Health and Ayurveda

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


This procedure is included under the five bio-purificatory procedures. Removal of impure blood from the body treats the root cause of the sufferings.

Ayurveda the great medical science of India is now practiced meagerly; but when the challenges of resistant cases are alarming day by day ayurveda is the only hope. No doubt each country has its own traditional medical system, which they practiced since centuries back but due to lack of a well written script it gradually disappears. In India traditional medical system is enriched with a well defined doshik (morbid) theory of disease etiology, types, clinical features, treatment modalities etc. in a very well organized and systematic way, and known as ayurveda. Charka samhita, susruta samhita, ashtanga smrgraha and ashanga hridaya are the base books while madhav nidana, sharangdhara samhita, bhava prakasha etc. are the supplementary books; because of these written textual books ayurveda is still practicing in India with great success. The main drawback of ayurveda is lack of proper literary and medicinal research as well as documentation of prior knowledge. Rakta mokshana or blood letting is practiced in India since thousands of years. Our saints included this procedure under the five bio-purificatory procedures; they said that removal of impure blood from the body treats the root cause of the sufferings.

Rakta mokshana by jalauka (Blood letting by leech)
Blood letting can be done by jalauka (leech) in those who are rich, weak, fearful sophisticated, old and in case of ladies.
Leech is sheet (cold) in nature so commonly used in pittaja and raktaj disorders.
Leeches first sucks the impure blood than the pure so when patient feels pricking pain and itching over the bite place leech should be removed.
Leech should undergo emesis, to expel the dirty blood

Jalauka bheda (types of leeches)
Savisha (poisonous)
  • Krishna – blackish, long head
  • Karbura – like Rohit fish, spiral lining over the body
  • Alagarda – hairy, lobulated
  • Indrayudha – rainbow like multicoloured
  • Samudrika – black-yellow, dotted
  • Gochandana – like scrotom of ox
Nirvisha (non poisonous)
  • Kapila – orpiment color, highly motile
  • Pingala – reddish, circular
  • Shankhamukhi – color like of liver, rapid sucking (commonly used)
  • Mushika – color and odor like rat
  • Pundarikamukhi – face like lotus
  • Savarika – 18 angula long, shape like lotus leaves
General review
There are two species of therapeutic medicinal leeches hirudo – medicinalis and hirudo-mychaelseni
This is a segmented worm of phylum-annelida
Leech has two suckers, one at each end, caudal (back end) and rostral (front end)
Front end with three sharp jaws that leave a ‘Y” shaped bite.
A leech can remain 30 minutes to 6 hours as it fills with blood
During feeding it can suck 5-15ml of blood
Following the suction process the leech can perform active movements after a week
The leech stores the sucked blood over months in its stomach and digests it within a period of one and a half years.
Leech saliva contains several bio-active substances including prostaglandins, vasodilators, anesthetics and anticoagulants.
Hirudin a potent anti coagulant found in leech saliva inhibits conversion of firbrinogen to fibrin, thus preventing blood clotting.
Other existing substances – calin, apyrase hyaluronidase, egline, destabliase, piyavit and kollaginase.

Maintenance of medicinal leeches
The leech will survive quite happily in a cool place provided the temperature does not exceed 15-25 degree Celsius.
Avoid direct exposure to sunlight to the leeches
The water where the leech resides should be declorinated and sterilized. When changing the water the replacement water is of same temperature as the previous.
For best results we should keep 2 leeches per 250ml of water
Naturally the leeches engulf algae, fish blood, flesh, etc

Ayurveda classical indications
  • Vidradhi (abscess)
  • Gulma (lump)
  • Arsha (Piles)
  • Kushtha (skin diseases)
  • Vatarakta (sclerosis)
  • Kantharoga (throat diseases)
  • Netraroag (eye diseases)
  • Granthi (cyst)
  • Arbuda (tumor)
  • Shlipada (filariasis)
  • Vidarika (rhagades)
  • Vishadamshtra (poisoning)
  • Visharpa (pemphigus)
  • Siroroga (headache)
  • Dantaveshta (dental disorders) etc
Other indications
  • Boils and abscess
  • Herpes zoster
  • Thrombosis
  • Thrombophlibitis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Gouty arthritis
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Sciatica
  • Wounds – diabetic, leprotic, pyogenic etc
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Psoriasis
  • Alopecia

