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19th April 2022 (6 Topics)

Guru-Sishya Parampara to promote ancient ‘leech therapy’


Using leeches to treat a plethora of ailments as prescribed in Ayurveda is gaining prominence as an accepted procedure across the globe.


About Medicinal Leech Therapy (MLT):

  • Medicinal Leech Therapy (MLT), also known as Hirudotherapy.
  • It has a mention in the ‘Sushruta Samhita’, a 3,000-year-old treatise on medicine and surgery.
  • Hirudo medicinalis, belonging to the phylum Annelida, is used as ‘medicinal leech’ and it can be used in treatment of chronic eczema, non-healing ulcers, dermatitis, varicose veins, thrombotic piles, diabetic foot and some auto-immune disorders.
  • The Process:
    • The leeches are first dropped into water laced with turmeric and later kept on the affected portion of the human body.
    • The leech moves around the area, selects the place where to begin from.
    • They secrete some of the 36 proteolytic enzymes available in its saliva, facilitating its release into the systemic circulation to counter the disease morbidity.
    • The weekly process is repeated for five to ten weeks depending on the chronicity of the disorder and pathology.
    • Sushruta advises this treatment for inflammatory lesions, cystic lesions and tumorigenesis if the affected area is palm-sized.

 ‘High demand abroad’

  • The therapy is in great demand in the U.S.A. as it is used post-grafting in plastic surgery procedures to enhance circulation and improve permeability of blood flow.
  • Also, it is used for congestive cardiac failure (CCF) cases to regulate the heart beat and relieve coronary artery blocks.
  • The therapy has been recognised by the American Surgical Association and the procedure approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S.A.

About Guru Shishya Parampara:

  • Guru Shishya Parampara (Teacher disciple tradition) is the traditional residential method of education where the Shishya stays with his Guru as a family member and gets the education through various ways and means from his guru.
  • This system of education vanished with the disappearance of Gurukuls and with the advent of more advanced institutional system of education.
  • This is however observed that for subjects requiring a special skill, a thorough training under the direct guidance and supervision of an expert is mandatory.

About Rashtriya Ayurveda Vidyapeeth:

  • Rashtriya Ayurveda Vidyapeeth located at New Delhi is an autonomous organization under Ministry of Ayush, Govt of India.
  • This is one among many other premier National Institutes of Ayush working under the supervision of Ministry of Ayush.   
  • Rashtriya Ayurveda Vidyapeeth was established in 1988 with one of the objectives of promoting knowledge of Ayurveda and started functioning since 1991.
  • The Vidyapeeth initiated the course of Member of RAV with an effort to revive the traditional method of Gurukula system of informal education of India i.e., Guru Shishya Parampara to Ayurvedic graduates after formal education.
  • As people are aware, the present classical texts of Ayurveda, Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita, Ashtanga Hridaya etc. are believed to be the outcome of such informal education.

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