Medicinal Leech

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Related to Medicinal Leech: Hirudo medicinalis
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Dobos, Medicinal Leech Therapy, Georg Thieme, New York, NY, USA, 2007
Only the medicinal leeches are used for treatment, which are brown, red striped and olive-coloured.
Edsall et al., "Construction of a medicinal leech transcriptome database and its application to the identification of leech homologs of neural and innate immune genes," BMC Genomics, vol.
veronii strain isolated from the medicinal leech, was cultivated in lysogeny broth, LB, at 30 [degrees]C at 200 rpm (Sambrook and Russell, 2001); Aliquots of cells representing different phases of growth were collected and flash-frozen in liquid nitrogen.
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* Learn about medicinal leeches at:
The medicinal leech, a worm-like creature once used by doctors to bleed patients, is being examined to draw clues on how a common protein may help promote neural regeneration.
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Summary: In Russia, a medicinal leech costs less than $1, and a typical application requires three to seven of the ravenous little creatures
The medicinal leech has been the physician's ally since the year 900 CE.
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