There are many amazing things about the body that most people don’t know. Take, for instance, the fact that there are more bacteria in our bodies than there are human cells. Most people think of the heart as just a muscle that pumps blood, but in reality, it also produces hormones like a gland as well.
Most also think that the tonsils and the appendix are useless. But they both serve a function. The appendix played a huge role back in prehistoric times when it was essentially a filter that took poisons out of the digestive tract. The tonsils play a role in the immune system. They are like the appendix was by removing infection out of the bloodstream.
Until not too long ago, most people did not know that good oral health had something to do with your heart being healthy. Inflammation in your mouth can cause inflammation in your arteries and that can scar them and cause plaques to form. These can lead to a heart attack.
Now we learn that the lungs have taste receptors. That’s right, taste receptors. I’ve always known that smell plays an important role in taste, but the lungs? No way.
According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch: “The ability to taste isn’t limited to the mouth, and researchers say that discovery might one day lead to better treatments for diseases such as asthma. It turns out that receptors for bitter tastes are also found in the smooth muscles of the lungs and airways”
Bitter tastes cause these muscles to relax, which might in turn help the asthma. Maybe that’s why an extremely bitter substance like Wormwood, which is used to make the alcoholic drink Absinthe, can have an immediate cloying effect on the lungs.
Originally, it was thought that the hereditary reason for having taste receptors in the lungs may be because many plants and animals that are poisonous produce a bitter taste when you encounter them or taste them. That taste may produce a “flight or fight” response in humans.
But after further research, this turned out to be a false assumption. Instead the bitter tastes caused the muscles in the lungs to relax. The bitter tastes actually opened up the airways much better than any other drug that is currently on the market to treat asthma.
Bitter taste is the only taste that the lung receptors can detect. They cannot detect salty, sweet, or sour tastes like the tongue. And also unlike the tongue, the lungs do not send signals to the brain, they just react to the bitter taste by relaxing.