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1.  Interviews with the dead: using meta-life qualitative analysis to validate Hippocrates' theory of humours 
BACKGROUND: Hippocrates devised his theory of the 4 humours (blood, phlegm, black bile and yellow bile) 24 centuries ago. Since then, medicine has evolved into a complex body of confusing and sometimes contradictory facts. The authors, seeing a need to determine the validity of his theory, hired a psychic. METHODS: The psychic interviewed 4 eminent ancient physicians, including Hippocrates. A randomized double-blind cross-over design was used for this meta-life qualitative analysis. RESULTS: All of the interviewees agreed that the theory of humours is an accurate model to explain disease and personality. INTERPRETATION: Hiring a psychic to conduct after-death interviews with key informants is a useful way to validate scientific theories.
PMCID: PMC1229890  PMID: 9875254
2.  Khamiras, a natural cardiac tonic: An overview 
The Unani system of Medicine (Unanipathy), which originated in Greece, is based on the principles proposed by Galen, a Greek practitioner. Since then, many Arab and Persian scholars have contributed to the system. Among them Ibn-e-Sina, an Arab philosopher and Physicist who wrote ‘Kitab-al-shifa’ are worth mentioning. This system has an extensive and inspiring record in India. It was introduced in India around the tenth century A.D with the spread of Islamic civilization. At present, Unanipathy has become an important part of the Indian system of Medicine. Unani medicines have been used since ancient times, as medicines for the treatment of various ailments. In spite of the great advances observed in modern medicine in recent decades, Unani drugs still make an important contribution to healthcare. The Unani system of medicine is matchless in treating chronic diseases like arthritis, asthma, mental, cardiac, and digestive disorders, urinary infections, and sexual diseases. The medicines administered go well with the temperament of the patient, thus speeding up the process of recovery and also reducing the risk of drug reaction. The Unani system of medicine recognizes the influence of the surroundings and ecological conditions on the state of health of human beings. The system aims at restoring the equilibrium of various elements and faculties of the human body. It has laid down six essential prerequisites for the prevention of diseases and places great emphasis, on the one hand, on the maintenance of proper ecological balance, and on the other, on keeping water, food, and air free from pollution. These essentials, known as ‘Asbab-e-Sitta Zarooriya’, are air, food, and drink, bodily movement and repose, psychic movement and repose, sleep and wakefulness, and excretion and retention. The Unani system is a secular system in temperament and is popular among the masses. In Unani medicine, although the general preference is for single drugs, compound formulations are also used in the treatment of various complex and chronic disorders. In the light of the present knowledge, this review is a small effort to discuss the efficacious nature of ‘Khamira’, a semi-solid preparation, which is traditionally used for cardiac ailments, such as, palpitations, weakness of the heart, and so on. On the basis of their constituents these are named as, Khamira Aabresham, Khamira Gaozaban, Khamira Marwareed, and so on. Khameeras are also used as general tonics for other vital organs like the liver and brain. In view of the increasing number of cardiac diseases, a thorough evaluation of this ancient work on Khamira is of special significance.
PMCID: PMC3147110  PMID: 21814439
Cardiotonic; khameera; Unani system of medicine
3.  Medicinal leech therapy in neurosurgical practice 
Journal of Injury and Violence Research  2012;4(3 Suppl 1): Paper No. 72.
Hirudo Medicinalis application in medicine has long been a matter of investigation since Hippocrates. The analgesic and anti-coagulant substances in the leeches’ saliva are used in treatment of venous thrombosis and varicose veins, arthralgia, rheumatologic diseases, low back and cervical pains. Aeromonas infections, excessive bleeding, anemia, and allergic reactions are among the most common complications reported with leech therapy.
The present study, reports leech therapy in two patients: one for sciatalgia and the other for deep venous thrombosis. Furthermore, a comprehensive review of the literature on different aspects of leech therapy with special focus on its neurosurgical applications and related dysfunctions is presented.
Leech therapy, Neurosurgical, Medicinal
PMCID: PMC3571598
4.  The Effect of Anchoring Sutures on Medicinal Leech Mortality 
Eplasty  2009;9:e29.
