Most people experience five taste senses; sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and savory. The sense of taste for bitter could have been developed to warn humans of poisonous or rancid foods. However, it may also have another effect on a completely different part of the human body; the lungs.
Humans with asthma have to deal with bronco dilation, when their airways contract and make it very hard for them to breathe. Inhalers with medicine usually do the trick in relaxing the muscles, but now scientists have found that bitter tasting substances also help in relaxing the contracted muscles in the lungs. The receptors on the plasma membrane of the cells, when they receive the bitter substances, close the calcium channels, thus allowing for the cell and muscles to relax.
This could lead to more natural remedies for asthma; instead of manufactured medicines, they could use extracts from bitter melon or other bitter vegetables and fruits.
Written by Sonia Chakladar