Saliva is a PAINKILLER more potent than morphine!!


Ever wondered why dogs or cats lick their wounds or when they get hurt? You might think they’re stupid but maybe, just maybe there’s something more to it.

First let’s talk about how your body senses pain. When you stub your toe on something, your body’s pain receptors are activated which release chemicals. These chemicals carry the “pain message” and go up the spinal cord directly to your brain making you say “Ouch!” giving you a sensation of pain.


Your body has something called enkephalins found in your pituitary gland, brain, and GI tract. They are chemicals released by neurons in the central nervous system which have painkilling effects. Enkephalins activate opiate receptors that block pain signals from reaching your brain. These enkephalins are destroyed when there is a pain response for example stubbing your toe.

Now what does this have to do with the saliva in your mouth? Your saliva has something called opiorphin which is a compound that stops the break down of enkephalins. So if there’s no break down of enkephalins, the opiate receptors will stay activated, and if they stay activated, there will be no “pain signals” reaching your brain and you can stub that toe as many times as you want without feeling anything.

The team from the Pasteur Institute in Paris, France, led by Catherine Rougeot conducted an experiment where some lab rats where injected with opiorphin and some with morphine and then made to walk over upended needles(the needles were not sharp enough to cut the rats….in case you were wondering). They found that the rats needed 6 times more morphine than opiorphin to render them oblivious to the pain of standing on upended needle points. SIX TIMES! That’s a whole lot of morphine.

Not to mention morphine is an addictive drug and opiorphin isn’t. Besides pain killing, opiorphin may also have anti-depressing effects. It’s also not a very complex compound which means it could be synthesized in the lab.


Though opiorphin is still under testing and more research is being conducted, it looks like a promising solution to replace morphine or other pain killers.

Now just because your saliva has a painkilling substance, that does not mean you go spitting on every wound you get. Remember that opiorphin is ISOLATED from your spit and then used. Your saliva and mouth have plenty of other things like germs in them that could make the wound worse. But if you don’t have a choice, SPIT AWAY!!

Any other topic you’d like to discuss? Ask it in the comments:)

Your Science Owl


References (Thanks you’ll):

5 senses? Nope! MYTH BUSTED


The five senses we’re all familiar with are sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing. But is that all? Surely 200,000 years of evolution could’ve done better than that. And it did. Let’s break it down.

What’s a “sense“? A perception or a feeling that your body feels and is aware of because of an external stimulus. In other words, you eat a sugar cube and your tongue gets a ‘sensation’  of sweetness, which is called taste. If I hold your hand you’ll know I am because you can ‘feel’ my skin against yours, aka touch.

That explains sight, smell and hearing too. But what about the ‘feeling’ or ‘sensation’ you get when you’ve been walking for an hour on a hot sunny day? Thirst. It fits into the definition perfectly. So does the feeling of knowing that the flame of a candle is hot, or snow is cold without touching it aka Thermoception. This is just the start. Humans have more than a dozen senses!

By Hannah Manierka

When somebody pinches you, nociception or pain. When you’ve been sitting for hours without a bite, hunger. Even the itch that you get.  All senses.

A more interesting one is Equilibrioception, the sense of balance, it’s why you can stand up right and walk without falling over, the sense that you kind of lose when you’ve had a little too much alcohol. Or when you throw up the little too much alcohol, Chemoreceptor Trigger Zone, another sense. Chronoception is a sense that is still not clearly understood, the perception or our knowing of the passage of time, which is a relative sense, like sitting in a boring lecture that seems to last for eternity or a long conversation on the phone that felt like 5 mins but turned out to be half an hour.

My favorite is the sense Proprioception. Close your eyes and touch your nose, then your bellybutton. You can right? Since your eyes were closed, how did you know where your nose or bellybutton was without seeing them? This sense and awareness of where your body parts are is called Proprioception.


When you’re inebriated(drunk), your senses go down a notch and tasks like touching your nose or walking in a straight line become harder to perform. Tests like these are exactly what the police use to check your level of intoxication. Now you know what they mean when they say “are you in your senses?”

So yes, we have more than 5 senses.

Any other topic you’d like to discuss? Ask it in the comments:)

Your Science Owl Sources: Wikipedia ttp://

Your Science Owl

Hi there!

Think Science is too hard? Read a “fact” on the internet that you think is a hoax? Your Science Owl is all about simplifying science and De-busting urban myths and the most important of all, it’s fun.

Anything you read and couldn’t understand related to science? Ask away!