In 1906, the English researcher Sir Henry Dale discovered a substance in the pituitary gland that could speed up the birthing process. He named it oxytocin from the Greek words for “quick” and “child labor”. Later, he found that it also promoted the expulsion of breast milk. Now it appears that oxytocin plays a much larger physiological role than previously recognized, since under many circumstances, it has the ability to produce the effects that we associate with the state of calm and connection (Moberg 2003).
What is it Useful For?
In the article Central nervous system actions of oxytocin and modulation of behavior in humans, published in Molecular Medicine Today, June 1997, researcher Margaret McCarthy pointed out, “A continuous stress response can ultimately be deleterious and reducing the reaction under appropriate circumstances has substantial advantages.”