Medicinal Leech

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Related to Medicinal Leech: Hirudo medicinalis

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.


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veronii during exponential growth in a rich medium and inside the medicinal leech digestive tract were identified using 11lumina RNA-seq.
The failing flap in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery: Role of the medicinal leech.
The medicinal leech, Hirudo medicinalis, is an ideal model for studying the basic processes behind neural regeneration, she notes.
The saliva of Hirudo medicinalis, the medicinal leech, contains anticoagulant and analgesic substances thought to be responsible for the clinical effects.
The medicinal leech, one of 650 leech species, is a 10 centimeter (4 inch)-long carnivorous (flesh and blood-eating) worm, found naturally in European bogs and ponds.
The development of muscle patterns in soft-bodied bilaterian animals is not well understood, with most recent information coming from investigations of acoelomate flatworms (2, 3) and the medicinal leech, a derived annelid (4, 5).
Anglers have discovered that the medicinal leech (Hirudo medicinalis) is particularly attractive to Rainbow Trout.
LEECH Used by doctors in the 18th and 19th centuries for blood letting, the medicinal leech is now rare in the UK,surviving in only 20 lakes -four of which are on Anglesey.
German researchers have found that treatment with the medicinal leech Hirudo medicinalis can provide rapid and extended relief of osteoarthritis pain.
And Dr Sawyer, who led an expedition into the heart of the Amazon jungle to find a rare species of medicinal leech to establish Biopharm, says many more uses will be found for substances naturally produced by the creatures.
The leech farm was created by former University of Wales, Swansea scientist Dr Roy Sawyer, who led an expedition into the Amazonian jungle to find rare medicinal leech specimens.