Leeches have been a medicinal tool since the 19th century and were actually cleared for use in hospitals in 2004.

Only 15 known species are used for medicinal purpose out of the 600 different species in existence. Leeches were used for ‘blood letting’ which was done to rid the body of poisons or disease. Leeches were also used to heal the wounded because of their saliva which contains compounds that help to heal open sores, gashes, gun wounds, etc. These are some of the compounds found in Leech saliva that I found on a website called leech.biz:

HirudinInhibits – blood coagulation by binding to thrombin
CalinInhibits – blood coagulation by blocking the binding of von Willebrand factor to collagen. Inhibits collagen- mediated platelet aggregation
Destabilase- Monomerizing activity. Dissolves fibrin. Thrombolytic effects
Hirustasin- Inhibits kallikrein, trypsin, chymotrypsin, neutropholic cathepsin G
BdellinsAnti-inflammatory- Inhibits trypsin, plasmin, acrosin
Hyaluronidase- Increases interstitial viscosity. Antibiotic
Tryptase inhibitor- Inhibits proteolytic enzymes of host mast cells
Eglins- Anti-inflammatory; Inhibit the activity of alpha-chymotrypsin, chymase, substilisin, elastase, cathepsin G
Factor Xa inhibitor- Inhibits the activity of coagulation factor xa by forming equimolar complexes
Complement inhibitors- May possibly replace natural complement inhibitors if they are deficient
Carboxypeptidase A inhibitors- Increases the inflow of blood at the bite site
Histaminelike substances- Vasodilator; Increases the inflow of blood at the bite site 


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