Medicinal Leech

(redirected from Hirudo medicinalis)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.
Related to Hirudo medicinalis: hirudin

Medicinal Leech


(Hirudo medicinalis), an annelid of the class Hirudinea. Average body length, 12 cm.

The dorsal side of the medicinal leach is greenish, with orange stripes and black spots. The gullet has three toothed mandibles bordered by salivary ducts. The medicinal leech inhabits fresh waters in central and southern Europe and the Middle East. It feeds on the blood of large mammals that enter the watering places where it is found. The saliva of the leech contains hirudin, an anticoagulant, which causes the wounds inflicted by the mandibles to bleed for a long time. Medicinal leeches are used for therapeutic bloodletting and, in modern medicine, in the treatment of thrombophlebitis, hypertension, and prestroke conditions.


Ivanov, A. V. Promyslovye vodnye bespozvonochnye. Moscow, 1955. Zhizn’ zhivotnykh, vol. 1. Moscow, 1968.


References in periodicals archive ?
Lipton, "The use of the medicinal leech, Hirudo medicinalis, in the reconstructive plastic surgery," The Internet Journal of Plastic Surgery, vol.
Fawcett, "The fine structure of the central nervous system of the leech, Hirudo Medicinalis," Journal of Neurophysiology, vol.
The medicinal leech, Hirudo medicinalis, is an ideal model for studying the basic processes behind neural regeneration, she notes.
Based on physiological studies of photoreceptors in Hirudo medicinalis (Kretz et al., 1976), the leeches were expected to be insensitive to these infrared wavelengths.
Only one, Hirudo medicinalis, is still in medical use.
Hirudin is a typically secreted small polypeptide derived from the salivary gland of the medicinal leech Hirudo medicinalis. It includes three principal hirudin variants comprised of 65~66 amino acids, which are designated HV1, HV2, and HV3 [14].
Symbiosis of Aeromonas veronii biovar sobria and Hirudo medicinalis, the medicinal leech: a novel model for digestive-tract associations.
* The saliva of Hirudo medicinalis, the medicinal leech, contains anticoagulant and analgesic substances thought to be responsible for the clinical effects.
For centuries, doctors applied leeches (Hirudo medicinalis) for bloodletting, or phlebotomy; they mistakenly thought blood loss healed the body by letting impurities and excess fluid escape.
Researchers are now studying a genetically engineered version of hirudin, a powerful blood thinner found in the saliva of the European leech Hirudo medicinalis. Their preliminary findings suggest the clot-blocking prowess of the recombinant version may rival that of natural hirudin.
Serotonin also elicits swim motor programs in isolated nerve cords of the leech Hirudo medicinalis (23), similar to the results in the current study on M.
German researchers have found that treatment with the medicinal leech Hirudo medicinalis can provide rapid and extended relief of osteoarthritis pain.