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Subject: [ROOTS-L] Re: Old Time Remedies
Date: Sun, 16 Mar 2003 21:55:12 EST

Actually the "critters" referred to in the below posting were probably not
leeches, they were most likely maggots.
Leeches are blood-suckers, they do not eat flesh, they simply suck the blood.
But using maggots to cleanse wounds of rotting flesh was done fairly often
before the appearance of sulfa and later other antibiotics. It was a very
common practice on battlefields because the wounds were often dirty and
infection was very common.

But the practice of using both leeches and maggots is becoming more in vogue
The frequent use of antibiotics has resulted in bacteria that is resistant to
the needed antibiotics and using maggots to clean up the necrotic (dead)
tissue in a wound, and get rid of the infection, is gaining in popularity
Leeches are being used by plastic surgeons and doctors that specialize in
reconstructive surgery which requires the repair of nerves and tiny blood
vessels. My son lost a finger in a work accident and the surgeon who
repaired it mentioned to him before surgery that if they felt it was
necessary they might be using leeches to rid the finger of the old blood
allowing the new to flow and ease the pressure on the repaired tissues.
Thankfully they didn't need to do that as it healed well.
There are actually hospitals that are raising leeches and maggots for such
purposes and selling them to other hospitals as well.
Not ALL the old ways were bad.
But you know... I would have a hard time with maggots in a wound or leeches
on my body.
Jo (whose skin is crawling right now)
Bare with me, I haven't read the previous email, but just wanted to let
you know, leeches were a good thing in the old days! They were applied
to wound and would cleanse the wound by literally eating up the
infection.  This was very useful in the days before antibiotics. My
grandfather saw them used during World War 1, in the trenches of
France. Antibiotics came into use, at least  sulfa, probably towards
the end of WW2. the others came into use in the 1950s.

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