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Medical History: Blood-letting as a treatment modality

Updated on March 23, 2012

Bloodletting survives, after more than 2,500 years


Bloodletting still have value

More that 2.5 millenniums have passed and bloodletting still has value and can be practiced legally by qualified physicians. Bloodletting is not practiced using the same methods, or reasoning, that the physicians of old embraced. In the centuries past bloodletting was use to treat all manner of disorders and illnesses before the time of Louis Pasteur, Joseph Lister and Robert Koch. After these three scientists helped to show how microbes caused many illness that bloodletting could not cure, the practice of bloodletting was not used to a major extent.

Bloodletting, using the concept of phlebotomy, is still used today for a small number of medical conditions.

However, the most popular, or common use of bloodletting is in application of the medical leech. It is amazing how medical leeches are used in plastic and reconstructive surgery worldwide and has a potential to help relieve symptoms in sufferers of osteoarthritis. In this regard, a medical practice that is more than 2500 years old is being applied by modern medical practitioners.

Doctor us medical leeches that are maintained pure environments in order to achieve and maintain high clinical standards. The leech species "hirudo medicinalis/verbena," the European medicinal leech, is the most popular leech used in medical applications. However, the Asian medicinal leech, hirudinaria manillensis, is also a popular medical leech.

Leeches have teeth. For example, the Hirudo leech has three jaws, with 100 teeth in each jaw, for a sum total of 300 teeth. When a leech is applied to a site on a person's body, it has to bite into skin, to suck the blood, but the bite is painless because the leech releases an anesthetic, and injects an anti=coagulant serum into the victim's flesh, to prevent blood clotting. After it begins sucking the blood, it will gorge itself until it filled up and then it fall off automatically.

It is believed that the first medical leech was applied in the first medical procedure approximately 1,000 years ago. Today, the medical procedures in which the medical leech is applied helps to decrease deaths in critical patients. Isn't it wonderful how some approaches to the treatment serious medical conditions never change. This is a very remarkable thing.

Dr. Haddox


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    • Dr. Haddox profile imageAUTHOR

      Dr Freddie Haddox 

      4 years ago from a Franklin, Tennessee native, who travels globally.

      Malu, I am a physician who was educated and trained at a Big Ten, Mid-Western medical school, so I expect that your product will do what you say it will do if you are promoting it on my webpage. That having been said, I do believe in the power of herbal remedies and alternative approaches to healthcare and healing. So, I am in your corner, Malu. Just be sure that you are standing behind your products. I am all for you, by the way. Have a good Holiday Season.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Hi! manish senaxa ,i want to buy your invented oil made from leech and some herbs. I'm suffering Hair loss problem for many years. i used various indian product like Evramatin, Helsinky Formula and Keshyog etc. but this product can't stop my Hairfall problem. Are you sure, your invented oil is guaranteed and Hair loss stop in less than 15 days ? If your oil is guaranteed than please infom me soon to mail id : Sarwar Jahan.

    • ciaralw profile image


      6 years ago from San Diego, California

      I love your writing. Thank you for offering your knowledge to others.

    • Dr. Haddox profile imageAUTHOR

      Dr Freddie Haddox 

      6 years ago from a Franklin, Tennessee native, who travels globally.

      Dear Momma Mia, Thank you for your wonderful comment on my leeches hub and for your encouragement. It was an oversight on my part, that I did not find you comment until just now. I suppose that I have been "burning the candle at both ends" and have not been noticing everything. Sorry. Take care, my dear friend. Dr. Haddox

    • Momma Mia profile image

      Momma Mia 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Very interesting Hub Doc :) I wonder what else leeches could be of benefit to? May do some online research myself today! Great hub, can't wait to read more on this topic from you!

      Have a wonderful day!



    • Dr. Haddox profile imageAUTHOR

      Dr Freddie Haddox 

      7 years ago from a Franklin, Tennessee native, who travels globally.

      Dear R.J.Lefebvre,

      Thank you so much for you very good question. The leeches are used mostly in plastic and reconstructive surgery. Leeches have helped to save the limbs of patients in 29 different countries that I know of. Yes, they do inject a n anaesthetic, to decrease the pain of their bite. And then they inject an anti-coagulant serum into the bite that has positive effects for the patient's medical condition. I will have to write another Hub, I see, to go further into the details of how leeching works. I am sorry to "cut you short here," but it is 12:23am in the morning, here in Franklin, Tennessee, I am going to be working for the next several hours on an urgent project that cannot be ignored.

      I am a researcher (I do bio-medical and Naturopathic medical research on the side (as a hobby). I used to do Bone Marrow Transplantation Research in the lab, full time. I had a mid-life career change, and now I am more of an "Educator" full time now, among other things. This is one of those nights where I have too much to do, but I am sorry. I will write another post "Medical Leeches, how they work" as soon as I can. Thank you. Dr. Haddox

    • profile image

      R. J. Lefebvre 

      7 years ago

      Dr Haddox,

      I found your hub as interesting. However, I don't understand how the leeching contributes to health. Leeches must inject a beneficial substance, what is it and how does it function?


    • GClark profile image


      7 years ago from United States

      Interesting Hub. Voted Up. In George Washington's time they even bled people for pneumonia if you an believe it - not a good outcome for most. However, leeches have worked wonders for a variety of symptoms; my mother told me that when she was in college and temporarily lost her sight that doctors used leeches to cure her. GClark


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