Since ancient Egyptian times, leeches have been used in medicine to treat nervous system abnormalities, dental problems, skin diseases and infections.
Today, they are mostly used in plastic surgery and other microsurgery. This is because leeches secrete peptides and proteins that work to prevent blood clots from forming. These secretions are also known as anticoagulants. It keeps the blood flowing to the wounds to help them heal.
Currently, leech therapy is experiencing a renaissance due to its simple and inexpensive means of preventing complications.
Medicinal leeches have three jaws with tiny rows of teeth. They pierce a person's skin with their teeth and introduce anticoagulants through their saliva. The leeches are then allowed to draw blood for 20 to 45 minutes simultaneously from the person undergoing treatment. This equates to a relatively small amount of blood, up to 15 milliliters per leech. Medicinal leeches most often come from Hungary or Sweden.
There are several situations in which leech therapy can be used. Beneficiaries include those who risk limb amputation due to the side effects of diabetes, those who have been diagnosed with heart disease and those who are undergoing cosmetic surgery that risks losing some of the soft tissue. Therapy has also been recommended for the treatment of blood clots and varicose veins.
People with anemia, blood clotting disorders or compromised arteries are not candidates for leech therapy. Children are also under 18 and pregnant women are usually advised to avoid it.
During a session, leeches attach to the target area and suck blood. They release proteins and peptides that thin the blood and prevent clotting. This improves circulation and prevents tissue death. Leeches leave behind small, Y-shaped wounds, which usually heal without leaving a scar.
Leeches are effective in increasing blood circulation and breaking blood clots. It should come as no surprise that they can be used to treat circulatory disorders and cardiovascular disease.
Chemicals derived from saliva in leeches have been transformed into pharmaceutical drugs that can treat:
Clinical studies suggest that leech therapy is an appropriate treatment for common osteoarthritis of the common disease. The anti-inflammatory and anesthetic properties of leeches reduce the pain and tenderness at the site of the affected joint.
People with heart disease use leeches therapy because of its potential to improve inflammation and blood flow. In recent years, leeches therapy has become an acceptable alternative therapy for people with vascular disease and disorders.
Cancer treatments using leech therapy are being explored because of platelet inhibitors and special enzymes contained in the sticky saliva. While people with certain types of blood cancer are not recommended to use leech therapy, it has been shown to slow down the effects of lung cancer. Animal tests also show that direct injection of leech saliva into mice helps prevent cancer cells from colonizing.
The progression of diabetes can cause many problems. These problems can lead to diseases of the vessels that limit or prevent the blood from reaching the tips, fingers, hands and feet. When blood flow becomes severely restricted, the affected tissue can die. This is the leading cause of amputation among people with diabetes. Losing a figure or limbs due to complications from diabetes is a major concern for millions of people around the world.
The most effective way to stop this process is to increase circulation to the affected tissues without the risk of blood clots forming. Research has shown that leech therapy can play a role.
The substance Hirudin in leeches' saliva thins the blood and prevents it from clotting. Because people with diabetes tend to have thicker blood, Hirudin can help relieve pressure on the heart and cardiovascular system by thinning the blood. The researchers found positive results in cases where Hirudin was used to treat diabetes.
A recent case study showed how the traditional medicine Unani, which includes leech therapy, could help save the leg of a 60-year-old woman with diabetes. There are now synthetic forms of leech saliva, but researchers have found that using four leeches in a single session can help reduce the risk of amputation.
Leeches have become popular for preserving soft tissues and promoting healing after facial reconstructive surgery. In both old and new case studies, leech therapy has been shown to increase the chance of positive results in reconstructions that affect:
figures (toes and toes)
The effect of leeches therapy on blood clotting during and after these surgeries helps the body to heal more naturally and completely.
The benefits of leech therapy for blood circulation have also led some people to use leech therapy to treat baldness and hair loss in the scalp.
Leech therapy is easy and has a lower risk of side effects than other therapies. However, there are some risks. There is a risk of bacterial infections, which sometimes involve drug-resistant bacteria, so be sure to avoid leeches outside of a regulated environment. For this reason, people who are immunocompromised by autoimmune disease and environmental factors are not good candidates for leech therapy.
If something goes wrong after a round of leech therapy, the blood will drain from the treated area and the place of the soldering bite will not close. Sometimes leeches will try to move to another area of the body where you do not need treatment, which causes unnecessary blood loss. Occasionally, a person will find out during or after leech therapy that they are allergic to leech saliva. If such complications occur, you will know immediately and you will no longer be a candidate for this method of treatment.
It makes some people cry to imagine their leeches being used as a modern medical treatment. But more and more research shows that there is a reason leeches have been based for centuries as an essential part of health care. As we continue to learn more about the special properties of solder saliva, it may well be that the treatment has an even more practical use than we ever thought possible.