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Leeches


Overview :

One or more leeches are applied to the swollen area, depending on the size of the graft or injury, and left on for several hours. The benefits of the treatment lie not in the amount of blood that the leeches ingest, but in the anti-bloodclotting (anticoagulant) enzymes in the saliva that allow blood to flow from the bite for up to six hours after the animal is detached, effectively draining away blood that could otherwise accumulate and cause tissue death. Leech saliva has been described as a better anticoagulant than many currently available to treat strokes and heart attacks. Active investigation of the chemicals in leech saliva is currently under way, and one anticoagulant drug, hirudin, is derived from the tissues of Hirudo medicinalis.




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