Classical method of application
Purvakarma (before procedure)

Proper snehana (oleation) and swedana (sudation) of the patient
Purification of leech by pouring the leech in haridra (turmeric powder) and water
Part preparation – cleaning of place by turmeric water

Pradhana karma (main procedure)
Application of honey or blood or butter or by prachchan (making scar) at the desired site
Application of leech through its front end
Cover the leech by wet cotton
Removal of leech by dusting haridra churna (turmeric powder) after completion of blood letting

Paschata karma (after procedure)
Induction of emesis to the leech by dusting of haridra churna (turmeric powder) on its mouth
Sometimes pressing the leech from caudal to front end is required for proper emesis
Leech should be freed in fresh water, where it swims swiftly and then settles down.
Replace the leech in a clean jar or aquarium
Dusting of yashtimadhu (liquorice powder) churna and bandaging over the bite site

Frequency of leech application
It will vary according to the disease and severity
The leech should be applied once in a week up to six sittings
One leech should be reserved for a particular patient to avid cross infection
A few biochemical examination liked Hb%, TLC, DLC, blood urea, serum creatinine of patient blood and leech sucked blood does not show any change.

Complications of hirudotherapy
The infection caused by bacteria aeromonas-hydrophilia present in gut of leech, which can cause pneumonia, septicemia or gastroenteritis.
Excess blood loss, so contra indicated in patients of hemophilia or in other bleeding diathesis.
Allergic reactions such as itching followed by burning and blister formation
Ulcerative necrosis due to toxins present in leech saliva

The results on using leeches for blood letting are the severity of eczematous patch disappears, there is no new blister in pemphigus, joint pain and lesion are vanished in psoriasis and new hair roots appears in case of alopecia.
As said by sushruta it sucks the impure blood of the body; the impurity can be in terms of auto immune reactions, enzymatic and hormonal imblanance, or chemical imbalance etc.
Leech therapy is very effective in atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, alopecia, vitilito, filariasis, non healing ulcers, pemphigus

Dr. Vijay Kumar Srivastava
Dr. O. P. Singh
Prof. N. P. Rai
Global Ayurveda (Dec-Jan 2007)


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    By Blogger Unknown, at 10:04 AM  

  • Hi,
    Good to listen that leech therapy can cure Paralysis.

    Can I have any contact no. or any clinic which could be near Lucknow so that I could also get a patient cure from Paralysis

    By Blogger chotoo, at 5:17 AM  

  • good to hear that but is it true that the leech therapy can cure severe alopecia and if so please let me

    By Blogger Aaryan, at 10:47 AM  

  • an i have the address for this therapy centres in and arround ,mumbai?
    i cam also from ayurveda field
    revert back on
    hitesh mehta

    By Blogger Unknown, at 6:52 AM  

  • thank you for the valuable informations;;kindly let me know the application of jalauka in HERPES ZOSTER OPHTHALMICUS

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  • i have an acne problem along with scarred and patchy skin.....a doctor advised me leech therapy...but can there be side effects.......i am not sure if he has enough leeches to apply different for each that ok? ? pls advise

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  • Hi, Good to listen about the Leech Therepy. Can i get the Address of the clinic which is located in hyderabd or near by hyderabad.

    By Blogger nagarjuna, at 1:36 AM  

  • Hi, Good to listen about the Leech Therepy. Can i get the Address of the clinic which is located in hyderabd or near by hyderabad.

    By Blogger nagarjuna, at 1:39 AM  

  • sir,
    i have plac psoriasis, and have it for over 20 years. will leech therapy work for me? i did read the articals for it but i am still scaptical. please inform. thank you. have a great day.

    By Blogger jigna, at 2:24 PM  

  • Hi, Good to listen about the Leech Therepy. Can i get the Address of the clinic which is located in hyderabd or near by hyderabad or some where near vijayawada

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  • ITS GOOD ,

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  • Hi,can i know the clinics address in hyderabad.plz revert me back on

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  • is it hiv infetion proof. if so, how?

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