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• Hirudo medicinalis, the medicinal leech, has analgesic, anti-platelet, antimicrobial, and anticoagulant properties.
• Hirudotherapy is the use of leeches for medicinal purposes, and is mostly used in re-constructive surgeries.
• Hirudin is a thrombin inhibitor found in the salivary secretions of medicinal leeches. The synergistic effect of hirudin with vasodilatory substances (acetylcholine, histamine) secreted in leech saliva help to minimize blood pooling.
• Ultimately, hirudotherapy results in the restoration of micro-circulation and oxygen supply to the wounded tissue to enhance wound healing.
Reference: Singh AP. Medicinal leech therapy (hirudotherapy): a brief overview. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2010 Nov;16(4):213-215.
The Pharmacy Intern