These days, leeches have medicinal use such as treatment of blood clotting problems after surgery.
Now, in a study lead by Dr. Gustav J. Dobos from Kliniken Essen-Mitte, found that leech saliva contains anti-inflammatory substances and other chemicals, which could help relieve symptoms of arthritis.
In a study of patients with knee arthritis, Dobos’ team compared a single treatment with 4 to 6 leeches with that of a 28-day regimen of topical diclofenac-a common treatment for arthritis.
Leeches were applied to painful points of the affected knees of 24 patients and left in place for about 70 minutes, until they detached by themselves.
After 7 days, pain scores had improved to a much greater extent in the leeches group than in the diclofenac group.
Moreover, benefits in function, stiffness and total arthritis symptoms were maintained through 91 days of follow-up, the report indicates.
Wow, how’s that?! Leeches better than topical diclofenac! I guess, if you aren’t queasy about having leeches hanging on your knees and ankles. I will be queasy, believe me. Especially that as I child I was told to stay away from leeches. Until now, I am not scared of spiders and cockroaches, but I still stay away from swaps where leeches normally are.
Do you watch the hit show on ABC, Grey’s Anatomy? There’s one episode (in season 3) there where leeches were used in the treatment of one man’s (I’m not sure if it was) melanoma. The man has some sort of blood clots under the skin at the tip of his nose and fingers.
Watching that particular episode made me cringe from the insides, how much more if I would be the one being treated with them leeches, even for arthritis pain?
Would you agree to treatment with leeches?! I’d rather pop a pill – which is a lot easier for me.
Anyways, findings of the above study of leeches against arthritis pain were reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
According to the study’s authors, the treatment was safe and well tolerated, but leech therapy does carry certain infectious risks.
“But he doubts that the effect was probably anything more than would be seen with a skin irritant.
The more exciting aspect of this work is the potential for the discovery of a novel analgesic agent that could be safely administered without the need for a leech bite.”
So, leech therapy anyone?! Remember it is better than topical diclofenac against arthritis pain.
Source: Pakistan Tribune
[Photo Credit: BBC Health News]