The Loh Down On Science

Healing Drool

A new compound that speeds healing has been found in human spit.

And the latest in wound treatment is. . . SPIT??

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science

Saying indeed. Researchers at the Vriju Medical Center in Amsterdam have identified a compound in human saliva that speeds up wound healing.

The scientists took epithelial cells that line the inner cheek, and grew them in Petri dishes. Then they scratched off a bit of the cells in each dish, to make artificial wounds.

They bathed one Petri dish in a neutral solution, the other in human spit. After sixteen hours, the wound bathed in spit had almost completely closed!

The other wound? Still a gaping, Petri dish sore.

Turns out the chemical compound histatin [HISS-ta-tin] is responsible for the healing touch.

Spit scientists already knew about histatin, but they only thought it was around to kill bacteria.

Because it can easily be mass-produced, the researchers say histatin could lead to medications for burn victims and other injured people.

In short, there might actually be something to "licking your wounds." Or even other people's! Just trying to help.

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