Nature has provided us with otherwise deadly poisons that have left an indelible mark on the pharmaceutical industry and medicine in general -- from aspirin to morphine, and numerous products in between. While synthetic drugs there are plenty, medical science has harnessed nature's healing powers in more ways than one for thousands of years. From ancient herbal remedies to modern extractions of snake venom to be used in blood-thinning -- oftentimes, the most potent antidotes can be found in the natural world around us.

Here's a list of 7 currently untapped (not-so-common) natural resources that have promising futures in the world of medicine:

Pufferfish toxin cancels chemo pain

The toxin from a pufferfish, known as tetrodoxotin, is 3,000 times more potent than morphine, but carries none of the addictiveness or nausea. For this reason, researchers at the John Theurer Cancer Center have begun testing on a small group of cancer patients to see how the toxin works as a pain-killer in chemotherapy patients with chronic pain.

They will have to compare its efficacy against that of existing drugs used to treat chemotherapy pain before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will consider it for approval, according to TIME.

Shark skin keeps catheters clean

The apparently smooth skin of a shark actually contains thousands upon thousands of sharp, interlaced ridges that make for an inhospitable host to bacteria. Scientists at Sharklet Technologies are trying to harness the sterilizing power of these ridges by utilizing them in urinary catheters (on the inside, one hopes).

The catheters would mimic the shark's skin to ward off infection-causing bacteria, such as staphylococcus aureus, methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and pseudomonas aeruginosa. For the quarter of patients who use a urinary catheter for a week or more, a shark skin lining could help reduce urinary tract infections to a substantial degree, the researchers note.

King cobra venom outperforms morphine

Professor Manjunatha Kini of the National University of Singapore is developing a painkiller that's potentially 20 to 200 times more powerful than morphine. Similar to the pufferfish toxin, king cobra venom contains none of morphine's addictive properties, nor others' similarly on the market.

"Within a year, Kini hopes to test the drug in patients. In recent animal tests, mice receiving the agent were able to withstand almost twice the thermal pain of animals that did not take the compound."

Tick saliva removes blood clots

Professor Kini has also begun testing on the properties of tick saliva, as the insect's spit has the curious property of thinning blood once it enters the host's bloodstream. If Kini can rein in the saliva's anti-clotting properties, he hopes to create a drug that's 70 times more effective at clearing blood clots than the body's natural thinning agents.

However, Kini's tests are still a year away from human testing. So far, animal testing is as far as the scientist has reached.

Sea anemone toxin retrains immune cells

Sea anemone may seem inviting with their colorful tentacles; however, the marine invertebrate packs a cocktail of paralyzing toxins in its venom. But the Seattle-based biotech company called Kineta is trying to use these toxins to treat multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases.

Anemone's toxin contains a compound called ShK-186 that blocks the voltage-gated potassium channels in the infected host. If used correctly, the toxin could be reworked to prevent harmful antibodies from binding to these channels. Researchers believe targeting just this effect could provide more effective treatment.

Fire-bellied toad sweat promotes healing

As unappealing as the fire-bellied toad's perspiration may seem in a medical context, the sweat contains a poisonous venom that researchers hope to incorporate into healing medication. Rather than allow scar tissue to develop unabated, the Queen's University at Belfast School of Pharmacy is investigating how proteins in the sweat could help the drug minimize healing time.

University professor Christopher Shaw said the toad venom's peptides promote blood vessel growth, the chief response in wound healing. Good news is that the drug is less than a year away from entering human trials. It's already been patented in China and the United States.

Waxy monkey frog toxin regulates blood vessels

Though portly and charming, the waxy monkey frog secretes a toxic peptide in its skin that works as a natural opioid and has been used in illegal performance-enhancing drugs in racehorses. In humans the toxin could have potentially beneficial effects.

Shaw's team at Queen's University at Belfast, School of Pharmacy, is also looking into the toxin's effects on regulating blood vessel production, known as angiogenesis, within the human body. Rheumatoid arthritis is linked to an explosion of vessels that feed inflamed areas with more disease-causing compounds. Worse, diabetes often leads to blindness as a result of unconstrained vessel growth, which can damage the retina.

Shaw says the anti-angiogenic properties of the venom could help in the treatment of these diseases. Time is of the essence, however, as the waxy monkey frog is nearing extinction. Luckily, human trials are set to commence within the year.