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Abstract

A CONCEPTUAL REVIEW OF JALAUKAVACHARANA (LEECH THERAPY)

Dr. Suresh Kumar*, Prof. Mahesh Dixit, Prof. Harimohan Meena, Dr. Namonarayan Meena

Abstract

The basic Ayurvedic treatment is based on two principles viz. Shodhan chikitsa (elimination Therapy) and Shaman chikitsa (internal medicine). Shodhan Chikitsa deals with five purificatory procedures popularly known as Panchakarma. Acharya Susruta included Raktamokshana in Panchakarma and described it as the best procedure because it eliminates all three vitiated Doshas viz. Vata, Pitta & Kapha. The first description of Jalaukavacharana (leech therapy) is available in Sushruta Samhita written in 800 B.C. Recently, many pieces of research have proved that leech saliva has a variety of bioactive compounds including anti-thrombin (Hirudin, bufrudin), antiplatelet (calin), factor Xa inhibitors, antibacterial and other property. The main objective of the present article is to explore the procedures of leech therapy and research works done over a few decades on the application of leech therapy in different medicosurgical diseases. The procedure of leech therapy is documented from authors’ observations and information, and its application in different diseases is gathered from various published works of the last ten years. Many clinical pieces of research show that leech therapy is beneficial in various medico-surgical diseases. Leech therapy or Jalaukavacharan is an ancient Ayurvedic bloodletting technique that has the great potential to manage many inflammatory, ischemic, and infectious diseases. Leech’s saliva contains many biologically and pharmacologically active compounds that exert anticoagulant, antiplatelet, antiinflammatory, and anti-edema effects in the host’s body. Arthritis, venous congestion, vascular diseases, abscess, ischemic heart disease, gangrene etc. can be successfully managed by leech therapy.

Keywords: Jalaukavacharana, Raktamokshana, leech therapy, hirudin.


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