Objective: The implementation of leech therapy for surgical flaps is not always logistically easy or comfortable for patients or healthcare providers. We examine different methods of placing sutures in the medicinal leech, Hirudo medicinalis, to make the implementation of leech therapy easier. Methods: Sixteen leeches were randomly divided into 3 groups: a control group, a deep anchoring suture group, and a superficial anchoring suture group. The leeches were observed to determine if either of these methods had an adverse effect on survival compared with the control group. Results: No difference in survival time was observed across the different groups. Conclusion: The placement of anchoring sutures in leeches can ease the implementation of leech therapy by allowing for greater control of the leeches and thus increased patient comfort.
PMCID: PMC2714198  PMID: 19696874
5.  Prolonged venous bleeding due to traditional treatment with leech bite: a case report 
The medicinal leech, Hirudo medicinalis, has been used in the treatment of many diseases for thousands of years. In Turkey, it is used most commonly in the management of venous diseases of lower extremities.
Case presentation
A 25-year-old Turkish woman presented to our emergency room with bleeding from her left leg. She had been treated for varicose veins in her lower extremities with leeches about 24 hours before admission to the emergency room. The bleeding was controlled by applying pressure with sterile gauze upon the wound, and she was discharged. She returned after four hours having started bleeding again. Hemostasis was achieved by vein ligation under local anesthesia.
Leech bite should be evaluated as a special injury. Prolonged bleeding can be seen after leech bites. In such cases, hemostasis either with local pressure or ligation of the bleeding vessel is mandatory.
PMCID: PMC3108320  PMID: 21548915
6.  In-vitro evaluation of selected Egyptian traditional herbal medicines for treatment of alzheimer disease 
Egyptians recognized the healing power of herbs and used them in their medicinal formulations. Nowadays, “Attarin” drug shops and the public use mainly the Unani medicinal system for treatment of their health problems including improvement of memory and old age related diseases. Numerous medicinal plants have been described in old literature of Arabic traditional medicine for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) (or to strengthen memory).
In this study, some of these plants were evaluated against three different preliminary bioassays related to AD to explore the possible way of their bio-interaction. Twenty three selected plants were extracted with methanol and screened in vitro against acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and cycloxygenase-1 (COX-1) enzymes. In addition, anti-oxidant activity using DPPH was determined.
Of the tested plant extracts; Adhatoda vasica and Peganum harmala showed inhibitory effect on AChE at IC50 294 μg/ml and 68 μg/ml respectively. Moreover, A. vasica interacted reversibly with the enzyme while P. harmala showed irreversible inhibition. Ferula assafoetida (IC50 3.2 μg/ml), Syzygium aromaticum (34.9 μg/ml) and Zingiber officinalis (33.6 μg/ml) showed activity against COX-1 enzyme. Potent radical scavenging activity was demonstrated by three plant extracts Terminalia chebula (EC50 2.2 μg/ml), T. arjuna (3.1 μg/ml) and Emblica officinalis (6.3 μg/ml).
Interestingly, differential results have been obtained which indicate the variability of the mode of actions for the selected plants. Additionally, the reversible interaction of A. vasica against AChE and the potent activity of F. assafoetida against COX-1 make them effective, new and promising agents for treatment of AD in the future, either as total extracts or their single bioactive constituents.
PMCID: PMC3701527  PMID: 23721591
Egyptian herbal medicine; Unani medicine; Alzheimer’s disease; Anti-acetylcholinesterase; Anti-inflammatory; Anti-oxidant; Adhatoda vasica; Ferula assafoetida
7.  Efficacy of leech therapy in the management of osteoarthritis (Sandhivata) 
Ayu  2011;32(2):213-217.
Osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease) is the most common joint disorder. It mostly affects cartilage. The top layer of cartilage breaks down and wears away. Osteoarthritis is of two types, primary (idiopathic) and secondary. In idiopathic osteoarthritis, the most common form of the disease, no predisposing factor is apparent. Secondary OA is pathologically indistinguishable from idiopathic OA but is attributable to an underlying cause. In Ayurveda the disease Sandhivata resembles with osteoarthritis which is described under Vatavyadhi. The NSAIDs are the main drugs of choice in modern medicine which have lots of side effects and therefore are not safe for long-term therapy. Raktamokshan, i.e., blood letting is one of the ancient and important parasurgical procedures described in Ayurveda for treatment of various diseases. Of them, Jalaukavacharana or leech therapy has gained greater attention globally, because of its medicinal values. The saliva of leech contains numerous biologically active substances, which have antiinflammatory as well as anesthetic properties. Keeping this view in mind we have started leech therapy in the patients of osteoarthritis and found encouraging results.
PMCID: PMC3296343  PMID: 22408305
Jalaukavacharana; leech therapy; osteoarthritis; sandhivata
8.  History of the Leech Trade in Ireland, 1750–1915: Microcosm of a Global Commodity 
Medical History  2013;57(3):420-441.
In the nineteenth century the medicinal leech Hirudo medicinalis evolved into a lucrative commodity in great demand throughout the western world. In less than a century its trade became big business by any measure, involving tens of millions of animals shipped to every inhabited continent. In this context Ireland is particularly instructive in that it was the first country in Europe to exhaust its supply of native leeches. Concomitantly, it was also the first country to import leeches from abroad, as early as 1750. Being an island with manageable border controls, and a clearly definable medical market, Ireland serves superbly as a microcosm of the leech as a worldwide commodity. Being a relative small country it is possible for the first time to gain a balanced perspective of various economic factors underlying this trade, including supply and demand, exploitation of natural resources, and an evolving network of competitive traders.
This paper addresses these and other aspects of the leech trade in Ireland. The principal, and unexpected, finding of this paper is that leeches were unequivocally very expensive in Ireland and became a significant drain on hospital budgets. As such, they found little use amongst the Irish poor. An estimate of several million leeches were imported into Ireland in the nineteenth century, a practice which continued into the twentieth. They were imported initially from Wales and then from France following the defeat of Napoleon, but the bulk came ultimately from Hamburg, via importers in England.
PMCID: PMC3865943  PMID: 24069887
Hirudo medicinalis; Leeches; Ireland; Dublin; Belfast; Commodity
9.  A rare case of adverse effects caused by leech bite 
Patient: Female, 42
Final Diagnosis: Leech bite
Symptoms: —
Medication: —
Clinical Procedure: —
Specialty: Infectious diseases
Unusual clinical course
Hirudo medicinalis (H. Medicinalis), also referred to as the medical leech, not only has been used by alternative medicine since ancient times, but it has also been used in modern medical care in the last century. This report introduces and discusses some rare complications from leech bite, beyond external skin hemorrhage.
Case Report:
A 42-year-old woman was referred to our emergency room with painful and itchy lesions on her feet and legs. Because of her knee and leg pain, about 14 leeches were adhered onto both her legs. There were left rubor, tumor and some other areas of itching on leech-adhered regions. In physical examination, the right popliteal region and the same leg posterior area lesions were erythematous, edematous, and plaque-like shaped, as well as ecchymotic and hemorrhagic areas at the centre of the lesions.
In this article we present the case of a woman referred to our emergency department with skin findings related to a leech bite. We could not find any report about regional subcutaneous hematoma and cutaneous reactions in the literature. H. medicinalis may cause ecchymosis and various skin lesions, not only external skin bleeding. Physicians should keep in mind leech bite in patients with itchy lesions on the calves, knees, and feet.
PMCID: PMC3700494  PMID: 23826465
leech bite; complications of leech bite; regional subcutaneous hematoma; cutaneous reactions
10.  Effect of a Polyherbal Unani formulation in acne vulgaris: A preliminary study 
Acne vulgaris is the most common disorder treated by dermatologists. Acne is a disease of pilosebaceous units characterized by the formation of the open and closed comedones, papules, pustules, nodules and cysts. A preliminary trial was conducted in the department of Medicine, National Institute of Unani Medicine, Bangalore, India, to assess the safety and efficacy of a Polyherbal Unani Formulation (PHUF) in the management of Acne Vulgaris on scientific parameters. Twenty five patients, diagnosed with acne, were included in the study after obtaining their informed consents. All the patients were clinically assessed and diagnosed on the basis of thorough history and dermatological examination. Then, PHUF was administered locally once at night for a period of 45 days. The severity of acne and efficacy of treatment was assessed by Cook′s acne grading scale. The results showed significant reduction in the Cook′s acne grading scores of post-treatment group (P<0.01) as compared to pre-treatment scores. Further, PHUF was found safe and fairly well accepted by the patients. It was therefore, concluded that PHUF can be used safely and effectively for the treatment of acne vulgaris.
