We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Tannic Acid?

By Felicia Dye
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
InfoBloom is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At InfoBloom, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A tannin is an astringent chemical derived from plants. Tannic acid is one type of tannin that has a fairly weak acidity. In some trees, this chemical may act as protection against pests and fires, and it is believed that humans can benefit from the antibacterial, antifungal, and antioxidant properties of the substance. It is also used for industrial purposes, such as leather production and wood staining.

This substance is usually found as a yellow, white, or light brown powder that tends to easily dissolve in water. It generally does not have a smell, but the taste is one that can cause a person to pucker.

Since it will cause constipation in humans, tannic acid can be used to treat diarrhea. It can also be used to reduce the swelling of hemorrhoids and control internal bleeding. Externally, tannin can be added to creams and salves to help combat muscle and joint problems and to help heal wounds. It may also be used for antifungal treatment of the feet, toenails, or fingernails.

People are warned not to consume large amounts of tannic acid, and it should not be consumed on a regular basis. Although it can be helpful in many ways, tannin may also have adverse effects.

One disadvantage is that it is believed to interfere with iron absorption. Iron is a mineral essential to maintaining proper human health, particularly with building strong red blood cells. Tannic acide may also have a negative effect on the digestive process. Use of this substance has been associated with severe liver and kidney damage.

These negative symptoms are associated with using the substance in its pure form or in ways that are not recommended by medical experts. People are not regarded as being at risk of adverse effects with normal usage and consumption. For example, tannins may be absorbed into wine from the oak barrels it is stored in, and are not widely believed to cause many serious side effects for most people.

Tannic acid is naturally present in some types of wood such as oak and sequoia. It is sometimes used to pretreat other types of wood that need to be stained. This substance is also commonly used to tan animal skin to produce leather, and it is often stated that tanning was the first use that humans made of it.

InfoBloom is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon969061 — On Sep 07, 2014

Do herbal teas have tannin acid?

By Ana1234 — On Sep 11, 2012

@Mor - I wonder if they ever tried to get tannins from the redwoods back in the days when they still cut them down regularly? I don't think tannic acid is used in the commercial tanning of leather these days, but back then it probably was.

Actually I think these days most tannic acid uses are medical. I know they used to use it to treat burn victims. I've also heard that you can use cold tea bags to stop bleeding in your mouth (after going to the dentist for example) because of the tannic acid in the tea.

It's one of those remedies that's pretty good as a home remedy, but in general there are other things discovered by modern technology that will do better if you get them from the doctor.

By Mor — On Sep 10, 2012

One of the things I remember from my visit to the Redwoods in California was the guide explaining that high levels of tannins in the wood of the redwoods is what keeps them from burning in forest fires.

They have forest fires often, sometimes even started deliberately, because the fires burn away all the undergrowth and fallen leaves and leave te redwoods intact (because of the tannins).

If they don't have regular fires, the undergrowth and fallen leaves build up to the point where, when they do have a fire, the fire gets so hot that the tannins aren't enough to stop it and the trees die.

By irontoenail — On Sep 09, 2012

I believe that tannic acid is the reason that some rivers and streams have a dark red or golden color rather than being colorless. They are often called "black" or "red" rivers. It happens when there are certain kinds of trees along the river and, in particular, after it's been raining, but often those rivers are red all the time.

That's possibly how people figured out that you can tan leather with tannic acid, because of the fact that it is often found in certain waters.

I also think that sometimes it's caused low iron levels in groups of people, because they drink from that stream and don't realize that the levels of acid are interfering with their ability to absorb iron.

InfoBloom, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

InfoBloom, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.