Widespread Tannin Intake Via Stimulants and Masticatories, Especially Guaraná, Kola Nut, Betel Vine, and Accessories

  • Julia F. Morton
Part of the Basic Life Sciences book series (BLSC, volume 59)


Tannins are increasingly recognized as dietary carcinogens and as anti-nutrients 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 guarané (Paullinia cupana HBK.) from Brazil, kola nut (Colanitida 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 betle L.) chewed with it. In addition to the constant recreational/social ingestion of these plant materials, they are much consumed as aphrodisiacs and medications. Guarané 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.


Esophageal Cancer Tannin Content Betel Quid Indian Farming Parotid Gland Tumor 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julia F. Morton
    • 1
  1. 1.Morton CollectaneaUniversity of MiamiCoral GablesUSA

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