PMCID: PMC3545236  PMID: 23326087
Acne vulgaris; Basoore Labaniya; Polyherbal Unani formulation; Cook's acne grading scale
11.  Differentially Expressed Genes in Hirudo medicinalis Ganglia after Acetyl-L-Carnitine Treatment 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e53605.
Acetyl-l-carnitine (ALC) is a naturally occurring substance that, when administered at supra-physiological concentration, is neuroprotective. It is involved in membrane stabilization and in enhancement of mitochondrial functions. It is a molecule of considerable interest for its clinical application in various neural disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease and painful neuropathies. ALC is known to improve the cognitive capability of aged animals chronically treated with the drug and, recently, it has been reported that it impairs forms of non-associative learning in the leech. In the present study the effects of ALC on gene expression have been analyzed in the leech Hirudo medicinalis. The suppression subtractive hybridisation methodology was used for the generation of subtracted cDNA libraries and the subsequent identification of differentially expressed transcripts in the leech nervous system after ALC treatment. The method detects differentially but also little expressed transcripts of genes whose sequence or identity is still unknown. We report that a single administration of ALC is able to modulate positively the expression of genes coding for functions that reveal a lasting effect of ALC on the invertebrate, and confirm the neuroprotective and neuromodulative role of the substance. In addition an important finding is the modulation of genes of vegetal origin. This might be considered an instance of ectosymbiotic mutualism.
PMCID: PMC3537667  PMID: 23308261
12.  Standardization of the finished product: Habbe Irqun Nisa - A Unani anti-inflammatory formulation 
Ancient Science of Life  2012;32(1):38-44.
Habb (Pill) is one of the important dosage forms of Unani system of medicine. A number of effective formulations are manufactured in form of Habb because of its various advantages. Out of these, Habbe Irqun Nisa (HI) is a popular anti-inflammatory formulation used in the treatment of Warame Mafasil (arthritis) and Irqun Nisa (sciatica). Nowadays, with increased incidence of these diseases many non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are being used in their treatment. Owing to the adverse effects of these drugs, the use of herbal medicines is seen as a better alternative. The basic requirement for the development of Unani system of Medicine is the standardization of single and compound drugs. HI is mentioned in National Formulary of Unani Medicne and selected for the present study.
Materials and Methods:
HI was prepared manually with the powder of crude drugs, passed through sieve no. 100 and mixed with 1% w/w of gum acacia in mucilage form. It was then dried at 60°C for 90 min and then tested for its standardization on different physicochemical parameters, e.g. organoleptic properties, pH values, moisture content, ash values, friability, hardness, weight variation, disintegration time, and thin layer chromatography (TLC).
Results and Conclusion:
The data evolved from this study will make it a validated product and will help in the quality control of other finished products in future research.
PMCID: PMC3733206  PMID: 23929993
Anti-inflammatory; Habb; standardization; Unani system of medicine
13.  Diversity and selective pressures of anticoagulants in three medicinal leeches (Hirudinida: Hirudinidae, Macrobdellidae) 
Ecology and Evolution  2013;3(4):918-933.
