Top 7 things we didn’t know about saliva, this surprising liquid

Science may have evolved a lot over the last few centuries, but there are still mysteries of the human body that remain unexplained, and in particular the one that makes everyone find saliva seriously disgusting when it is a little box of superpowers. So that we definitely stop discriminating against the saliva that gets bully when she didn’t ask for anything, here is a non-exhaustive list of her incredible abilities that should help you love her. Come on, give him a kiss.

1. In our lifetime, we produce enough saliva to fill a swimming pool

If you want to build a pistoche for the summer, but your ecological conscience makes you feel guilty, no problem. Ask people around you if they have a bit of slime to lend you. Knowing that we produce 500 mL to 1.5 L of saliva per day (that’s a lot of bottles of Perrier that) and about 24,000 L in a lifetime, you should quickly be able to fill your pool. Otherwise, start now to collect your family’s saliva, so that when you die, there will be enough drool for your descendants.

2. Saliva is a great healing tool

We already suspected it, saliva has a good antiseptic power, very practical for when you get a small cut (well, don’t lick your calf if you have an open fracture of the tibia). But thanks to the study of researchers from the University of Lund, Sweden, we are now sure that saliva does more than clean our wounds. The white blood cells contained inside our saliva eliminate bacterial invasion and help in wound healing. All the more reason not to be ashamed of drooling on it when you fall asleep on the train.

Next time you wake up with a puddle of drool on your pillow, don’t be disgusted: be grateful

Posted by on Saturday, January 2, 2016

3. There’s no better stain remover than saliva

Portuguese researchers have managed to show that cleaning your pumps by spitting on them was not so aberrant. Saliva contains an enzyme, alpha-amylase, which is very useful for removing stains, because this enzyme is also used during the digestion of food where it breaks down carbohydrates into starch. This enzyme is also present in laundry where it helps to remove chocolate stains, among other things. No need for tablets in your washing machine, a trickle of drool and your laundry will be spotless.

4. Flies cool off with their saliva

I’m not saying we should all start drooling to fight the heat wave. But frankly, taking inspiration from flies wouldn’t be so crazy. These little creatures, to cool off, squeeze drops of saliva out of their mouths before sucking them in again. With evaporation, the liquid cools and the fly’s body temperature drops when it swallows it. So please let’s normalize drooling in public, it’s just to stay fresh.

5. Our saliva contains a molecule similar to morphine

In 2006, Catherine Rougeot, a guest researcher from the Institut Pasteur, and her team discovered that our saliva contained a painkiller molecule very similar to morphine: opiorphin. After a few clinical trials, they realized that in addition to not causing side effects or addiction, this molecule was even more powerful than morphine. While it would take 3 to 6 mg of morphine per pound to relieve pain, it would only take one milligram of opiorphin per pound. In short, if you see someone who has just fallen off a bicycle, go spit on them to help them have less pain.

6. Without saliva, we would not be able to taste

Saliva is multitasking, but we must admit that it serves us above all for one thing on a daily basis: to make us feel the taste of what we eat. In addition to helping us not to choke by clumping food together thanks to its viscous side, saliva helps “awaken” the taste buds of the tongue, which only work in a liquid medium. Which explains why everything tastes less when you have a dry mouth and a hangover.

7. Lots of animals also have antiseptic saliva

So yes, cats lick themselves both to clean themselves and to treat their scratches. But imagine that other animals, such as giraffes, have an ultra-powerful saliva: the saliva of the giraffe is for example antiseptic to protect it from the thorns of the acacia, its favorite tree in terms of meals.

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