Medicinal leech therapy has been shown to be effective for helping to cure a variety of illnesses. Leeches have been found to secrete around 60 different proteins in their saliva.
This saliva has been found to increase the flow of blood to the area they are placed. Some of the proteins secreted serve as powerful anticoagulants. One such protein is called such as hirudin and has been found to aid in blood flow.
Since leech therapy has been shown to increase circulation they have been used after a variety of medical procedures. These can range from skin grafts to reconstructive surgery.
Some effective uses have been found for after a finger reattachment or reconstructive surgery of the eyelid, nose, ear, or lip. Medicinal leech therapy has also had other
effective medicinal applications such as in the treatment of muscle cramps, varicose veins, thrombophlebitis, and osteoarthritis to name a few.
One of the common side effects of leech therapy is prolonged bleeding of the affected area. Patients have experienced other side-effects including allergic reactions and bacterial infections. for this reason it is important to seek the advice of a skilled physician before attempting a medical procedure of this sort.
Some of the common leeches used in medicinal therapy include tje Hirudo medicinalis, known as the European medicinal leech. Other types include the Macrobdella decora which is known as the North American leech. There are also the Hirudo troctina, Hirudo orientalis and Hirudo verbana.
During attachment medicinal leeches have three jaws that bite the host with around 100 razor sharp teeth. However, generally no pain is felt due to the leeches secreting an anesthetic in their saliva.