Leech therapy or Raktamokshana Jaluka Charana is a kind of blood purification therapy, where leeches are used to suck the impure blood from the infected part of the body. While most of us know that a leech is a worm that sucks blood, not many of us know that it sucks only impure blood. These blood-sucking worms can cure skin infection or save someone’s foot from a diabetic foot injury.
Leech therapy, when done under expert supervision can be the most effective cure for many diseases and problems. Leech therapy is an advanced form of treatment in Ayurveda. You may not find many Ayurvedic practitioners who are capable of providing leech therapy because medicinal leeches are not readily available.
Secondly, only an expert Ayurvedic Vaidya can manage and administer leech therapy 6for best results. The cleanliness and hygiene element plays a vital role in the success of leech therapy.
Alopecia, Eczema, Psoriasis, Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Cellulitis, Sciatica, Inflammatory Reactions, Blood purification, Varicose Veins, Rheumatic Diseases, Diabetic Wounds, Boils and abscesses, Hypertension, Thrombosis (blood clot), Herpes zoster.
Leech therapy is also used successfully to manage problems like high blood pressure and Arthritis. Research has proved that the saliva of leech has over 100 bioactive substances that bring amazing health benefits.
One of the useful factors from the leech saliva is it can decrease the viscosity of the blood. This helps the patients who are suffering from blood clotting, which commonly occurs post diabetes or under high cholesterol conditions.
The saliva of leech makes the consistency of blood thinner resulting in improved blood circulation. Leech therapy has proved to be an effective treatment for Haemorrhoids, also known as piles.
It is in the leeches saliva that has been known to cure or prevent diseases. Their saliva has many bioactive substances and one such component is hirudin, which acts as an anticoagulation agent. Calin is another component that also inhibits blood coagulation.
Leech saliva also contains a Factor Xa inhibitor, and this compound restrains the coagulating effect of the coagulation Factor Xa. It also has hyaluronidase that enhances the viscosity of the interstitial fluid. For vasodilating effect, it has acetylcholine and histamine-like substances as well as carboxypeptidase A inhibitors. These three can increase blood flow by dilating constricted vessels. These are just some of the very useful components in leech saliva.
Those mentioned above all work together to decrease the viscosity of the blood, making its consistency thinner so as to promote better blood flow.
There are approximately 600 species of leeches known worldwide and only 15 species are considered as medicinal leeches and used for arthritis and other treatments.
The arthritic joint is first cleansed before medicinal leeches are placed on specific areas relating to the problem. This is a simple and natural process and feels similar to experiencing a mosquito bite as leeches release a natural anesthetic.
The Leech has a natural process that removes infected blood and at the same time, releases therapeutic components and enzymes from its saliva, allowing these components and enzymes to work their wonders in reducing inflammation and pain in the joint.
Medicinal leeches remain attached to the patient for approximately one hour [times can vary] before they automatically disengage. Through the entire process, patients feel relaxed. The area is then cleansed and dressed.
One of the most important substances recognised in leech salivary glands is Hirudin, a substance that suppresses the blood clotting mechanism. If you remember, it was mentioned earlier that Diabetes patients have viscous [thick] blood, which creates a higher risk of developing blood clots.
Development and dislodgment of clots into the general circulation poses serious threats to anyone and can cause instant death, so the suppression of blood clotting is essential.
Hirudin also has a blood diluting effect, so apart from preventing blood clots; it also thins the blood, allowing the blood to circulate more easily, relieving pressure on the heart and blood vessels.
People suffering from the above mentioned ailments can greatly benefit from leech therapy, particularly when the ear and hearing problem is caused by an infection or a vascular problem.
Firstly, leeches secrete an anesthetic enzyme to desensitize the area and will then release beneficial enzymes and components into the bloodstream which will work to prevent the coagulation of blood and dissolve blood clots.
Blood vessels will be dilated by the enzymes, bringing good circulation. Antibacterial enzymes will also be released to kill the bacteria that are causing the ear problem; these anti-bacterial agents will also boost the immune system and fight off further infection.
Glaucoma is a condition that occurs when there is too much production of vitreous humor or when there’s a very slow reabsorption of vitreous humor. Vitreous humor is a transparent, jelly-like substance that gives nourishment to the eyes.
Too much of it however, can be problematic, where the intra-ocular pressure can increase, causing compression of the eye structures. This causes gradual blurring of vision and slow but certain loss of sight.
Leech Therapy can assist in the progression of this disease. The use of leeches to lessen the rate of blood flow to the eye lessens the production of vitreous humor and thus lessens the pressure inside the eye.
Gum diseases are one of the most common problems suffered by all ages, especially if strict dental hygiene is not followed.
Leeches are known to produce many beneficial enzymes and have been used for many years to effectively treat gum disease and promote healing.
Anticoagulation agents increase blood flow in the gums, helping to flush away toxins and allow delivery of nutrients to the affected area. These anticoagulation agents also work wonders in dissolving blood clots that can form in the gums.
Other beneficial components are anti-inflammatory agents, which decrease swelling and inflammation of the gums. The saliva of the leech also contains antibacterial components that assist in reducing bacterial growth.
The liver is a very important organ, not only does it function to filter toxins from our body, but it also produces important enzymes, acts as a storage area for vitamins and nutrients and helps maintain balance.
Leech therapy has been used in the treatment of many illnesses for thousands of years.
A healthy blood supply is needed to fight off infection and inflammation in the liver and beneficial enzymes found in the saliva of leeches include anti-inflammatory enzymes.
It’s known through various studies that the saliva of leeches contains many beneficial enzymes that can help lower blood pressure.
Anticoagulation enzymes found in leech’s saliva reduce coagulation tendencies of the blood, thus, promoting good blood flow to the body, as well as another enzyme that dissolves blood clots, so not only does it break up the blood clots, but it also prevents clots from traveling to other parts of the body, causing a noticeable reduction in both the systolic and diastolic pressures.
These enzymes prevent blood from becoming thick, thereby promoting better blood circulation not only in the heart but to other parts of the body and can be used with current antihypertensive medications.
It has been found that leech therapy can significantly help individuals to have healthier kidneys.
Since kidneys can be damaged by the effects of diabetes, one of which is an increase in the viscosity of the blood, the enzymes found in leechi’s saliva can help prevent coagulation of the blood or thickening of the blood’s consistency.
Another important enzyme that reduces the stress on the filtering function of the kidneys is the enzymes that help dissolve blood clots. To promote good blood flow or circulation, blood vessels are dilated by the histamine-like enzymes.
All these enzymes work together to help the kidneys receive good blood circulation, thus, aiding the kidney to properly filter toxins and waste materials from the body.
Since the early days of the 20th century, people have been using leeches to treat cardiovascular diseases because of the Hirudin enzyme in the leeches saliva, a substance which has systemic anticoagulative effects.
A physician would usually prescribe the use of leeches when a person suffered a stroke or heart attack. Also, Hirudin stimulates segmental reflex mechanisms and this contributes to the treatment of cardiovascular diseases.