But why Leeches?!




Three years ago I went to India to visit my family. My grandmother’s feet were swollen up. They put leeches on her feet suck the blood and tissue fluid. This of course relived the swelling of her feet. Fun fact, she never knew we put leeches on her feet. I think if she actually knew what was going on, she wouldn’t have let it happen. We just told her to rest, and she slept through it every time.

It’s interesting how leeches are known to be horrendous blood sucking monsters, yet we have used them for centuries for helping treat humans. This method of using leeches has been used for 1000’s and 1000s of years. Back in the day it was referred to as “bloodletting”.

The information we talked about in class was about how people really believed in bloodletting. They went to a whole other extreme of letting blood for a long period of time. Many people died because well obviously they lost too much blood.


Why are leeches still used today?

Leeches can be seen as a controlled variable. When people were taking out other people’s blood, back in the day, the blood just kept going out of their system. In this case, if leeches are taking too much of one’s blood they can just be taken off of the skin. Some leeches stop taking blood because they can’t hold anymore in their system. I believe that is why this type of bloodletting system is till today.


But what are leeches used for?


After reading all the articles about leeches. They do a lot more than you think they would. Especially because we just heard about how they were used back in the day for Bloodletting.

Leeches treat burned skin and provide “blood flow to the damaged tissue” stated from a web article on Leech Therapy, from PBS.com. Leeches also blood clotting, and most surprisingly helps with reconstructive surgery. So when the blood gets clotted, leeches un-clotting it can reattach limps and veins. It is kind of crazy! Leeches help so much


So leeches of course start with using their suckers to attach on to a human (or animal) and takes blood from its host. Stated by Melissa Jackson from the BBC News Online Health Staff, “The leeches saliva contains substances that anesthize the wound area, dilate the blood vessels to increase blood flows and prevent the blood from clotting”.

 BBC News on the Magic of Leeches

Overall, I would rather trust a leech than anything else taking my blood. They are controlled, and also they have been used for so many years. How could I not trust them?!

PBS Link on Leech Therapy

This text does have different fonts because I type some of it on word.
Thank you

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