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The mere mention of the term "leeches" makes most people cringe. Even more, people would be concerned about having them attached to their skin as part of their medical treatment plan. Leeches can be irritating, and their bites might itch, although they are rarely dangerous to people.
Leeches have been used in medicine for thousands of years. In ancient Greece and Egypt, bloodletting is a common practice, where blood was taken from a patient to prevent illness and heal disease.
Leeches were used more frequently than crude devices for bloodletting. Once attached to the patient's skin, leeches will feed on blood.
leech on hand.jpg
Leech sucking blood on a human's body
Today, despite all of modern medicine's technological achievements, we still rely on the leeches – to help us achieve a successful outcome in some post-surgical scenarios. So, to supply leeches for such medicinal uses, leech farming has been carried out.
Carl Peters - Bond is one such leech farmer at the company Biopharma Leeches, where the leeches are shipped to hospitals all around the world.
Over the years, the company's leeches have likely saved "hundreds of thousands of fingers, toes, and skin flaps.
  • The component of the body tissue that is surgically removed will heal on its own after plastic surgery. However, the tissue should receive continuous blood flow for a long enough time to repair.
  • Due to the coagulant qualities of blood (thrombin), there is a considerable chance of blood clots forming during some treatment, resulting in tissue death before auto repair.
  • Leeches are utilised in post-surgical operations to inhibit blood coagulation in the operative area because their saliva contains hirudin, an anticoagulant.
The leeches on hand
Kingdom Animalia is broadly classified into invertebrates and vertebrates, and leeches come under the invertebrates and phylum Annelida. Annelids are metamerically segmented worms with well-developed organ systems. Leeches are also segmented worms similar to earthworms.
The scientific name of the Indian cattle leech is Hirudinaria granulosa.
Taxonomical hierarchy of Hirudinaria granulosa:
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Annelida
Family Hirudinidae
Class Hirudinea
Order Gnathobdellida
Genus Hirudinaria
Species granulosa
In this topic, we are going to see in detail about Hirudinaria granulosa.