P told me early this morning in response to reading my blogpost from yesterday that when he was around 12 years old he went to the drugstore
with his friend and they bought a bottle of tannic acid to use for
boosting their feeble suntans. I couldn't believe it! I had never heard of such a thing, and I thought I knew all possible ways that kids in the 60s improved their pasty white skin. So I got carried away with thinking about and researching tannins today. All the objects on this page contain tannins: a corn chip, a hazel nut, an autumn oak leaf, and blueberries. There are so many more. Tannins are everywhere and used for more things than you would ever imagine. We all know they're used to preserve and waterproof leather. But just what is it about them that makes them good for preserving leather AND curing cold sores and making ink and curing rashes and hemorrhoids and also having antibiotic properties?
I can't begin to tell it all here, so go to Cornell University's tannin page . Here you'll find more than you ever wanted to know about tannins, and you'll have a new appreciation for how much smarter nature is than we are.