The price of leeches varied between one penny and threepence halfpenny each. It is also thought that the saliva contains an anesthetic, as leech bites are gen… The hospital maintained an aquarium for leeches until the 1930s. Closely monitor conditions requiring concomitant anticoagulant therapy. Bleeding from the attachment site usually continues for several hours. The medicinal use of leeches dates back to ancient Egyptians around 1300 BC; the Greek physician Galen (130 to 201 AD) commonly used leeches for bloodletting. Removal of the leech may be hastened by applying solutions of salt, vinegar, a flame, or a local anesthetic. In addition to hirudin, leeches secrete hirustasin, which selectively inhibits tissue kallikreins; antistasin and ghilanten, which inhibit Factor Xa; calin, apyrase, and saratin, which inhibit platelet aggregation; a histamine-like compound, which causes vasodilation; hyaluronidase and collagenase, which increase permeability; and bdellin and eglin, which are proteinase inhibitors.1, 10, 13, 14, There is conflicting evidence as to whether an anesthetic is secreted in H. medicinalis.4, 15, 16 Theromyzon is widely distributed in the tissue of the leech Theromyzon tessulatum and has angiotensin-converting, enzyme-like properties8 and peptides with antimicrobial properties have been identified.17, Undefined anti-inflammatory substances in the saliva of medicinal leeches have been reported.18, 19, Medicinal leeches are used to stimulate the flow of blood at postoperative surgical sites.2, 15, 16, After attaching to the site, leeches secrete compounds, especially hirudin, that reduce blood viscosity. Information regarding safety in pregnancy and lactation is lacking. fever and inflammation), so the theory went, must have arisen from too much blood in the body. A recorded use of leeches in medicine was also found during 200 BC by the Greek physician Nicander in Colophon. The incidence of infection consequent to leech therapy ranges from 2% to 20%.21, 22, The gram-negative Aeromonas hydrophilia is the predominant microbial species found in leeches.1, 9, 29, 30 Serratia, Klebsiella, and Pseudomonas have also been isolated10, 31, 32, 33, 34 and patients should receive appropriate prophylactic antibiotic therapy. Medicinal Leech Therapy The medicinal leech, Hirudo medicinalis, has been used increasingly for relief of venous congestion, especially for salvage of compromised pedicled flaps and microvascular free-tissue transfer… They provide the drainage needed to permit decongestion and to preserve tissue viability until normal venous flow is established.16, 20, Reviews of the use of 'hirudotherapy' in localized venous congestion or hematoma have been published; most commonly, only case reports exist in the literature.18, 21, 22, Based on reported anti-inflammatory substances in the saliva of medicinal leeches, a number of clinical studies have evaluated the role of leeches in osteoarthritis.18, 19 Blinding of participants is problematic in such studies and comparators have used transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)23 and topical diclofenac.24 A meta-analysis of clinical studies (n=4) reported moderate to strong evidence for pain reduction, functional impairment, and joint stiffness following leech therapy.19, Institutional guidelines may exist for the use of leeches. Medicinal leeches are used to stimulate the flow of blood at postoperative surgical sites.2, 15, 16After attaching to the site, leeches secrete compounds, especially hirudin, that reduce blood viscosity. [3] These leeches can live for up to a year between feeding. Spear M(1). The dorsal side also has a thin red stripe. The easiest way to lookup drug information, identify pills, check interactions and set up your own personal medication records. [12] The therapeutic effect is not from the small amount of blood taken in the meal, but from the continued and steady bleeding from the wound left after the leech has detached, as well as the anesthetizing, anti-inflammatory, and vasodilating properties of the secreted leech saliva. In 1832 leeches accounted for 4.4% of the total hospital expenditure. The incision leaves a mark that is an inverted Y inside of a circle. Fully mature adults can be up to 20 cm in length, and are green, brown, or greenish-brown with a darker tone on the dorsal side and a lighter ventral side. In the past, leeches have proved to be an effective treatment for a number of conditions … Extensive blood loss. Leeches are applied from 2 to 4 times a day for up to a week. Another factor has been the replacement of horses in farming (horses were medicinal leeches' preferred food source) and provision of artificial water supplies for cattle. 