Leeches have a bad reputation, mainly because they suck (our blood), they are slimy slitherly creatures that are stealthy, able to latch onto us with their odd teeth without us noticing at all!
And yet for all of this, they are also remarkable useful in certain medical circumstances, a fact that has long been admired and utilized. In the time of the Egyptians and Greeks many believe they could "balance the humors" of the body, while in Victorian times it was seen as a general cure-all through the blood-letting it allowed for - hence you might keep some on hand in a pretty jar (as to the left) just in case.
Today doctors are bringing these critters back into the hospital, recognizing their beneficial uses in helping tissue recuperation and blood flow in cases of re-attachment surgery, skin grafts, and other cases. Here are some remarkable images to ponder.
In fact, supplying these bloodsuckers is becoming a nice business for some people!
Mario Martinez has made a nice zine about medicinal leeches (the 2009 update) to provide some small science perspective on these creatures and there uses.
- - Click HERE to download the PDF and print & fold it as a zine (two per sheet!)
- - Click on the image below to read it as a comic right here online: