Placing a Chinese red headed centipede on a burn can speed up the healing process, according to ancient Chinese medicine. But a mouse study published today suggests that what the Chinese interpreted as a healing effect may in fact have been the handiwork of a pain-inhibiting peptide contained within this centipede’s venom, which kills insects but is harmless in humans. The results indicate that the peptide, called m-SLPTX-Ssm6a, is a powerful analgesic that, in some cases, surpasses the effect of morphine. Given its apparent lack of side effects, Ssm6a is seen by scientists as an attractive candidate drug compound that might prove suitable for treating chronic pain.
Via SustainOurEarth, Rowena ButedHIST1014