There are 300 species of leeches known in 4 orders. The Hirudo medicinalis is part of the Hirudinea Class, the order of Gnathobdellida. It is an amphibious animal of small or medium size, needing both land and water for its survival, living exclusively in freshwater.
The medical leech has a cylindrical body provided at the ends with a suction cup, slightly flattened dorsoventrally and divided into 33 – 34 segments. The shape of the body varies with the state of the individual, muscle contraction or digestive tract filled with blood.
The exsertile tube has a strong musculature, and at the bottom of the mouth 3 toothed and sharp maxillae protrude, arranged in a Y shape, one anterior and median and two lateral ones slightly moved back by the musculature. Between the teeth, there are numerous salivary glands that produce hirudin, the anticoagulant substance that prevents blood clotting. The blood is stored in the stomach, separated by strangulations.
The amount of blood taken in one session is 5 times greater than its normal body weight. The size of the leeches varies between 5 – 14 cm and the weight, in general, between 1 g – 3.5 g. They can withstand without food for 18 – 24 months. When not feeding, it is attached to stones or plants.
With the help of suction cups, she can move. It lengthens its body to the maximum, attaches itself with the use of the cranial suction cup, then releases its caudal suction cup and pulls its body in front. They are sensitive to the noises and smells of chemicals. The temperatures influence their life and the pace of development.
At temperatures below 15 degrees, they enter into hibernation, they become inactive and their metabolism is much slower.
Bioactive substances from Leeches saliva
- Histamine-like substances
- Leech prostanoids
- Inhibitor of kallikrein of the blood plasma
- Lipolytic enzymes
- Intibitor of Xa factor of the blood coagulation
- Cholesterol esterase
Indications and effects of hirudotherapy (leeches therapy):
- Hypertonic disease
- Disease ischemic heart
- Varicose veins
- Hemorrhoids, arthritis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Wegener’s disease
- Thyroid gland
Diseases of the gastrointestinal system:
- Biliary dyskinesia
- Digestive disorders, constipation
- Toxic, venous and circulatory encephalopathy
- Intracerebral hypertension
- Herniated disc
- Vegetative disorders, neuroses, insomnia
- Headaches and dizziness
- Neuralgia, radiculopathies
- Inflammatory processes of the small pelvis (endometritis, salpingo-oophoritis parameters)
- Ovarian cysts
- Uterine myoma
- Varicose veins of the pelvis
- Menopause symptoms
- Ovarian dysfunction
- Sequel processes
- Amenorrhea (lack of menstrual cycle), menstrual cycle disorders, painful cycle
- In addition to the diseases listed above, the method of hirudotherapy gives positive results
to people who are in the postoperative period (any kind of operation of
the genital organs).
- Prostate adenoma
Diseases of the locomotor system:
- Post-traumatic diseases of the wrists and bones
There are only a few proven contraindications to the use of this type of treatment:
- Haemophilia (genetical disease)
- Hemorrhagic diathesis
- Anemia of any kind, especially in the advanced stage
Medicinal leeches are also successfully applied to animals by veterinarians. Our clients have testified to us about their effect on restoring animal health. The leeches used by veterinarians are bigger (over 1.5 g).
The speed of movement and filtration of the blood decreases 3-4 times at the age of
60-80 years, obviously also the cellular regeneration, which forces the body to raise the blood
pressure in the system. If we could maintain the speed of filtration and circulation, we could also maintain cell regeneration in the ratio 1: 1 (1 is born and 1 dies) so we could increase the time of the young body, the quality of life, etc. Thus one of the curative factors of hirudotherapy (treatment with leeches) is the increase of the speed of circulation and filtration of the blood. This happens not only by injecting the hirudin by the leech into the bloodstream but also by the ultrasound effect it generates during fixation on the body (40-250 kHz). This is not a constant ultrasound, but an inconsistent one, which increases the effect dozens of times.
The leeches have been used for therapeutic purposes since ancient times due to the beneficial effects they have on maintaining human health. The advancement of modern medicine has diminished its role and increasingly limited their use. Even so, are doctors who are confident in the medical potential of leeches, and studies by researchers have shown that their saliva contains some substances that cannot be reproduced in the laboratory currently.
Today, they are successfully used in plastic and reconstructive surgery clinics, in the improvement of different conditions and in the cosmetic industry.
Currently, we are concerned about obtaining very high-quality body care products that contain a concentrated form of the leeches saliva.