Apache folklore held that the Gila monster (Heloderma suspectum) could kill a person with a single burst of its fetid breath, whilst some Californians believed that its larger cousin, the giant Gila monster (Heloderma suspectum B.moviensis) was capable of consuming a carload of teenagers at a single sitting.
Other native American groups thought that, despite its undoubted problems in the oral hygiene department, the Gila monster’s brightly patterned skin was a source of healing.
In a curious case of truth being stranger than fiction, it turns out that Gila monster saliva contains a protein that improves blood glucose control, helps weight loss and might even improve memory.
Not to put too fine a point on it, I’ve just started injecting myself with synthetic lizard saliva.
Links: Gila Monster (Wikipedia)