Wonders of Wasabi

Sushi fans know that sensation all too well—the indescribable tingle that surges through your taste buds and nose hairs when you savor wasabi. Well, the sense organ associated with that feeling might have far-reaching implications for the treatment of pain. As outlined in a paper published in the journal Nature, the wasabi receptor, or TRPA1, is a crucial molecule in the pain pathway. These receptors send distress signals to the brain when they encounter wasabi and other sharp chemical odors like tear gas and air pollution caused by fires. Researchers recently recreated the receptor’s structure—a vital advancement that allows pharmaceutical companies to better understand its mechanics. These drugs could result in fewer side effects, such as addiction, and stop chronic itch, as the wasabi molecule activates itch sensations.

Wasabi, a healthy burn

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