Different Types of Leeches for Medical Use in Surgery, Described by Ibn al Quff (630-685AH)

Document Type: Short Communication



Leech therapy was popular for many centuries. While many research studies have supported the medical use of Hirudo medicinalis, other species have not received that much attention. Due to the large demand and lack of supply, more research is needed to justify the medical use of other species. Ibn al Quffprovided general guidelines on differentiating between the beneficial and toxic types of leeches. In his manuscript al-Oomdaa fi Senaatal-Jeraaha, Ibn al Quffdescribed the uses, as well as different types, of leeches. A copy of the manuscript was obtained from King Abdulaziz Public Library in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (Arabic). I studied the manuscript and translated it to English. Medical literaturehas proven that many leeches can be used with some efficacy. Ibn al Quffprovided descriptions of the beneficial and toxic types of leeches. Additional beneficial species of leeches that can be used in medicine have been described in the literature. Ibn al Quffdescribed and differentiated the beneficial and harmful types available during his time. Additional scientific research is necessary to classify these leeches.