Since the dawn of our species, humans have used animals for medicinal purposes. This practice originated from the implementation of meat into our diet around 2.5 million years ago. Subsequently, this developed with the recycling of animal products for practical uses.
The earliest examples of ingenious uses of animal products stem from ancient civilisations. Up to 6000 years ago, ancient Egyptians employed a cornucopia of animal and plant matter to cure common ailments. Depictions and writings enable us to deduce what was exploited and how it was administered.
So why the history lesson?
A team of scientists from Harvard’s Wyss Institute has discovered a “bio-glue“, produced by the Dusky Arion slug. This slimy garden creature, an enemy to most horticulturists, is common in Northern Europe. The slime it produces is special. It forms a glue which can stick natural surfaces to one another, even if they are wet. This allows the sticky substance to be used inside the body as well as on the surface. Not only is it a quick treatment, taking only three minutes to adhere; but it’s strong too, after thirty minutes the glue is as strong as cartilage.
Doctors are extremely excited about the application of the Dusky Arion’s slimy bi-product. The Harvard team have demonstrated a few uses by closing a hole in a pig’s heart and stemming a bleed from a rat’s liver. It can be used to close both superficial and deep wounds. Other explorations of the material include adhering medical devices, such as pacemakers, within the body. With such a broad range of potential uses, Dusky Arion Slugs are going to be in huge demand.
So next time you see a slug eating your cabbage, don’t think of the horrible things you could do to it, think of the great things it could do for you.
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Any opinions above are the author’s alone and may not represent those of his/her affiliations. Any comment is based on the best available evidence at the time of writing. All data is based on externally validated studies unless expressed otherwise. Novel data is representative of the sample surveyed. An online recommendation is no substitute for seeing your own doctor and should not be taken as medical advice. Article edited for publication by Dr Hannah Arnstein
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