The salivary glands are three major glands and over 600 minor glands in the human mouth that excrete saliva and amylase to aid in chewing and digestion. They are activated by the autonomic nervous system and are not under conscious control. They are activated in response to food stimuli, including smell, sight and taste.
These glands are affected by mumps (where they enlarge), Sjogren's syndrome (where they are slowly destroyed and no longer produce sufficient saliva), graft versus host disease and can be a site for cancer. There are drugs that can both increase and decrease their function, both as a therapeutic benefit and as a side effect.