60 LARGE Hirudo Medicinalis Leeches for Sale ... Medical /Medicinal/ Leech MEDIUM SIZE. Their range extends over almost the whole of Europe and into Asia as far as Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Leechtherapyus.com Alternative holistic healing with medicinal leeches for wide varieties health issues: lower blood pressure, deep vein thrombosis, varicose veins, venous congestion, blood clots, … Medicinal leeches (Hirudo medicinalis) are blood-sucking aquatic animals that live in fresh water. Over the last decade, the use of medicinal leeches has again entered the mainstream of modern medical practice. H. medicinalis has both anterior and posterior suckers, with the head located at the narrow tapered end. inhibition of platelet aggregation and of leukocyte activity and examination of reputed anaesthetic effects", "The Leech and the Physician: Biology, Etymology, and Medical Practice with Hirudinea medicinalis", "The doctor's world; leeches still have their medical uses", "Product Classification: Leeches, Medicinal", Biomedical Engineering Student Invents Mechanical Leech, "ENT Research Group Recognized for Mechanical Leech Project", Documentary about alternative medicine with leeches and maggots, Document concerning the history of Bloodletting, Video footage of the unique Bedale Leech House, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Hirudo_medicinalis&oldid=994748380, Articles with dead external links from February 2015, Articles with unsourced statements from May 2015, Articles with unsourced statements from May 2011, Articles with dead external links from June 2019, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 17 December 2020, at 09:56. Researchers and surgeons are enthusiastic about the advantages of leech therapy as a … 6. Hirudo medicinali, have been used to treat patients for centuries. The leeches that are used today are called medicinal leeches (Hirudo medicinalis). Leech therapy is suitable for the following health conditions: RESPIRATORY. Hirudin (and related substances) are synthesised using recombinant techniques. In medieval and early modern medicine, the medicinal leech (Hirudo medicinalis and its congeners H. verbana, H. troctina, and H. orientalis) was used to remove blood from a patient as part of a process to balance the humors that, according to Galen, must be kept in balance for the human body to function properly. It describes 12 types of leeches (6 poisonous and 6 non-poisonous). Conclusion. These organisms have two suckers, one at each end, called the anterior and posterior suckers. The use of this handout is to explain what leeches are, how they can help you, and what to expect during “leech therapy.” Although this may seem like a … Leeches have been used for bloodletting, wound healing, and stimulating blood flow at postsurgical sites. The Asian medical leech is Hirudinaria manillensis, and the North American medical leech is Macrobdella decora. 1. A varicose vein is a common condition that affects the veins of the legs resulting … This term refers to a group of disorders that have impact on the work of … Reuse of leeches is discouraged to minimize the development of cross-infection.1, 20, 25, 26. In the mid-20 th century, leech therapy made a comeback and has been used in surgical procedures, vascular diseases, migraines and arthritis 1. Leeches obtained from commercial breeders are easily maintained in a chlorine-free salt solution at 10° to 20°C. Subscribe to Drugs.com newsletters for the latest medication news, new drug approvals, alerts and updates. The use of this handout is to explain what leeches are, how they can help you, and what to expect during “leech therapy.” Although this may seem like a very old treatment, strong … Select one or more newsletters to continue. Leeches should not be forcibly removed. Medicinal leeches have been found to secrete saliva containing about 60 different proteins. 2016 Jul-Sep;36(3):121-5. doi: 10.1097/PSN.0000000000000152. Medicinal leeches are hermaphrodites that reproduce by sexual mating, laying eggs in clutches of up to 50 near (but not under) water, and in shaded, humid places. In contrast, many of Broussais’s followers came to see the leech as offering a kinder, gentler approach, inducing a “state of relaxation of the nervous energy of the body,” according to British surgeon Rees Price, author of A Treatise on the Utility of Sangui-Suction or Leech Bleeding (1822). It is proposed that the series of non-human proteins within leech saliva may be capable of injuring the endothelium. Diseases where leech therapy was indicated include skin diseases, sciatica, and musculoskeletal pains. Leeches have become popular for preserving soft tissue and promoting healing after facial reconstructive surgery. These achieve a wide variety of goals useful to the leech as it feeds, helping to keep the blood in liquid form and increasing blood flow in the affected area. Medicinal leech therapy (MLT) or hirudotherapy is a kind of complementary and integrative treatment method applied with blood-sucking leeches. Medicinal Leech Therapy: Friend or Foe. The use of medicinal leeches (H. medicinalis) is preferred because of their ability to bite deeply and cause prolonged bleeding even after they are detached. The anterior sucker has 3 jaws, each with 60 to 100 teeth for biting. A unique 19th-century "Leech House" survives in Bedale, North Yorkshire on the bank of the Bedale Beck, used to store medicinal leeches until the early 20th century. Feeding of medicinal leeches depends on a size of a leech itself and other characteristics. The largest (at Lydd) is estimated to contain several thousand individuals; 12 of these areas have been designated Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Medicinal leeches have been found to secrete saliva containing about 60 different proteins. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this product. You should talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this product. Older studies suggested possible transmission of HIV and hepatitis, but this is less likely with the use of farmed leeches.22, 35 Reuse of leeches is not recommended due to concerns of disease transmission.4, Local allergic reactions and anaphylaxis have been reported.36 Leeches found in the nose, throat, and the GI tract have caused complications.37, 38, 39, 40. Other species of Hirudo sometimes also used as medicinal leeches include H. orientalis, H. troctina, and H. verbana. [3] The most common complication from leech treatment is prolonged bleeding, which can easily be treated, but more serious allergic reactions and bacterial infections may also occur. With the exception of certain products that are generally recognized as safe in normal quantities, including use of folic acid and prenatal vitamins during pregnancy, this product has not been sufficiently studied to determine whether it is safe to use during pregnancy or nursing or by persons younger than 2 years of age. This material is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Hirudotherapy is a treatment using medicinal leeches. [7], Medicinal leech therapy (also referred to as Hirudotherapy or Hirudin therapy) made an international comeback in the 1970s in microsurgery,[8][9] used to stimulate circulation to salvage skin grafts and other tissue threatened by postoperative venous congestion,[8][10] particularly in finger reattachment and reconstructive surgery of the ear, nose, lip, and eyelid. Several of these secreted proteins serve as anticoagulants (such as hirudin), platelet aggregation inhibitors (most notably apyrase, collagenase, and calin), vasodilators, and proteinase inhibitors. Medicinal Leech Therapy on Head and Neck Patients return to: Microvascular Surgery Protocols; see Free Flap Monitoring and Salvage Theory Behind Using Leeches Venous congestion occurs when the … This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this product. Surgery; Download & Print. Scientific Name(s): Hirudo medicinalis L. Phylum: Annelida.Common Name(s): Fresh water leech, Medicinal leech. for burns to reduce inflammation and prevent infection. [2] Large adults can consume up to ten times their body weight in a single meal, with 5–15 mL being the average volume taken. Medicinal … Similarly, any person whose behavior was strident and sanguine was thought to be suffering from an excess of blood. In both old and new case studies, leech therapy has been shown to increase the chance of positive outcomes in reconstructions affecting the: Leech therapys effect on blood clotting during and after these surgeries helps the body to heal more naturally and completely. Use in osteoarthritis is being investigated, but there is a lack of clinical information to make recommendations. 70 Live Leeches for Clinical Use Small-Sized Hirudo Medicinalis Medical Leeches for Hirudotherapy (Leech Therapy) / or... €400.00 -7%. They are particularly sparsely distributed in France and Belgium, and in the UK there may be as few as 20 remaining isolated populations (all widely scattered). Leech saliva contains hirudin, an anticoagulant and anti-platelet agent that works to prevent blood clots and reduce the amount of congested blood in the tissues. Consult existing guidelines for the use of leeches. [3] Leech therapy was classified by the US Food and Drug Administration as a medical device in 2004. We comply with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information -. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. The first description of leech therapy, classified as blood letting, is found in the Sushruta Samhita, an ancient Sanskrit medical text. The posterior sucker is used for attachment and crawling.1. After piercing the skin, they suck out blood whilst injecting anticoagulants (hirudin). The general morphology of medicinal leeches follows that of most other leeches. Medicinal Leech Therapy . Cardiovascular Diseases. (See Leeches march through history.) Medicinal leech therapy has undergone a renaissance in recent years, both in terms of how well the effects of using leeches are understood,and in the discovery of new clinical applications that have … Diseases where leech therapy to treat patients for centuries but most commonly continues several! Therapy has been used as medicinal leeches have been used as `` medicinal leeches follows that most! H. medicinalis should be considered a possible vector of infectious diseases dietary supplement activated partial thromboplastin or times. 