Although medicinal leeches have long been used as treatment for various ailments because of their potent anticoagulation factors, neither the full diversity of salivary components that inhibit coagulation, nor the evolutionary selection acting on them has been thoroughly investigated. Here, we constructed expressed sequence tag libraries from salivary glands of two species of medicinal hirudinoid leeches, Hirudo verbana and Aliolimnatis fenestrata, and identified anticoagulant-orthologs through BLASTx searches. The data set then was augmented by the addition of a previously constructed EST library from the macrobdelloid leech Macrobdella decora. The identified orthologs then were compared and contrasted with well-characterized anticoagulants from a variety of leeches with different feeding habits, including non-sanguivorous species. Moreover, four different statistical methods for predicting signatures of positive and negative evolutionary pressures were used for 10 rounds each to assess the level and type of selection acting on the molecules as a whole and on specific sites. In total, sequences showing putative BLASTx-orthology with five and three anticoagulant-families were recovered in the A. fenestrata and H. verbana EST libraries respectively. Selection pressure analyses predicted high levels of purifying selection across the anticoagulant diversity, although a few isolated sites showed signatures of positive selection. This study represents a first attempt at mapping the anticoagulant repertoires in a comparative fashion across several leech families.
PMCID: PMC3631404  PMID: 23610634
Anticoagulant; evolution; FEL; Hirudinida; medicinal leeches; PARRIS; REL; selection pressures; SLAC
14.  Anti-inflammatory and Antihistaminic Study of a Unani Eye Drop Formulation 
The Unani eye drop is an ophthalmic formulation prepared for its beneficial effects in the inflammatory and allergic conditions of the eyes. In the present study, the Unani eye drop formulation was prepared and investigated for its anti-inflammatory and antihistaminic activity, using in vivo and in vitro experimental models respectively. The Unani eye drop formulation exhibited significant anti-inflammatory activity in turpentine liniment-induced ocular inflammation in rabbits. The preparation also showed antihistaminic activity in isolated guinea-pig ileum. The anti-inflammatory and antihistaminic activity of eye drop may be due to presence of active ingredients in the formulation. Although there are many drugs in Unani repository which are mentioned in classical books or used in Unani clinical practice effectively in treatment of eye diseases by various Unani physicians. Inspite of the availability of vast literature, there is a dearth of commercial Unani ocular preparations. So, keeping this in mind, the eye drop formulation was prepared and its anti-inflammatory and antihistaminic activity was carried out in animal models. Thus, in view of the importance of alternative anti-inflammatory and antiallergic drugs, it becomes imperative to bring these indigenous drugs to the front foot and evaluate their activities.
PMCID: PMC3661513  PMID: 23861612
anti-inflammatory; antihistaminic activity; unani eye drop; turpentine liniment
15.  Clinical Study on the Management of Huzaz/Abria (Dandruff) with a pharmacopoeal Preparation of a Unani Medicine and its Cosmetic Evaluation 
Ancient Science of Life  2009;29(2):24-27.
Dandruff called Huzaz/Abria in Unani medicine is a common ailment in the world with easy options of treatment. Most of the treatment options have ignored the cosmetic aspect of hair. Unani medicine has got a vast array of drug formulation to evaluate the efficacy of Unani pharmacopoeal formulation in mild form of seborrhic dermatitis of scalp (dandruff). Its efficacy was compared with standard drug (2% ketakonazole shampoo). Patients were enrolled after ethical clearance and informed consent in the study. 30 patients were treated with Unani formulation and 20 patients with the standard drug. The assessment of various parameters like Itching, Scalp shedding, Erythema, Hair frizz, Hair combing ease, and Hair smoothness was made before and after 30 days. The assessments of the parameters were analyzed and compared using appropriate statistical tests. The study revealed that Unani formulation was equally effective as standard drug and the hair comesis was better than the standard drug as seen clinically, but was not statistically significant (p=0.576).
PMCID: PMC3336309  PMID: 22557347
Dandruff; Hair comesis; Unani Formulation; Hair Frizz; Hair combing ease
16.  55-Week Treatment of Mice with the Unani and Ayurvedic Medicine Pomegranate Flower Ameliorates Ageing-Associated Insulin Resistance and Skin Abnormalities 
PPARs play a pivotal role in regulating lipid and glucose homeostasis and are involved in diverse biological activities in skin. Pomegranate flower (PGF, an antidiabetic therapy in Unani and Ayurvedic medicines) has been previously demonstrated to activate both PPARalpha/gamma. Here, we found that treatment of mice with the diet containing PGF powder over 55 weeks attenuated ageing-induced abnormal increases in the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance, glucose concentrations during oral glucose tolerance test, and adipose insulin resistance index. The diet tended to decrease the excessive peri-ovary fat mass. It, however, increased the thinned subcutaneous fat thickness. In addition, the diet restored decreases in skin water content, epidermis thickness, and collagen density in corium. Thus, our results demonstrate that long-term treatment with the Unani and Ayurvedic therapy ameliorates ageing-induced insulin resistance, which is associated with reversal of ageing-induced fat redistribution. Further, PGF attenuates ageing-mediated undesirable skin abnormalities.
