Scientists have found that histatin, a substance found in human saliva, has great potential for speeding wound healing. What’s more, it can be mass produced, and is inexpensive.
Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal Gerald Weismann, MD says, “This study not only answers the biological question of why animals lick their wounds, but 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.”
Chronic wounds can be complex to treat. The result is expensive medications, creams, and burdensome wound care devices that still take much time to promote healing, especially for diabetics, elders, burn victims, and immunosuppressed individuals. In the meantime, quality of life declines, and complications develop from inactivity, pain and financial woes. First author of the report, Menno Oudhoff, says he hopes the findings can benefit “people who suffer from non-healing wounds, such as foot ulcers and diabetic ulcers, as well as for treatment of trauma-induced wounds like burns.”
The researchers found out about the healing benefits of saliva by culturing epithelial cells lining the inside of the cheek. They completely covered the inside of the culture dishes. Next, they scratched the cells, creating an artificial type wound. In one dish, they added an isotonic solution, in the other saliva. After sixteen hours, they noticed that the wound created in the dish bathed in saliva was nearly healed. They then fractionated human saliva to find out which substance is responsible, using high-performance liquid chromotography (HPLC) separation; isolating histatin 1 and histatin 2. They found that the substances were the “major wound-closing factors in human saliva”.
Histatin was previously noted only for its anti-fungal properties – now research has uncovered a novel mechanism for wound care- an inexpensive, and previously scientifically unproven natural method of healing. The study is due for final publication, November, 2008, in the FASEB (Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology) Journal.
I guess mother(and Fido)knew what they were doing all along.