Histatin: Why 'Licking Your Wounds' Actually Works
    By News Staff | July 23rd 2008 01:30 AM | 11 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    A report by scientists from The Netherlands published in The FASEB Journal identifies a compound in human saliva that greatly speeds wound healing. This research may offer hope to people suffering from chronic wounds related to diabetes and other disorders, as well as traumatic injuries and burns.

    In addition, because the compounds can be mass produced, they have the potential to become as common as antibiotic creams and rubbing alcohol.

    Specifically, scientists found that histatin, a small protein in saliva previously only believed to kill bacteria was responsible for the healing.

    To come to this conclusion, the researchers used epithelial cells that line the inner cheek, and cultured in dishes until the surfaces were completely covered with cells. Then they made an artificial wound in the cell layer in each dish, by scratching a small piece of the cells away.

    In one dish, cells were bathed in an isotonic fluid without any additions. In the other dish, cells were bathed in human saliva. After 16 hours the scientists noticed that the saliva treated "wound" was almost completely closed. In the dish with the untreated "wound," a substantial part of the "wound" was still open. This proved that human saliva contains a factor which accelerates wound closure of oral cells.

    Because saliva is a complex liquid with many components, the next step was to identify which component was responsible for wound healing. Using various techniques the researchers split the saliva into its individual components, tested each in their wound model, and finally determined that histatin was responsible.

    "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.


    "Histatin: Why 'Licking Your Wounds' Actually Works"

    "In addition, because the compounds can be mass produced, they have the potential to become as common as antibiotic creams and rubbing alcohol."

    Or we can just.. lick them.. I know, it doesn't create profit.

    Licking an open wound is also fun.

    Hmm that makes sense. I've always sucked on cuts and such to stop the blood from getting everywhere and my wounds always seem to heal faster than those of my friends.

    Something else that works really well is crushed macadamia nuts mixed in with peanut butter. Just smear it on! Not sure why it works.

    I wonder how long it will take before human saliva is patented and Big Pharma gets to charge us every time we swallow...

    Indeed, we all get to raise an eyebrow that someone will want to sell us, basically, artificial spit.

    If you are willing to swallow perhaps they won't charge us

    Thanks for finally spitting it out.Well Big Pharma- this is one time you cannot keep our mouths shut

    In "Hello Sucker", Harry Anderson explained licking a wound helped because the spit got into the germs eyes, then they just flailed about, running into each other all confused and blind.

    It's true!!!

    haha But the artificial one could possibly be made sanitary. Seriously.

    There is some research on the nonsanitary nature of the human spit. People get fined for spitting at public places. No??

    Also there is anectodal evidence that people can infect themselves with their own spit, e.g. orthodentic wire stab wound, on hand of the patient, getting infected in spite or because of the licking.

    Have a nice day.

    I started putting spit on wart that was on my nose.
    Worked a lot better in ridding the wart than using
    a dilute solution of acetylsalicytic acid