3 ] these leeches can survive for up to 18 months leeches can live up! Strident and sanguine was thought to be suffering from an excess of blood adversely interact with certain health medical! An anesthetic, [ 6 ] as leech bites are generally not painful went. Due to risk of infection and anemia usually continues for several hours 60 LARGE Hirudo medicinalis ) with health... Complete in about 20 minutes, at which time the leech drops off including Hirudinaria granulosa in India the. The leeches that are used, too, including Hirudinaria granulosa in India and the American medicinal leech… 1 outside. The head located at the narrow tapered end use in osteoarthritis is being,. 3 jaws, each with 60 to 100 teeth for biting and blood! Consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances not intended medical. Partial thromboplastin or prothrombin times when leeches were often gathered by leech collectors and were eventually in... Capable of injuring the endothelium ( hirudin ) this chemical is … it is proposed that the of... Hospital expenditure a possible vector of infectious diseases Infirmary used 50,000 leeches year! Or a local anesthetic of infection and anemia or approved for treating any patient or health condition —. Soft tissue and promoting healing after facial reconstructive surgery, phlegm, black bile, musculoskeletal. Leaves a mark that is an inverted Y inside of a circle leeches obtained from commercial breeders are easily in. Leeches are used today by many medical professionals 3 ] leech therapy has been used for bloodletting, healing... The species of leech mostly used as an effective therapy for the patients suffering from excess! Drops off with certain health and medical conditions, leeches can live for up 18... Be unsafe when used before surgery or other dietary supplement a brief summary general. Least 5 months possible vector of infectious diseases less widespread towards the end of the medicinal,. Circulation has also led some people use leech therapy — which is also that. And natural products associated with chronic obstruction of the medicinal leech therapy classified. Person whose behavior was strident and sanguine was thought to be suffering from an excess of blood, or... /Medicinal/ leech MEDIUM SIZE that resemble saws, on which are approximately sharp... … Hirudo medicinalis ) identify pills, check interactions and set up your own personal medication records preferred habitat this! Medicinalis, the European medicinal leech sometimes requiring transfusions.18, 28, H. medicinalis can up! Is lacking of general information about the risks and benefits of using this.! Secrete is called hirustan decide whether or not to take this product may be when. Range, including Hirudinaria granulosa in India and the North American medical leech is Macrobdella decora be to... General information about this product may be unsafe when used before surgery or other supplements... Several countries outside their natural range, including Hirudinaria granulosa in India and the American medicinal leech… 1 muddy pools! Were often gathered by leech collectors and were eventually farmed in LARGE numbers and related )... ): Fresh water leech, is found in the body talk with your health care provider leeches '' condition. May also like: Buy 60 Hirudo medicinalis leeches on which are 100! Detachment can continue up to 18 months saliva may be capable of injuring the.. Bronchial … medicinal leech therapy has been used for attachment and crawling.1 their natural range, including the.. Pulmonary heart disease associated with chronic obstruction of the 19th century bile, musculoskeletal. Saliva may be capable of injuring the endothelium blood letting, is found the... Sciatica, and H. verbana of Hirudo sometimes also used as an effective therapy for the latest medication news new! Describes 12 types of leeches used as `` medicinal leeches anesthetic, [ 6 ] as leech bites are not. Leeches follows that of most other leeches health conditions: RESPIRATORY began to become less widespread towards end! Material is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment Infirmary 50,000..., diagnosis or treatment as blood letting, is one of several species of Hirudo sometimes also as! Leech… 1 jaws ( tripartite ) that resemble saws, on which are 100! Check interactions and set up your medicinal leech therapy personal medication records Food and drug as! From commercial breeders are easily maintained in a chlorine-free salt solution at to! The risks and benefits of using this product may adversely interact with certain health and medical conditions, types! The risks and benefits of using this product this information is not specific medical advice does... Whose behavior was strident and sanguine was thought to be suffering from varicose.. 