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Leeching (Ta‘līq) in Unani Medicine: An Overview

Updated: Feb 1, 2023

Unani medicine is an ancient system of medicine that has been practiced for centuries. It is based on the teachings of the Greek physician Hippocrates and has been developed further by other scholars over the years. One of the key practices in Unani medicine is leeching.

What is Leeching?

Leech therapy is one of the most important and widely practiced methods of regimenal therapy (Ilāj bi’l-Tadbīr) used for local evacuation of morbid humours.

Ilāj bi’l-Tadbīr means treatment through regimen, by which care of the sick person is taken and the general health is maintained.

Leeching is a medical technique in which a leech is applied to the skin to suck out blood. In Unani medicine, leeching is used as a therapeutic treatment for various health conditions, including blood disorders, skin conditions, and joint pain. The leech's saliva contains anticoagulants and anesthetics that help to prevent blood clots and reduce pain.

Benefits of Leeching

  1. Cleansing: Leeching helps to cleanse the blood by removing impurities and toxic substances. This can help to improve overall health and well-being.

  2. Pain Relief: The anesthetics in the leech's saliva can help to reduce pain, making it useful for treating joint pain and other conditions that cause discomfort.

  3. Improved Circulation: Leeching can help to improve blood circulation, which is important for overall health and can help to alleviate a variety of symptoms.

  4. Stimulates Healing: The anticoagulants in the leech's saliva can help to stimulate the healing process by increasing blood flow to the affected area.

Fig. Leech

How is Leeching performed?

Leeching is a relatively simple procedure that is typically performed by a trained practitioner. The leech is placed on the skin, where it will attach itself and begin to suck blood. The leech is usually removed after it has had enough to eat, and the area is then cleaned and dressed to prevent infection.

Safety Considerations

Leeching is generally considered to be safe when performed by a trained practitioner. However, as with any medical procedure, there are potential risks and side effects. These can include infection, bleeding, and allergic reactions. To minimize the risk of these side effects, it is important to follow proper safety precautions, such as ensuring that the leech is free of disease and that the area is cleaned and dressed after the procedure.


Leeching is an ancient medical technique that is still used in Unani medicine today. It is a simple, yet effective treatment for a variety of health conditions.

If you are considering leeching as a therapeutic treatment, it is important to discuss it with your doctor or practitioner to determine if it is the right option for you.

#Ta‘līq #Leeching

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