PMCID: PMC3255288  PMID: 22253646
17.  May Salivary Gland Secretory Proteins from Hematophagous Leeches (Hirudo verbana) Reach Pharmacologically Relevant Concentrations in the Vertebrate Host? 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e73809.
Saliva of hematophagous leeches (Hirudo sp.) contains bioactive proteins which allow the leech proper feeding and storage of ingested blood, but may also exert effects in the host. Leech therapy is used to treat many different ailments in humans, although only a small fraction of salivary proteins are characterized yet. Moreover, we do not know whether complete transfer of salivary proteins stored in the unicellular salivary glands in a leech to the host during feeding may generate concentrations that are sufficiently high to affect physiological processes in the host. Our 3D reconstruction of a portion of internal leech tissue from histological sections revealed that one leech contains approx. 37,000 salivary gland cells. Using tissue slices from pig liver and mouse skeletal muscle for reference, we obtained data for protein densities in leech salivary gland cells. As individual salivary cells are voluminous (67,000 µm3) and the stored proteins are densely packed (approx. 500 µg/mm3), we extrapolated that a single leech may contain up to 1.2 mg of salivary proteins. Analyzing protein extracts of unfed or fed leeches by 2D electrophoresis, we calculated the relative molar amounts of individual salivary proteins in the mass range of 17–60 kDa which may be released from a single leech during feeding. Distribution of these salivary proteins in the host (assumed plasma volume of 5 l) may result in concentrations of individual compounds between 3 and 236 pmol/l. Such concentrations seem sufficiently high to exert biochemical interactions with target molecules in the host.
PMCID: PMC3776796  PMID: 24058492
18.  Diverse molecular data demonstrate that commercially available medicinal leeches are not Hirudo medicinalis 
The European medicinal leech is one of vanishingly few animal species with direct application in modern medicine. In addition to the therapeutic potential held by many protease inhibitors purified from leech saliva, and notwithstanding the historical association with quackery, Hirudo medicinalis has been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration as a prescription medical device. Accurate annotation of bioactive compounds relies on precise species determination. Interpretations of developmental and neurophysiological characteristics also presuppose uniformity within a model species used in laboratory settings. Here, we show, with mitochondrial sequences and nuclear microsatellites, that there are at least three species of European medicinal leech, and that leeches marketed as H. medicinalis are actually Hirudo verbana. Beyond the obvious need for reconsideration of decades of biomedical research on this widely used model organism, these findings impact regulatory statutes and raise concerns for the conservation status of European medicinal leeches.
PMCID: PMC2176162  PMID: 17426015
Annelida; anticoagulants; biodiversity; conservation biology; DNA barcoding; neurobiology
19.  An analytical study of concordance between Mizaj and diseases in adult patients of NIUM Hospital, Bangalore 
Ancient Science of Life  2010;30(1):7-11.
Mizaj (Temperament) is one of the basic concepts ofUnani system of medicine upon which diagnosis and line of treatment of a disease are based. Every human being has been furnished a specific Mizaj through which an individual performs his functions properly. If it is disturbed, body becomes more susceptible to develop such diseases having same temperament as that of an individual. Objective of the study was to evaluate the relation of diseases in respect of Mizaj of the patients and to provide some knowledge for prevention of other diseases that may be related to identified Mizaj. Four hundred (400) patients fulfilling the criteria were enrolled in the study followed by their Mizaj were assessed by two pre structured proformas based on objective and subjective parameters given by Eminent Unani physicians. Following assessment of Mizaj of the patients, concordance between their Mizaj; Sue Mizaj Mufrad Sada (simple and single unbalanced temperament), Sue Mizaj Murakkab Sada (simple and compound imbalanced temperament) and Sue Mizaj Maaddi (imbalanced temperament due to humour) and disease was established, and it was observed that only patients of Sue Mizaj Barid (cold imbalanced temperament) and Sue Mizaj Balghami (imbalanced temperament due to phlegm) had significant concordance as compared to the rest. In the present study, non concordance between Mizaj and disease distribution may be attributed to those factors which tend to alter the Mizaj and have potential to produce diseases, like Mizaje Khilqi (congenital temperament), age, Masakin (residence), weather, diets, occupation and habit.
PMCID: PMC3336268  PMID: 22557416
Mizaj; Temperament; Diagnosis; Concordance and Disease of subject
Indian Journal of Psychiatry  2001;43(1):12-15.
The deschptions, etio-pathology and some aspects of treatment of the seizure disorders in the three Indian Systems of Medicine, namely The Siddha, The Ayurveda and The Unani are briefly mentioned. “If more or less, three humors cause disease, The learned count the wind is the first of these.”Medicine, Thirukkural
PMCID: PMC2955924  PMID: 21407831
Seizure disorder; ayurved; siddha; unani
21.  Leech Therapeutic Applications 
Hematophagous animals including leeches have been known to possess biologically active compounds in their secretions, especially in their saliva. The blood-sucking annelids, leeches have been used for therapeutic purposes since the beginning of civilization. Ancient Egyptian, Indian, Greek and Arab physicians used leeches for a wide range of diseases starting from the conventional use for bleeding to systemic ailments, such as skin diseases, nervous system abnormalities, urinary and reproductive system problems, inflammation, and dental problems. Recently, extensive researches on leech saliva unveiled the presence of a variety of bioactive peptides and proteins involving antithrombin (hirudin, bufrudin), antiplatelet (calin, saratin), factor Xa inhibitors (lefaxin), antibacterial (theromacin, theromyzin) and others. Consequently, leech has made a comeback as a new remedy for many chronic and life-threatening abnormalities, such as cardiovascular problems, cancer, metastasis, and infectious diseases. In the 20th century, leech therapy has established itself in plastic and microsurgery as a protective tool against venous congestion and served to salvage the replanted digits and flaps. Many clinics for plastic surgery all over the world started to use leeches for cosmetic purposes. Despite the efficacious properties of leech therapy, the safety, and complications of leeching are still controversial.
PMCID: PMC3757849  PMID: 24019559
Bloodletting; cancer; cardiovascular diseases; diabetes mellitus; hirudin; leech; microsurgery
22.  External decontamination of wild leeches with hypochloric acid 
Medicinal leech, Hirudo medicinalis, has been used in plastic and reconstructive surgery, to relieve venous congestion and to improve the microrevascularization of flaps. In many countries, wild leeches are still provided from local markets and utilised with antibiotic prophylaxies. In this research, results of identification of bacteria in the transport fluid is reported, oral and intestinal floras and the antibiograms of the identified microorganisms are investigated. Also, to avoid possible infections, the ability of hypochloric acid, a disinfectant, to suppress the relevant microorganisms without changing the life style and behavior of leeches in terms of sucking function, is investigated.
Bacterial identifications and antibiograms of oral and intestinal flora and transport medium were performed for 10 leeches. The optimum concentration of hypochloric acid which eliminated microorganisms without affecting the viability and sucking function of the leeches were determined by dilution of hypochloric acid to 100, 50, 25, 12.5, 6.25 ppm concentrations in different groups of 25 leeches. Finally, 20 leeches were applied atraumatically to the bleeding areas of rats, the duration of suction was determined and compared statistically between the leeches treated and not treated with hypochloric acid solution.
Aeromonas hydrophilia was the most commonly identified microorganism and found to be resistant to first generation cephalosporins, frequently used in prophylaxis at surgical wards. In the next stages of the study, the leeches were subjected to a series of diluted hypochloric acid solutions. Although disinfection of the transport material and suppression of the oral flora of hirudo medicinalis were successful in 100, 50, 25, 12.5, 6.25 ppm concentrations; 12.5 ppm solution was the greatest concentration in which hirudo medicinalis could survive and sucking function was not affected significantly.
