The first thing a mother does when her child hurts themselves is respond by “let me kiss it better”. It is thought that the term “kiss it better” dates back to applying saliva to wounds for healing, although we might recoil at the thought!
Today, scientists from the Netherlands have published reports confirming that saliva is indeed a healing agent and is perhaps the world’s oldest natural remedy. Saliva contains a chemical that aids in the speedy healing of wounds and eye infections (dare to try it!) Have you ever considered what you do when you cut your finger – you put it in your mouth!! We also do this immediately if we burn ourselves. Our intuition prompts this reflex action. Perhaps this may explain why animals lick their wounds instinctively. And even though the mouth is full of bacteria, wounds heal much more quickly there than in other areas of the body.
I hesitate to mention this, however it was intuitively done and worked a treat. During my child rearing years I regularly chewed almonds to a pulp to feed to our young babies – as adults now, they always appreciate this story (not)! This goes one further than using mothers “spit” to clean the face with! We need the enzymes in saliva to help break down and digest food, so the longer it remains in the mouth the happier your stomach will be!
Saliva has also been discovered to contain many proteins with antibodies, that work against infection. A protein called lysozyme can actually break down bacteria, and neutralize it. Some salivary proteins have even been found to neutralize the HIV virus.
How exciting to learn that something as common as saliva could have so many redeeming qualities! It contains antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory agents. Saliva is also a natural acid neutralizer, providing protection to the esophagus and gastrointestinal tract. And if that wasn’t enough it is also believed to be a very effective pain killer.
Probably none of us truly appreciate our saliva, until we run low on it. You may be surprised to learn that the lack of saliva can cause tooth decay and oral yeast infections. And as lowly as it may seem, nothing can truly replace saliva. Duplicating natural spit is no easy task!
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