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Home > News > PTI

Bloodsuckers can cure your ills!

November 09, 2004 11:59 IST
Last Updated: November 09, 2004 20:50 IST

Bloodsucking leeches, flesh-eating maggots and venomous lizards -- they are not a part of any horror movie plot but "offbeat treatment", which is slowly finding its way back into alternative medical practice.

American Food and Drug Administration has given clearance to a French company for commercial marketing of leeches as a medical device in the US. Offbeat treatments, both old and new are "eee-king" their way into more common practice all over the world and are found to have some amazing healing powers, doctors say.

"Leech therapy is a recognised minimal invasive Para surgical procedure and is a part of Ayurvedic surgery in India. In fact, leech therapy has its origin here," says Dr M S Lavekar, Director, Central Council for Research in Ayurveda and Siddha.

"Called Anushastra, it is in fact practised by Ayurvedic doctors all over the country, especially in government hospitals in Maharashtra, Pune and Kerala," says Dr Lavekar. They are used worldwide to help heal wounds and restore circulation in blocked blood vessels, he says.

Before antibiotics were developed, draining blood from the body was the prescription for scores of serious illnesses.

Maggots help heal wounds as they eat dead skin and tissue. According to a new research in the Journal of Clinical Infectious Diseases, wounds that got presurgical maggot therapy developed no infections after surgery.

According to Martin Abrahamson from the Joslin Diabetes Clinic in Boston, an experimental drug derived from Gila monster, a lizard, appears to help people with type 2 diabetes gain control over their blood sugar. In another study at Iowa College of Medicine, worms were used to ease stomach problems. The researchers found that eggs of Trichuris Suis or whipworm, relieved abdominal distress caused by inflammatory bowel disease.

"These worms have been around for three million years," says researcher Robert W Summers in an online report. About one-third of the world's population is walking around with them in their digestive tracts today and apparently having no problems, he says.

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