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Live, medicinal leeches fouand in cloth bags on flight from Russia
A Niagara Falls, Ont., man has been fined $15,000 after he was caught flying into Canada with a suitcase full of leeches.
Ippolit Bodounov tried to smuggle 4,788 live, medicinal leeches in his carry-on luggage on Oct. 17, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC). He'd just flown from Russia to Toronto's Pearson International Airport.
Bodounov carried the leeches in a large reusable grocery bag, said Gerry Brunet, operations manager of ECCC's wildlife enforcement directorate, based in Burlington, Ont. Within that bag were 10 smaller, dampened cloth bags.
A dog working with border agents smelled the leeches, Brunet said.
"This is our first large-scale illegal leech import," he said, though the ministry sees a lot of illegally imported reptiles, turtles, tortoises and snakes.
The ministry sent the leeches to the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, where Sebastian Kvist, curator of invertebrate zoology, identified them as Hirudo verbana, a threatened medicinal leech.
Surprisingly, all the leeches survived, Kvist said.
About 240 were then sent to the American Museum of Natural History in New York, where DNA sequencing of their stomach contents revealed they were caught in the wild.
People have been harvesting the breed for medicinal purposes since medieval times, Kvist said. "New age medicine" practitioners use them for everything from lessening arthritis pain to preventing baldness, he said, although there's no scientific proof that this works.
The only proven use of leeches in medicine, he said, is to stimulate blood flow in reattached fingers and toes. In some cases, they also deter strokes. Medicinal leeches sell for between $8 and $20 per leech, he said.
Not only are they threatened, and unregulated, but they're an invasive species too. Kvist said some leech populations exclusive to Europe have been found in Alberta because people drop them in local lakes when they're done with them.
Bodounov pleaded guilty on May 24 to violating the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act.
He was fined, and also banned for a year from importing, exporting and possessing any animals regulated through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
Brunet said illegal wildlife trade is worth about $20 billion a year.
"Canada does not tolerate the exploitation of threatened species for profit," he said.
Some leeches were sent to the American Museum of Natural History in New York, where tests determined they were caught in the wild. (Shutterstock)
Leeches control the matrix
Matrix is the main substance of the connective tissue surrounding blood vessels and inner organs. It
fulfills a number of functions which can be classified as protective. At first it is matrix that controls the
supply of nutrients and oxygen from capillaries and other vessels to other organ cells. The
transportation function of the cardio-vascular system is of primary significance, so matrix work on taking
substances from blood flow and removing new metabolites is the most important task for the
connective tissue surrounding capillaries.
Blood is normally rich in
functionally saturated proteins such as albumin and globulins. There are so many proteins that they
cause the diffusion of the connective tissue fluid that flows into vessels. This is the way how the
exchange via capillary walls occurs. The fluid pressure difference in venous and artery vessels of small
size creates the filtration pressure inside them, which regulates the flow process of tissue fluid into
capillaries and back.
Pathological changes in capillary permeability
induced by shock due to traumatic or inflammatory lesions of the vascular system lead to violating
metabolic processes in tissues, including those expressed in edemas, when the fluid actively moves from
capillaries into tissues and accumulates there.
The next task of the protective layer is to block foreign biological agents (foreign
proteins, viral particles, bacteria) penetrating into the blood flow, as they can cause allergic reactions,
inflammations of infections. If foreign protein molecules and microbes were not destroyed in the blood
flow in time, they would freely move around the body and damage cell walls inducing their irritation an
Thanks to the matrix microbes and other agents remain in the blood stream,
where the human immune system neutralizes them: they are gradually eaten by huge protective cells
(leukocytes from the group of phagocytes) or bound by specific proteins called antibodies. The
protective system of the blood flow is supported by the biological activity of particular globulins
saturating blood. These substances are called immunoglobulins.
As some recent research has revealed the effect of leech saliva enzymes
extends much further than the vascular endothelium. These substances deeply penetrate into the layer
of connective tissue fibres lining the outside of capillaries, venules and arterioles. Orgelaza is to be
considered one of the most significant among such enzymes, it has been discovered quite recently, and
it can liquefy the matrix.
