Ayurvedic Detox: Leeches Help You Live Longer

LeechesWhile most people squirm at the thought of blood sucking leeches, Ayurvedic medicine has had an obsession with these creatures for centuries. Leeches are a critical player in an age old form of Ayurvedic detoxification known as Rakta Moksha i.e. the letting of toxic blood. The technique, drawn from ancient Ayurvedic scriptures such as the Charak Samhita and the Sushrut Samhita has been a stronghold of Indian village medicine for centuries, says Dr. O.P. Singh of Banaras Hindu University, India’s renowned Ayurvedic educational institution.

The practice of rakta moksha using leeches has diminished considerably in Ayurvedic education and practice. Although university level courses are required to teach the theoretical aspects of this therapy, many do not offer practical education. But this is not a method that can be taught via chalk and blackboard; it takes dedicated time and patience to become well versed with species of leeches that not only suck infected blood but also salivate an enzyme called hirudin which has a therapeutic effect on toxic blood clots.

While interning at Vaidya Paranjpe’s clinic in Mumbai, I was trained to care for the leeches as much as for the patient. Identifying the species was a challenge in itself: it took months to learn how to distinguish between low-lying swamp varieties versus the specific medicinal varieties used for therapy. Disinfecting the leeches in in turmeric water was an essential precursor to applying them onto the patient’s infected body part. The application in itself was easier said than done; on one hand I had to deal with the temperament of the patient and on the other hand with the temperament of the leeches. I remember struggling in vain one day to attach a ‘stubborn’ leech to a patient but no amount of coaxing could convince the particular leech to do so!

Once attached, a leech can suck approximately 10 ml of blood in approximately 30 minutes to an hour after which it automatically detaches from the body of the host. The infected body part of the patient is dusted with Mulhathi powder while the blood sucking leech is cleansed in turmeric once again to allow the organism to ‘vomit’ the diseased human blood sucked from host’s body.

Traditional Ayurvedic doctors who practice this form of detox are sometimes difficult to seek out as even today they tend to reside in rural India. The good news is that there is a renaissance in leech therapy is some of the more established Ayurvedic institutions. Banaras Hindu University is using leech therapy to cure diseases associated with aging including paralysis, hair loss and osteo-arthritis. And if that’s not hip enough, then consider the fact that celebrities like Demi Moore are swearing by leech therapy to keep themselves toxin free and youthful.

Now did you ever fathom that blood-sucking worms could meet your style and anti-aging needs?

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18 Responses to Ayurvedic Detox: Leeches Help You Live Longer

  1. Pingback: Leech Therapy for Hair Loss | Reenita's Wisdom

  2. Chandrakalah says:

    Dear Sir /Madam

    I would like to visit your place for Leech therapy. Kindly contact me in the above email address to further discuss the procedures. I need to advise regarding detox.

  3. Sarwar Jahan says:

    Dear sir,

    I’m Sarwar Jahan, 30 years old from Bangladesh. I saw the leech therapy news in zee news.I’m suffering hair loss problem for many years. Is this therapy helpfull for me ?
    please send me adress where leech therapy use.

    Is this therapy Bangladesh too ?

    please send me the address soon.

    MY mail add: sjahan_aust@yahoo.com


    Sarwar jahan.

  4. SrinivasaRao says:

    Dear Sir,

    I would like to visit your place for Leech therapy. Kindly contact me in the above email address to further discuss the procedures. I need to advise regarding blood clot in the head.


    • admin says:

      Thanks for your question. You might try visiting the clinic at Banaras Hindu University. My practice is based out of San Francisco.

  5. Harsh Raj says:

    this is harsh raj
    i am suffering from hair loss
    kindly give me your address

  6. Z Creado says:

    Dear Sir I wopuld like to know if this treatment is available in Mumbai and where is it as I have Thrombosis and vein blocks in both my legs.
    Thanks Z Creado

  7. z creado says:

    dear Madame,
    i read thru the great effects of leech teraphy and would like to do it as i have thrombosis vein problems heamotoma and arthiritis. do you know anywhere in mumbai where this practice is done
    mrs z creado

  8. moi says:

    i would like tyo make an appointment, if possible. please contact me asap. thank you

  9. drmaheshkumar says:

    i am dr.mahesh, post graduate in ayurveda practising leech therapy. i would like to know the difference between a medicinal leech and a non medicinal leech.

    • Reenita says:

      There are certain kinds of leeches that do not voluntarily attach themselves to suck blood. It depends on the breed.

  10. amar kumar says:

    Dear Sir,

    I would like to visit your place for Leech therapy. Kindly contact me in the above email address to further discuss the procedures. I need to advise regarding blood clot in the head.
    if you are providing me your cell phone number it’s benfical for me .

    amar kumar

  11. Vanja says:

    What a wonderful and informative article! Thank you for sharing this great info. Would you happen to know any therapists in NYC area? I have not been able to locate any.


  12. rashmi says:

    Hi,i m rashmi n i have alopecia all over my head,could you pls tell me how to contact you as i am looking for a treatment for the same.

  13. Well living longer anybody would do something for that !

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    İyi çalışmalar.

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