Heal thyself

Published: Wednesday 31 December 1997

Licking promotes wound healing, say Nigel Benjamin and his colleagues of Clinical Pharmacology Department at the Royal London School of Medicine and Dentistry, London, UK. Saliva contains anti-microbial substances and concentrated nitrate that are converted to nitrite by bacteria present on the tongue. As the surface of the skin is acidic, the salivary nitrite in contact with skin is converted to nitric oxide that contributes to the anti-microbial effects of wound licking. Saliva also contains regulatory peptides that are considered important in wound repair ( The Lancet , Vol 349, No 9067).

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