Orgelaza increases the wall permeability of small blood vessels, firstly, that of capillaries. The
presence of the substance with such properties in the leech saliva can be explained very simply. It is
another "cunning invention" of evolution. Parasites tried to support the high efficiency of their saliva
secretion due to the influence not only and not so much on the local vascular system, but also on the
distant adjacent branching capillaries, venules and arterioles.
It would allow worms to
successfully control blood nutritional quality. But the further saliva enzymes moved, the more body
tissues blocked them. That is why parasites needed a fundamentally new saliva component which
would change properties of tissues adjacent to the blood flow and the ones making up vessels.
The enzyme hits human
body cells responsible for metabolism between blood and other tissues. As a result, a leech prepares the human blood in our own body to be digested. Orgelaza promotes the active spread of leech
anticoagulants in the blood flow, turning our body into a big jar with huge supplies of high-quality blood.
This most powerful hit of the enzyme, if we
could efficiently dose its introducing into the organism using the hirudotherapy techniques, won’t turn
out to be disruptive. The medical enzyme effect stabilizes substance transfer, open access to cells for
biologically active compounds, intensifies blood micro-circulation around the damaged organ. The latter
is implemented in a triple way.
At first, as it has been told, orgelaza together with other
leech enzymes liquefy blood and increases its flow speed along capillaries. Secondly, this substance
activates a great number of closed capillaries. These closed capillaries present an amazing phenomenon
in the human physiology. Mostly, the body doesn’t use its possibilities in full. This reserve is employed
only in emergency. Otherwise, our body will be worn too soon. Blood can flow much faster along
capillaries than it usually does.
The living tissue circulation drastically increases when we do sport
or physical work, when it is necessary to quickly supply muscles with oxygen and nutrients as well as
clean the body of intensively accumulated metabolites (metabolism products). It Is natural that this load
increase requires to enlarge the vascular system capacity.
Partly, it can be achieved through the temporary size increase of
capillaries, venules and arterioles. But mainly the body enlarges the system capacity due to opening
precapillary sphincters of closed, “extra” capillaries. While in rest, most of our vessels are always closed,
these are reserve ways of blood transfer. Only 10% of capillaries off their total number constantly work.
We can see
that the body has a tremendous reserve. It is necessary to increase the blood flow speed at some
diseases when stagnant symptoms ate noted in the circulatory system. This is where we need these
closed reserve capillaries. Orgelaza promotes their opening. At last, the third way of intensifying blood
circulation by this enzyme has been recently discovered: there is a high probability that orgelaza invokes
the growth of new small vessels, that is, the blood system capacity grows due to the appearance of new
ducts – capillaries, though many specialists are very careful when talking about this fact.
Thus, physiological consequences of introducing orgelaza
into the connective tissue matrix are the disappearance of edemas, recovery of fluid balance,
inflammation removal, normalization of blood microcirculation in organs, stabilization of plasma protein
fraction concentration, partial structural renewal of tissues, providing the substance transportation and
When considering the
range of enzyme activities produced by a medicine leech, it is easy to make a conclusion that doctors
use this hirudotherapy technique specifically. The main indication for employing leeches is thrombosis,
thrombophlebitis and similar diseases connected with the increased blood clotting and massive
formation of clots in the blood flow.
Also, leeches help at such inflammatory processes when capillaries are seriously
damaged, which leads to the violation of blood microcirculation in organs and tissues. Finally, raising
blood fluidity and improving capillary wall structures, leech saliva substances promote eliminating
stagnation in the blood system. Therefore, hirudotherapy is of use at such diseases where the leading
pathogenesis factors are clotting, vessel damage, inflammation, blood and lymph stagnation.
Hirudotherapist do not always recommends using leeches, because it is easy to take drugs prepared on the basis of the enzyme
mixture from leech saliva.
pharmacological preparation made from the leech saliva extract was hirudin. Its mass production as a
raw form from head ends of a regular medicine leech was established in the 1920s, and at the beginning
of the 1960-s the protein was obtained in a purified form. Nowadays it is used to substitute heparin.
Recently a number of new and efficient means made in a similar way have appeared.
First of all, they are hirulogs and hirogens. These compounds possess man properties
of hirudin, but chemically they are short synthetic segments of this enzyme. There are produced on our
country and some other countries when the demand for the anticoagulant went up. The traditional
production of raw hirudin out of leech extract did not meet medicine needs anymore.
engineered hirudin works both as anticoagulant and helps at heart diseases, but it is too expensive.
