Barbatimão has healing action and can act against candidiasis
Barbatimão is a species native to Brazilian savannas, present in the Southeast and Central West regions. Its scientific name is Stryphnodendron adstringens (Mart) Coville. From the plant the wood is extracted, of reddish core, considered resistant and durable, whereas of the bark one produces red dye matter, destined in the tanning of the leather. This plant is also used in folk medicine because of the presence of pharmacologically active compounds and their potential health benefits. The most used part of barbatimão is the bark, from which can be made the tea by the process of decoction.
Nutrients of barbatimão
In the chemical composition of the barbatimão are observed high levels of tannins, especially in the bark. Tannins are water-soluble phenolic substances that in plants have a biological role in defense against the attack of animals and microorganisms.
The barbatimão also has flavonoids in smaller amounts. Flavonoids are compounds with high antioxidant potential that act as protectors of the cells and their DNA against oxidative damage generated by free radicals.
Benefits in the study of barbatimão
Healing action: The tannins found in barbatimão can act positively in wound healing through mechanisms such as the anti-inflammatory effect by vasoconstriction of the capillaries (vessels decrease in size) thereby decreasing blood flow.
In parallel, tannins are able to form a kind of protective layer on tissues damaged by tannin complexation with components such as proteins and polysaccharides, thus preventing the development of microorganisms, such as bacteria, in the affected area.
Tannins may also promote blood vessel formation, in addition to reepithelialization and activation of myofibroblasts, cells involved in the tissue healing process, contributing to the repair of injuries. The leaves of barbatimão can be used as compresses in the healing process in cases of cuts and lesions.
Allied against candidiasis: The barbatimão may have an antifungal action. Some studies suggest that it inhibits the growth of Candida albicans, a fungus that causes candidiasis, which can affect both the oral cavity and the vaginal region, generating candidiasis symptoms. This is due to the action of tannins on the integrity of the cell wall of the yeast, affecting and inhibiting its growth in the body.
Allied gums and teeth: Some studies suggest the use of barbatimão bark extract, of antibacterial activity, as an aid in the control of dental caries and gingivitis.
Action against disease and Chagas: Evaluation of the action of alcoholic extract of barbatimão bark on Trypanosoma cruzi parasitemia, an etiologic agent of Chagas' disease, demonstrated that the extracts significantly interfered in the reduction in the number of the parasite in the blood, suggesting another possible beneficial effect of the biologically active compounds of barbatimão.
Age against gastritis: Some studies have evaluated the alcoholic extracts obtained by the barbatimão bark and observed that they cause less gastric acidity, due to the possible anti-secretory effect of hydrochloric acid. Thus, it is possible that the plant has beneficial action against ulcers and in the inflammation of the gastric mucosa, observed in gastritis.
Good against sore throats: Due to the antiseptic properties found mainly in the bark, barbatimão may contribute to the treatment and relief of sore throats.
There is no recommendation on the maximum amount of barbatimão that can be ingested. However, for adults in general, it is advised to consume between one and three cups of barbatimão tea.
How to consume barbatimão
Barbatimão can be used externally, but its higher consumption is like tea. Tea can be made as follows: Use the amount of 2 tablespoons (20g) of the barbatimão bark (previously sanitized and dried) for each liter of filtered water, simmering for about 10 minutes. After this time, remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. After barking, barbatim tea will be ready for consumption.
Due to lack of evidence regarding its safety in consumption, barbatimão is not indicated for pregnant women due to the potential abortifacient effect. In addition, barbatimão seeds and pods can cause severe mucosal irritations along the gastrointestinal tract, depending on the concentration, due to their toxicity.
Despite benefiting in some aspects, barbatimão can be nutritionally undesirable due to some of its components, such as tannins, which in excess can easily complex to metallic ions, causing, for example, the reduction of iron absorption. Thus, it is contraindicated to people with malabsorption and deficiency of this nutrient.
Risks of overconsumption
Excessive barbatim can lead to iron absorption problems in the body.
According to papers presented at the 30th World Congress on Chestnuts and Dried Fruits , in May this year, consumption of dried fruit is a good alternative to achieve the recommended intake of fruit in a balanced diet. The researchers at the event stated that dehydrated fruits such as apricot, apple, date, fig, raisin and plum should be put side by side with fresh fruit by dieting formulators.
But the question to be debated is whether their use in extra doses, sometimes even exaggerated, may bring some more protection for our organism, leading to to a healthier longevity. First, I think it is important to differentiate the concepts of supplementary, supplemental and megadoses of vitamins and minerals.