This review of the current literature aims to study correlations between the chemical structure and gastric anti-ulcer activity of tannins. Tannins are used in medicine primarily because of their astringent properties. These properties are due to the fact that tannins react with the tissue proteins with which they come into contact. In gastric ulcers, this tannin-protein complex layer protects the stomach by promoting greater resistance to chemical and mechanical injury or irritation. Moreover, in several experimental models of gastric ulcer, tannins have been shown to present antioxidant activity, promote tissue repair, exhibit anti Helicobacter pylori effects, and they are involved in gastrointestinal tract anti-inflammatory processes. The presence of tannins explains the anti-ulcer effects of many natural products.
Keywords: Helicobacter pylori; antiulcer activity; gastric ulcer; natural products; tannins.