Though being very useful, only few customers can afford it. Only the material artificially synthesized in
big quantities “in vitro” can be cheap. The above-mentioned molecule segments of real hirudin can be
such a primitive substance which is relatively easy to produce.
About 15 years ago the biology
department of MSU started developing a new preparation out of leech saliva extract. At the moment
the work has been generally finished. The preparation has been recently allowed to be used in clinics
after passing all the necessary tests, so soon it will appear in medical practice.
This preparation is a complex of various active substances and produces thrombolytic, anti-thrombolytic and anti-inflammatory
effects. “Piyavit” is designated for treating surface veins, but it may be employed in some other cases.
Its full range of properties is still under investigation. Besides, some unfinished studies of several
promising preparations have been recently performed, and they are expected to appear on slae in the
- After the treatment it is advisable to put leeches in a glass container, cover it with thick cloth or with a lid (no need to make the holes), the jar should be half filled with settled water so that clean leeches can stick to the walls;
- It is better to keep leeches in a cool place (in the refrigerator: at t=0-5 C), where they can hibernate, it allows them to live without nutrition up to 5 months;
- Change the water in the jar when you notice turbidity, but not less than once every 3 days, try not to change the water temperature. Of course, water should be settled (without clorine);
- It is recommended that each family member has his or her own jar of leeches. Avoid applying the same leeches to different people, however, it is better to apply the same leeches to the same person, because leech produces immunity to it’s “owner” and “selects” a special salivary glands secretion for every person;
- Each family member should take care of his or her own leeches, change water, clean the jar, because leeches can feel their owner’s mood and his or her attitude;
- Before carrying out a leech treatment it is better to put leeches in a "warm" place (at room temperature) for 40 minutes;
- After every treatment, "used" leeches need to stay in the "quarantine" (in a separate jar) for about a day, then you can put them in the same jar with “hungry” ones;
- To determine if the leeches are ready put a hand inside the jar with leeches and wiggle your fingers. If leeches rush to the hand, then it's time to feed them.
After the course of treatment, you can keep the leeches for further use, if the leeches have served their time, disposal should be done in compliance with all the medical instrumentthatwas exposed to bloodoperation regulations. Pour 96% alcohol in the jar (or any other strong antiseptic (e.g., chlorine)) for up to 12 hours; then they can be thrown away in a trash container.
Treating with leeches is the key to your ideal health as well as getting rid from various diseases people have been facing since the ancient times.
There is no person who doesn’t wish to look fit and strong, but it is not always possible in our modern world.
If you do not want to take expensive preparations, which produce different negative effects on the body, it is worth while studying to put leeches at home.
If you do not want to take expensive preparations, which produce different negative effects on the body, it is worth while studying to put leeches at home.
Hirudotherapy performed on your own is one of the methods to remove some illnesses, which was tested by time.
General information on hirudotherapy
General information on hirudotherapy. To get a tentative idea about these natural healers, it is
necessary to see what leeches exist in nature. There are more than 400 types of them, and approximately a quarter inhabits small fresh water ponds on the territory of our country.
Of course, only few of their variety can be used for medicine. You should apply to special medical organisations and pharmacies to get the appropriate type.
The therapeutic effect of leeches consists in their capability to transfer more than 150 useful biological substances through their saliva while they are sticking to a person’s skin and vessels.
Scientists have stated through numerous investigations that there is a certain regularity revealed in the process of hirudotherapy, namely, not only do definite diseases disappear but also the immunity strengthens, which promotes a faster recovery from these or those pathologies.
The most important thing is to know points where to put leeches and understand where they can’t be
Indications for hirudotherapy
It is of great significance that the correctly performed hirudotherapy is not accompanied by any side effects. This therapeutic method is used to cure various diseases.
Indications for hirudotherapy. There are such diseases as:
- vegetovascular dystonia, headache and pressure;
- acquired and congenital heart diseases;
- joint diseases;
Besides, leeches can produce a great positive effect in case of infertility and during rehabilitating after stroke.
