannin. Most trees contain plenty of tannin. It is concentrated in the bark layer where it forms a barrier against microorganisms such as fungi and bacteria (when hides are stuck into tannin baths the bacteria are also killed)." www.braintan.com/barktan/2tannins.htm