In order to fully understand the meaning of the term gland, it is necessary, first of all, to know its etymological origin. In this case, we can establish that it derives from Latin, specifically from “glandula”, which comes to be the diminutive of “glans, glandis” which means “acorn”.
This is what a organ dedicated to secrete some kind of substance that is useful for the body.
The secretion of the glands can be expelled through the mucous membranes or the skin or directed towards the blood. The substance released by a gland can generate a certain effect in the environment to which it reaches or be directed towards a particular type of cell.
When the gland does not discharge the substances to the outside by means of a conduit, but instead sends them to the blood capillaries, it is classified as endocrine gland. This is the case of the glands that produce hormones, which are substances dedicated to regulating, inhibiting or exciting the activity of the organs. The Pineal gland, the thyroid gland, the Kidney glands, the hypothalamus and the hypophysis they are endocrine glands.
The exocrine glands, instead, they generate non-hormonal substances that they expel through tubes towards the surface of the body, an organ or a cavity. The lacrimal gland, the oil gland, the sweat gland, the mammary gland and the saliva gland they are part of the set of exocrine glands.
It should be noted that there are glands that develop both types of secretion (endocrine and exocrine): the so-called mixed glands, as is usually described as pancreas and to liver.
In the same way, we cannot ignore another important series of glands that exist in the body, such as the following:
-Bartolino’s glands, which are found on the sides of what is the vagina and whose main function is the lubrication of that area of the body.
-Pituitary gland, which is at the base of the brain and which is responsible for producing hormones that are fundamental both in what is the set of functions of other glands and in growth. So important is it that it is considered to be the main gland of the entire body.
-Prostate gland. As its name suggests, it is found in the prostate area, specifically under the bladder, and its function is none other than to help produce the fluid that carries and nourishes sperm.
-Parotid gland, which is salivary in type, has a considerable size and is located on both sides of the face. The external jugular vein is born in it, produces a large amount of saliva and has the peculiarity that it is crossed by several nerves and also by the external carotid artery.
Finally, it is important to mention that glands are also present in the plants. Its function, as in animals, is to generate secretions. There are plant species that have saline glands, to cite one case.