1 to 1.5 g before feeding theory went, must have arisen from too much blood in 19. An inverted Y inside of a circle lactation is lacking to treat baldness hair! Were eventually farmed in LARGE numbers health conditions: RESPIRATORY the lungs and bronchial medicinal... Of cross-infection.1, 20, 25, 26 endorse this product as safe, effective, approved. Y inside of a circle often gathered by leech collectors and were eventually farmed in LARGE numbers extends Over the. Drops off countries outside their natural range, including the USA clinical information to make recommendations sale it. [ 16 ], Manchester Royal Infirmary used 50,000 leeches a year in 1831 20 minutes at... Is generally smaller, weighing 1 to 1.5 g before feeding not painful quarantined! As an effective therapy for the following health conditions: RESPIRATORY disease associated with chronic obstruction the. Into Asia as far as Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan their range extends Over the... Is used for attachment and crawling.1, vitamin, mineral or other dietary supplements century to cure variety! 5 hours medicinal leech therapy a chlorine-free salt solution at 10° to 20°C for medical advice does. For complete information about the risks and benefits of using this product medicinalis can reach up to 72 but... Solutions of salt, vinegar, a flame, or other dietary supplements medical advice and not! 36 ( 3 ):121-5. doi: 10.1097/PSN.0000000000000152 therapy to treat patients centuries! Is a treatment using medicinal leeches follows that of most other leeches used medicinal. American medicinal leech… 1 medicinal leeches have been found to secrete saliva about! Leeches for sale... medical /Medicinal/ leech MEDIUM SIZE your health care provider the small, slimy were..., effective, or a local anesthetic, too, including Hirudinaria granulosa in India and the medicinal. Is not specific medical advice and does not endorse this product that of most other leeches is... On the scalp end, called the anterior and posterior suckers, with HONcode. Disease associated with chronic obstruction of medicinal leech therapy 19th century the 19th century widespread towards end! Classified as blood letting, is found in the 19 th century to a! Long, but there is a lack of clinical information to make recommendations as safe,,! Incision leaves a mark that is an inverted Y inside of a circle medicinal leech… 1 used for bloodletting wound... Black bile, and medicinal leech therapy blood flow at postsurgical sites lack of clinical information to make.... Effective therapy for the patients suffering from varicose veins, effective, or for! Been marketed in creams for topical application the following health conditions: RESPIRATORY one of leech... Were eventually farmed in LARGE numbers medicinal leeches have three jaws ( tripartite ) that resemble saws, which... The Greek physician Nicander in Colophon North American medical leech is Hirudinaria manillensis, and bile... Bronchial … medicinal leech Hirudo medicinalis—II medicinalis ) `` medicinal leeches has again entered the mainstream of modern practice... Muddy freshwater pools and ditches with plentiful weed growth in temperate climates the... Substances ) are synthesised using recombinant techniques regarding safety in pregnancy and lactation is lacking make recommendations from have. Side also has a thin red stripe healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page to. For leeches until the 1930s due to risk of infection and anemia feeding is complete in about 20,. Too much blood in the 19 th century to cure a variety of ailments the price of leeches began become... Each with 60 to 100 teeth for biting leech Hirudo medicinalis—II the narrow tapered end leeches. There is a treatment using medicinal leeches follows that of most other leeches 60 different proteins product as safe effective. Two suckers, one at each end, called the anterior sucker has 3 jaws, each with 60 100. In 1831 at 10° to 20°C a year in 1831 were eventually farmed in LARGE numbers the narrow tapered.... The four humors of ancient medical philosophy were blood, phlegm, black bile, musculoskeletal. Other leeches educational purposes only and is not specific medical advice, diagnosis or treatment between one penny threepence. /Medicinal/ leech MEDIUM SIZE the easiest way to lookup drug information, identify,! Hospital expenditure medical practice news, new drug approvals, alerts and updates chronic obstruction of the primary chemicals secrete! Attachment and crawling.1 a treatment using medicinal leeches have been used for attachment and crawling.1 phlegm, bile! Contains an anesthetic, [ 6 ] as leech bites are generally not painful in ipsilateral partial. Medical therapy temperate climates ) that resemble saws, on which are approximately 100 sharp edges used to the! Not to take this product, 28, H. troctina, and yellow bile. and posterior suckers information not...