Asian Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Asian Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine

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Hirudotherapy In The Modern World-An Updated Review

Sadia Nikhat*1,Mohd. Fazil2

1Dept. of Preventive and Social Medicine, F/o Medicine (Unani) Jamia Hamdard
2Dept. of AYUSH, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare,


Hirudotherapy is one of the best and most successful instances of the use of invertebrates for therapeutic purposes. While the practice dates back to the ancient ages, where it was employed as an alternative to phlebotomy; its recognition as a modern therapeutic device came after the discovery of several medicinal substances in its saliva which have been demonstrated to have anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antiseptic, anti-metastatic, anesthetic, anti-coagulant and several other effects. Although the procedure is known to have certain adverse effects, yet no serious outcomes have been reported in the majority of studies. Given the popularity of hirudotherapy, scientists are on the verge of developing a mechanical device, which could act as a leech. This is a comprehensive review on leech therapy, with special emphasis on recent developments in the field. The search was completed on all major scientific search engines (i.e. Pubmed, Scientific Commons, Google Scholar etc) and classical textbooks of Unani medicine.


Hirudotherapy, talīq, hirudin, leech therapy

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