Saliva accelerates wound healing

Who doesn’t know it from the past: “Will mommy give it a kiss?”. Comforting words from your mother, and that one special kiss that made the pain disappear like snow in the sun. Although you later realized that it was a fairy tale, there appears to be some truth in it. Saliva appears to significantly accelerate the healing of a wound. A component in saliva, histatine, ensures faster wound healing than treating a wound without using saliva. This was the experience of biological researchers who published their findings in the FASEB (Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology) Journal.

Nothing new under the sun

The following passage from Mark 8: 22-26 from the Bible already discusses the healing effect of saliva:

22 They came to Bethsaida. A blind man was brought to him, and they begged him to touch the man. 23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. He put some saliva on his eyes, put his hands on them and asked, “Do you see anything?” 24 He saw again and said, “I see people, they are like trees, but they are walking around.” 25 Then he laid his hands on the blind man’s eyes again. He opened his eyes and was healed; he saw everything very clearly now. 26 He sent him home with a warning: ‘Do not enter the village!’


Animal friends

Our animal friends also seem to know the usefulness of saliva on wounds. When they have a wound, they regularly lick this spot.

The usefulness of saliva

Saliva has three very useful functions:

  • Nutrition : Digestion and taste
  • Mouth protection : Buffering effect, lubrication, remineralization
  • Anti-microbial : Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral


What makes saliva healing?

Our saliva is produced by the salivary glands in the mouth. The saliva consists of mucus, various enzymes, proteins, water, electrolytes and antibodies. Saliva is produced, among other things, to keep the mouth moist. More saliva is produced when we eat food to lubricate it a little more. Saliva helps protect us against bad outside influences. Saliva contains antibacterial ingredients .


Histatin is an antimicrobial peptide in saliva. Histatin works as an antibacterial agent by creating holes in the cell membrane of a bacterium . There are already mouthwashes on the market that contain histatins. However
, studies with histatin in an anti- AIDS drug showed that 3 of the 4 types of histatin tested actually promoted the transmission of HIV, because the cell membrane of healthy cells became more permeable. In 2007
, Faber conducted research into the effect of histatine as an antibiotic. He discovered that administering a processed form of histatin has a hemolytic effect , that is, tends to destroy red blood cells.

Does histatin have a future?

I think that histatine can certainly have a future when its exact effect is investigated more analytically. At first glance, histatin appears to promote wound healing, but there are also studies that point to the potential dangers of histatine when it is not regulated by the body itself but is administered externally. Moreover, this research was done with components from saliva, and not the entire saliva. I therefore find it strange to say that saliva has a wound healing effect.

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