External decontamination of wild leeches with 12.5 ppm hypochloric acid enables bacterial suppression without causing negative effects on leech sucking function and life.
PMCID: PMC516442  PMID: 15329153
23.  Protective Effect of Adhatoda vascia Nees Against Radiation-Induced Damage at Cellular, Biochemical and Chromosomal Levels in Swiss Albino Mice 
Extract of Adhatoda vasica (L) Nees leaves has been used for treatment of various diseases and disorders in Ayurved and Unani medicine. Modulatory effect of ethanolic extract of A. vasica (L) Nees against radiation-induced changes in terms of histological alterations in testis, reduced glutathione (GSH), lipid peroxidation (LPO), acid and alkaline phosphatases levels, and chromosomal alterations in Swiss albino mice was studied at various post-irradiation intervals between 1 and 30 days. Mice exposed to 8 Gy radiation showed radiation-induced sickness including marked changes in histology of testis and chromosomal aberrations in bone marrow cells with 100% mortality within 22 days. When ethanolic leaf extract of A. vasica was given orally at a dose of 800 mg kg−1 body weight per mouse for 15 consecutive days and then exposed to radiation, death of Adhatoda-pretreated irradiated mice was reduced to 70% at 30 days. The radiation dose reduction factor was 1.43. There was significantly lesser degree of damage to testis tissue architecture and various cell populations including spermatogonia, spermatids and Leydig cells. Correspondingly, a significant decrease in the LPO and an increase in the GSH levels were observed in testis and liver of Adhatoda-pretreated irradiated mice. Similarly, a significant decrease in level of acid phosphatase and increase in level of alkaline phosphatase were observed. Adhatoda pretreatment significantly prevented radiation-induced chromosomal damage in bone marrow cells. The study suggests that Adhatoda plant extract has significant radioprotective effects on testis that warrants further mechanistic studies aimed at identifying the role of major ingredients in the extract.
PMCID: PMC1978234  PMID: 17965765
acid and alkaline phosphatases; gamma radiation; GSH; LPO; testis
24.  Antimicrobial Activity of Essential Oil and Various Extracts of Fruits of Greater Cardamom 
Greater cardamom (Amomum subulatum Roxb. Zingiberaceae) commonly known as “Bari ilaichi” is a well known plant used in Ayurvedic and Unani medicine. It has been used for the treatment of various diseases and disorders like gastric ulcer. Therefore antimicrobial activity of petroleum ether, methanol and aqueous extracts from leaves and roots, essential oil and isolated vasicine from A. vasica were tested against various microorganisms. Antimicrobial activity was done by disc diffusion method. The zone of inhibition observed was compared with that of standard drugs, ciprofloxacin and fluconazole. Minimum inhibitory concentration was determined against microorganisms used in the study. The results of this study reveal that methanol extract of fruits of A. subulatum shows remarkable antimicrobial activity against Escherichia coli whereas in case of other microorganisms used it was found inferior to the standard drug used. Methanol extract of rind showed good antimicrobial activity against Staphylococcus aureus. It was found that the essential oil isolated was effective against majority of microorganisms used viz. Bacillus pumilus, Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
PMCID: PMC3116318  PMID: 21695005
Amomum subulatum; essential oil; minimum inhibitory concentration; zone of inhibition
25.  Aeromonas hydrophila infection associated with the use of medicinal leeches. 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  1989;27(6):1421-1422.
The use of medicinal leeches (Hiruda medicinalis) is becoming more common after plastic surgery to control venous congestion of skin grafts. We describe a patient with Aeromonas hydrophila infection whose graft was treated with medicinal leeches. The infection required systemic antibiotic therapy. A. hydrophila is the predominant bacterial flora in the gut of the leech, where it plays an essential role for the animal in the digestion of blood. The potential for A. hydrophila wound infection, and appropriate antibiotic prophylaxis of the leech or patient, should be considered when medicinal leeches are used.
PMCID: PMC267578  PMID: 2666448

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