Licking Your Wounds May Help Them Heal Faster
Scientists have discovered a compound found in human saliva that can heal wounds quickly.
The Netherland scientists published this research in The FASEB Journal and believe that their studies will be able to help people suffering from chronic wounds related to diabetes and other disorders, in addition to traumatic injuries and burns.
Fortunately, the compounds can be mass-produced and could become as common as antibiotic creams and rubbing alcohol.
The scientists found that histatin was responsible for the healing. This small protein was previously believed to only kill bacteria.
In conducting their study, researchers used epithelial cells that line the inner cheek, and cultured in dishes until the surfaces were completely covered with cells. An artificial wound in the cell layer was made in each dish and this was done by scratching away a small piece of the cells. One dish contained cells that were soaking in isotonic fluid without any additions and the other dish contained cells saturated in human saliva.
After 16 hours the researchers noticed that the "wound" in the saliva treated dish was almost completely closed. The other dish contained a "wound" that was still mostly open.
"This study not only answers the biological question of why animals lick their wounds," said Gerald Weissmann, MD, Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal, "it also explains why wounds in the mouth, like those of a tooth extraction, heal much faster than comparable wounds of the skin and bone. It also directs us to begin looking at saliva as a source for new drugs."
Source: The FASEB Journal