How Leeches Have Been Used To Help Hypertension

For over 2000 years, leeches have been placed on the human body to provide relief from various medical conditions. During the medieval ages, leeches were used in bloodletting in an attempt to restore the body’s four “humors.” Now, however, modern science has proved that the saliva from a leech bite provides a powerful anti-coagulant agent useful in the treatment of hypertension, as well as a host of other cardiovascular ailments. Because leech saliva contains the enzyme Hirudin capable of producing these anti-clotting properties, and there is a significant loss of blood during the therapy, “hypovolemic hemodilution” may occur, which directly lessens the pressure along blood vessel walls. This, in turn, may reduce the overall blood pressure of the hypertensive patient.


Contact a certified hirudotherapist and schedule an appointment. Depending on the severity of your condition, the duration of your appointment may take from 2 to 4 hours. Placement of the leeches on specific parts of the body, i.e., the chest, neck and upper back, is an important part of the therapy for hypertension. Also, the treatment will be ongoing, repeated several times a week for approximately 10 to12 sessions.

Cleanse the site where the leeches will be attached. Leeches prefer to attach themselves to clean skin.

Attach the leeches, one at a time, to 4 specified points running on a diagonal just under the right breast. The leeches are placed at these points on the initial visit. During several subsequent visits in the same week, increasing numbers of leeches will be placed along the back of the neck and across the shoulders.

Remain relaxed and relatively motionless while the medicinal leeches suck blood from the contact points on the skin. After several hours, the leeches will become replete, swell to many times their initial size, release contact with the patient’s skin, and then fall away. Once a leech has been used in hirudo therapy, it cannot be reused, as leeches will not feed again for six months to a year.

Apply a moistened, clean, soft cloth to leech bite sites. The anti-clotting quality of the leech saliva will cause blood to flow freely from the bite for quite some time. Have plenty of clean cloths on hand to absorb the blood. Begin a course of antibiotics, as leech bites can cause infection.

Blood flow increases at the sites where the leeches have had their meal, creating better circulation. Many patients feel better overall, rejuvenated, once the hirudotherapy sessions have concluded.

For over 2000 years