New research shows that humans are actually able to taste what they smell – they have taste buds in their lungs. With our taste buds in lungs, we are able to taste bitter things just like we do with our tongues. However, these taste receptors do not send any signals to the brain, which is why most tastes are unidentified when we are inhaling the air. Also, the taste buds in our lungs are present in clusters, unlike the tongue.
This recent research has led scientists to believe that they could cure asthma with more improved drugs. This is because the bitter tasting drugs in the lungs open up more airways than the current drugs actually do. Scientists at the Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore specifically detected that unlike the taste buds in our tongue, the taste buds in our lungs are not able to detect salty, sour or savory tastes. They are only able to detect bitter tastes and this bitter taste opens up more airways when it is detected.
The airways allow the pathways in our lungs to open up more for the passage of air. In Asthmatic patients, the smooth muscles in the airways tighten, which restricts the flow of oxygen into their system. Using this bitter taste method, the functioning could be improved to give them more oxygen. This means we could find a cure for asthma after all. This is what the scientists are hoping for.
Initially the doctors thought that the bitter tasting compounds would cause coughing and chest tightening. However, they were shocked to see that the results were opposite. However, eating bitter tasting food doesn’t do the trick, you have to inhale it. Also, calcium has shown similar effects.