Hirudotherapy is often used in modern cosmetology for facial rejuvenation, properties and effects of leeches efficiently help to get rid of wrinkles.
This method can be also used at less serious diseases such as colds, they can help with coughs at bronchitis and significantly relieve sinusitis.
Before starting to employ hirudotherapy at home, it is better to consult a doctor who will explain how to put leeches correctly, whether it is allowed to put leeches during menses, as everything depends on the monthly cycle nature.
The main advantage of such
a treatment is that you can feel substantial relief just after two or three hirudotherapy sessions.
Hirudotherapy – how do leeches treat?
The main rules of hirudotherapy
The main rules of hirudotherapy.
Those, who want to use hirudotherapy at home, have to buy them in the pharmacy. The reason is that it is a living creature which should be kept in accordance with definite rules.
They should be kept in a glass vessel put into the dark place. If this rule is not observed, leeches will quickly die.
It is very important to control daily the general state of leeches. If they are in a normal condition, they curl up at a slight touch. Such
leeches can be used. If there is any slowness, such leeches should not be used.
There are some rules to be observed by a person who will undergo the treatment with leeches. Just before the session you should not eat too much, that is to get your stomach full of too nourishing food.
Your skin should be cleaned but without using any cosmetic means, because any smells can frighten leeches. This type of the blood-sucking does not like any smells, therefore, there should not be any both on your body and in the room. So, it is better to avoid using any sprays.
As for the rules during the session, the following should be mentioned:
1.The rules during the session. Only one leech must be used during the first session.
2. Their number should be increased with each session until it reaches 7-10 leeches.
3.The total session duration may range from 10 min up to 1 hour.
4.During the session a person can feel slight pricking and moving along his/her body. The session ends when a leech falls off the skin surface.
5.The bite can be treated with iodine or covered with a bandage.
Each person has an individual organism which is characterized by their peculiarities. So, the reaction can be different.
If there is little itching, you have to avoid scratching this place, but you should not get afraid, as this is just the body reaction on the treatment.
You should take into account that hirudotherapy performed at home is often accompanied by weakness and dizziness. Therefore, it is desirable to invite somebody, for example, your relative, to stay nearby during this medical session.
On average, the therapy course takes from I month up to one and a half months. As for the frequency of
sessions, you can do it every day except for some illnesses.
After the main course you can have some supporting therapy, when you perform the procedure once in two or three days.
After the session it is prohibited to visit saunas. Even you must not take a shower on the same day, only next day.
Peculiarities of curing different diseases
The advantage of leech treatment is that you can get rid of many diseases without taking expensive and complicated medicine preparations. Here are the most popular diseases to be cured and the rules
Cardio-vascular pathologies. These diseases are primarily connected with high slagging of vessels. Deposits can cause the slowing of the blood flow along vessels and the accumulation of new deposits.
To clean efficiently vessels, leeches should be put onto the following places:
- the heart projection area;
- next to sick veins, in case of varicose veins;
- temples and parietal bumps;
- sacrum and behind ears.
Leeches influence these spots, which significantly improves the blood supply of the brain, and the outflow of venous blood is completely restored as well as various deposits are dissolved in the spine area.
can dissolve different deposits on vessel walls as well as liquefy blood. It produces positive effects on the
Hirudotherapy is applied against this pathology only if sugar blood level is completely
stabilized. To improve a patient’s condition, it is necessary to put leeches onto the coccyx area.
They will provide blood with useful components, which will improve metabolism at diabetes and give some positive effects.
If you put leeches onto the inflamed skin, they will greatly accelerate the lymph flow and its outflow from the damaged spot. It will automatically produce a positive effect on
the skin surface regeneration.
One or two courses are enough for damaged spots to become pink, flexible, smooth and elastic.
To remove inflammation and heal wounds, it is necessary to put 3-7 leeches exactly onto inflamed areas. Several first sessions are daily carried out, after that the treatment can be applied every other day.
Doctors recommend having about 10 procedures per course, and the total number of courses should be a t least two.
Cosmetology and hirudotherapy
Cosmetology and hirudotherapy. Leeches can be of indispensable aid in skin rejuvenation and removal of wrinkles.
To achieve total rejuvenation effects, leeches should be placed onto biologically active points.
