21 July 2007
When I was a kid -- as kids will do -- I used to get thirsty occasionally and I'd say to my ma, "Hey Ma, how about a drink? I'm parched over here."
To which her universal reply would be: "Swallow your spit."
Gets me thinking on a warm day like this. After all, saliva is 98% water! I mean, why go thirsty when you could just as easily carry around a cup as a spittoon?
But there is one nutritional aspect to saliva that hardly anyone finds gross, and it has to do with the production of the bee-world's gift to humanity: honey.
Bees, of course, take nectar from the plant. This is the sweetest part of the plant's natural juices -- which is why it finds itself in the bright bloomed flowers. Bees then take the nectar home and make honeycombs, right?
Well, not exactly.
First, the bee has to put the nectar in a form which is easy to move back to the honey factory. How does he do this?
He mixes it with his own saliva.
So there you go. Next time you pour honey in your tea, just remember those bees and their spit.
Guess mom wasn't that far off.
Here's a brief and more scientific description.