When the one-way valves in the veins of the leg malfunction, the resulting build-up of blood can lead to painful swelling, better known as varicose veins. Usually, leg bandages are prescribed which often lead to allergies, apart from making patients uncomfortable. Recently, doctors in India discov- ered that medicinal leeches (Hirudo medicinalis) can cure the worst effects of varicose veins. A team of doctors from the KEM Hospital in Mumbai, found that leeches are highly effective at removing blood from around the veins. To confirm the findings, 20 patients were 'treated' with leeches. The team found that leeches cured ulcers in all the patients.
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