To firm the face oval, you should put leeches onto the eyelid area, collar zone, behind ears, under jaws and between eyebrows.
The peculiarity of this therapy is that procedures are performed every other day, up to 10 hirudotherapy sessions may be required altogether.
The skin condition gets much better just after two or three procedures, the number of wrinkles greatly decreases.
Genital organ treatment.
A great many of modern gynecological clinics employ hirudotherapy in their practical work. Leeches can cope with the pathologies that can be cured only surgically.
We can mention such diseases as:
1. Ovary cysts resorption.
3. Fallopian tubes obstruction.
4. Leeches are also use at prostatitis.
Leeches can’t cure these diseases on their own. This therapy may be used as an additional or preventive one.
Leeches reduce the risk of extrauterine pregnancy and contribute to nurturing a healthy baby. There are a large number of other female diseases that
disappear after the course, if leeches are put onto the navel.
As for male problems, their sperm motility raises as well as sperm quality. During the procedure 2-5 leeches are put onto the sacrum or the abdomen bottom.
The total treatment period is one week. The course can be repeated on the doctor’s recommendation after some definite time.
The diseases enumerated above are not the only ones that can be effectively cured with help of leeches. Here are some more widely spread pathologies and spots for putting leeches:
- Other eye diseases – the temple area at the eye level and mastoid processes;
- pathologies of biliary tracts and liver - the area of right hypochondrium and sacrum;
- radiculitis and other inflammations of nerve roots – both spine sides;
- problems with joints – sick areas;
- headache and dizziness – temples and the back of the head. 2-3 leeches will fast relieve the pain.
If you are interested in curing hemorrhoids with leeches, specialists indicate that it is possible to put them onto the area of coccyx and
It is very important to remember when using leeches that they are very sensitive both to smells and person’s mood. The leech activity directly reflects your internal mood.
Hirudotherapy should be carried out only if you are in good mood. It is of great importance so that to avoid damaging the person’s bioenergetics and reaching the maximally positive effect.
Diet during hirudotherapy
Diet during hirudotherapy. To achieve the optimal results from hirudotherapy, it is necessary to follow certain rules connecting with your diet.
During the treatment it is recommended to drink as much water as possible.
Hirudotherapy greatly improves the general water circulation in the body.
It is useful to take tea made of nettle leaves, which profoundly cleans human blood.
It is desirable to include such useful products as:
- beetroot juice;
- mineral water with lemon juice;
- porridge with pieces of dried apricots,
- bananas, apples and raisin.
This simple diet will bring a great effect during hirudotherapy if you exclude fried food, sweets and spices as well as fatty products.
It is desirable to give up your bad habits, which is not important only during hirudotherapy courses but also after them, for the rest of your life if you want to follow a healthy life style and exclude different diseases.
Despite the universal nature of the treatment and its positive effects there are certain counterindications.
The following can be mentioned among them:
1. Possible counterindications. A patient has a low blood pressure. Hirudotherapy can’t be performed at reduced blood clotting.
2. Low hemoglobin, if it is lower than 110 g/ml
3. Breastfeeding and pregnancy.
4. Prolonged bleeding after the procedure.
6. Manifestations of individual idiosyncrasy.
Before starting your treatment at home, you have to consult a specialist.
It is very important to determine how to put leeches at different diseases, how long they should there and how many procedures can be carried out.
If several definite rules are not observed, the treatment will be of no use, even more it can cause some bad consequences.
We pay our special attention to the period of menses when applying leeches. If leeches are used appropriately and there are no counterindications, they can
significantly improve the general health and relieve pains.
Hirudotherapy can be applied at regular and not very abundant menses, but if there is abundant bleeding, you should give up this kind of treatment.
The popularity of hirudotherapy is increasing every year. This is quite reasonable since the therapeutic and therapeutic features of leeches can be amazing.
Sometimes a person suffers from several illnesses simultaneously, and he/she has to take a lot of pills.
To reduce the number of pills taken and stop their harmful influence on the body, it is a good idea to pay attention at hirudotherapy.
A modern person lives in the era of information development, and professional services are accessible to everybody without any exceptions.
In spite of that, it is worth while visiting a hirudotherapist who will prompt how to put leeches correctly and arrange an individual schedule for each person. It will help to get rid of different pathologies.