The adjective astringent makes it possible to qualify what causes a sensation on the tongue that combines bitterness and the dryness. The concept is often applied also with reference to medicines and foods that astringen: that is constipate (make it difficult to pass stool) or that tighten the tissues.
It is called astringency to the condition of astringent. There are substances that have this property and that are applied on the skin in order to roll back the tissue; They are useful to combat bleeding and inflammation, and help with the process of cicatrization. Alcohols, tannins, and bismuth salts are some of the best-known astringents.
Tannins are compounds whose properties are suitable for the coagulation of the proteins present in our skin: they generate a dry layer in the digestive mucosa that provides the necessary protection against external agents, while disinfecting it by coagulating bacterial proteins.
The tannin content of fruits begins to decrease the longer they are left to mature, and the same happens when cooking them. A very common example of this change can be seen when comparing the astringent taste of a raw apple with that of a baked one.
In addition to promoting skin healing, foods rich in tannins stop bleeding, are antibacterial and antioxidant. Some of the most beneficial astringent foods are as follows:
* acerola: it is a particularly astringent fruit, with a contents in tannins ranging from 20 to 25 percent. On the other hand, it is also among the largest natural sources of vitamin C (for reference, the orange has fifty times less);
* carob: it is a tree whose fruit is especially recommended to stop the processes of diarrhea;
* blueberries: the antimicrobial properties of this fruit help fight intestinal infections, and perfectly complement its astringent effect;
* shepherd’s bag: This plant is used with great success in the treatment external hemorrhoids;
* persimmon: a fruit that contains mucilage, very useful in softening the intestinal mucous membranes. It is used to treat ailments and sores in the inner part of the mouth, as well as to cure gastritis;
* fake pepper shaker: the crust of this tree it is used externally for skin care;
* raspberry: with its leaves it is possible to make mouthwashes, antiseptics and anti-inflammatory for the skin;
* bearberry: also known as bear grape, and it is a natural astringent product that many take advantage of for wound healing;
* grenade: among the uses of this fruit are the treatments against inflammation of the stomach and intestines, intestinal worms and gastritis.
As for the astringent flavors, can be found in fruit, infusions Y wines. In the case of red wine, the presence of tannins makes it an astringent drink, a characteristic especially evident in the strongest wines (which are those with a higher amount of tannins).
The difference in astringency between red wines and white wines is due to the characteristics of the production process that each one goes through. The grapeIn white wine, it is harvested when it reaches a certain maturity and is separated from its sticks. For this reason, the tannins are sweet. When the toothpicks are not properly separated, the tannins become bitter and more astringent.
The process of making red wine, for its part, involves mixing the pulp, skins and seeds with the must, making the tannins give it the Colour characteristic and the usual astringent taste.