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A Sucker Born Every Minute
December 28, 2009 8:37 PM   Subscribe

Russia wants to lead the way in leech farming. Notorious for all kinds of medicinal uses (previously), they're also becoming popular in cosmetics.

According to the International Medical Leech Centre, topical application of leech-based cosmetics will soften skin, reduce the depth of wrinkles and decelerate aging, amongst other things. (Translated list of references here). According to various proponents, leech therapy can "detoxify the blood", but other people think that Ms. Moore may be a little misguided. For completeness, obligatory Wikipedia link here.
posted by ninazer0 (42 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Allow me to remark on the oddly humorous synergy of Google translated Russian and leeches.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:42 PM on December 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ah, highly trained medical leeches:

Procedure Highlights
a. It involves the use of highly trained medical leeches.
b. First the patient's whole body is shaved to remove all hair.
c. The patient is then immersed in turpentine.
d. The patient experiences a stinging sensation.
e. When the sensation stops, leeches are allowed to suck the blood from the body.
f. When the leeches bite, they release a little enzyme into the blood stream.
g. It causes bleeding in the patient.
h. This treatment detoxifies the blood and makes a person healthier.
i. It also makes a person look younger.

posted by autoclavicle at 8:46 PM on December 28, 2009


How do you train a leech, anyway?
posted by dunkadunc at 8:53 PM on December 28, 2009


I'm sorry but fuck leeches.
posted by inconsequentialist at 8:55 PM on December 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well really, I wouldn't want to get dipped in turpentine and get nibbled on by a bunch of ill-trained, correspondence-school leeches, would you? Cosmetic parasitism should at least be a four-year program.

Speaking of which, someone should really inspect the diplomas of those flesh-eating pedicure fish over in Alexandria.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:55 PM on December 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


They thin your blood, and they suck it out. Good for reducing swelling. Pretty fucking stupid for damn near anything else.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:58 PM on December 28, 2009


How do you train a leech, anyway?

With love. And a teeny little whip.
posted by ninazer0 at 9:03 PM on December 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


Awesome leechery story posted a few months back.
posted by Rhaomi at 9:05 PM on December 28, 2009


Can't wait to furtively change my sister's desktop wallpaper to a huge image of leeches writhing in a bloodfoam. Thank you!
posted by hermitosis at 9:09 PM on December 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Edmund: Never had anything you doctors didn't try to cure with leeches. A leech on my ear for ear ache, a leech on my bottom for constipation.
Doctor: They're marvellous, aren't they?
Edmund: Well, the bottom one wasn't. I just sat there and squashed it.
Doctor: You know the leech comes to us on the highest authority?
Edmund: Yes. I know that. Dr. Hoffmann of Stuttgart, isn't it?
Doctor: That's right, the great Hoffmann.
Edmund: Owner of the largest leech farm of Europe.
Doctor: Yes. Well, I cannot spend all day gossiping. I'm a busy man. As far as this case is concerned I have now had time to think it over and I can strongly recommend a [in chorus] course of leeches.
posted by gomichild at 9:12 PM on December 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


Rhaomi: argh, missed it! And I even favourited it at the time. Thanks for catching that.
posted by ninazer0 at 9:12 PM on December 28, 2009


Champagne wishes and caviar dreams...
posted by swift at 9:14 PM on December 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


In Soviet Russia, leech trains you.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:19 PM on December 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wait, wait, so getting your blood sucked by leeches is supposed to detoxify you? Isn't this awfully similar to the old-fashioned bloodletting that we all laugh at now?

Also, leeches are gross. I'd rather look old.
posted by vanitas at 9:26 PM on December 28, 2009



The photos on the second link were pretty cool. Reminded me of some science-lab experiment gone wrong setup. Maybe they'll make a video game or movie about leeches taking over the world.
posted by dealing away at 9:31 PM on December 28, 2009


Leeches!
posted by Burhanistan at 9:35 PM on December 28, 2009


I may be the only one that finds them kind of cute.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 10:27 PM on December 28, 2009


"Hey Murderface, do a leech Al Jolson!"
posted by DecemberBoy at 10:39 PM on December 28, 2009


In true Amazon jungle-of-horrors tradition, isn't there a giant leech from down there? Ah, yes.
posted by maxwelton at 11:02 PM on December 28, 2009


Or, you could just donate some of your toxin-ridden life-saving blood at the Red Cross every couple of months.
posted by Auden at 11:23 PM on December 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


could we a) genetically, or b)bio-physically take out the stomachs or otherwise instead replace like a collection receptacle, this leech? Like a small sample needle? For people needing to test blood often perhaps?

phlox used leeches. just saying.
posted by infinite intimation at 11:25 PM on December 28, 2009


phlox used leeches. just saying.

I think you meant to say "the writers of Enterprise gave Phlox leeches as a really lame recurring gag". And I even usually defend that show.
posted by DecemberBoy at 11:32 PM on December 28, 2009


that was first memory of leeches triggered by the mention of leeches, and then this led me to the largest most hacked (in the "Make.com" sense) encyclopedia where;

A common but medically inadvisable technique to remove a leech is to apply a flame, a lit cigarette, salt, soap, or a caustic chemical such as alcohol, vinegar, lemon juice, insect repellent, heat rub, or certain carbonated drinks. These cause the leech to regurgitate its stomach contents into the wound and quickly detach. However, the vomit may carry disease, and thus increase the risk of infection.[7][8][9]

Simply pulling a leech off by grasping it can also cause regurgitation, and adds risks of further tearing the wound, and leaving parts of the leech's jaw in the wound, which can also increase the risk of infection.

&
bacteria, viruses, and parasites from previous blood sources can survive within a leech for months, and may be retransmitted to humans.


the more we (i, now) know.
posted by infinite intimation at 11:51 PM on December 28, 2009


ARGAN: But obviously doctors believe in the truth of their art because they apply it to themselves.

BÉRALDE: It is because some of them share the popular error by which they themselves profit, while others profit by it without sharing it. Your Mr. Purgon has no wish to deceive; he is a thorough doctor from head to foot, a man who believes in his rules more than in all the demonstrations of mathematics, and who would think it a crime to question them. He sees nothing obscure in physic, nothing doubtful, nothing difficult, and through an impetuous prepossession, an obstinate confidence, a coarse common sense and reason, orders right and left purgatives and bleedings, and hesitates at nothing. We must bear him no ill-will for the harm he does us; it is with the best intentions in the world that he will send you into the next world, and in killing you he will do no more than he has done to his wife and children, and than he would do to himself, if need be.
-- Moliere, Le Malade Imaginaire
posted by benzenedream at 12:33 AM on December 29, 2009


Are you people aware that these leeches are no longer used it for balancing humors or just plain old bloodletting?

For at least the last 25 years leeches are used to promote circulation and help repair veins in recently transplanted or reattached body parts. Your jokes are just about a hundred years stale (but I still LOLed in my head, silently).

Now leeches for cosmetic treatment? If thousands upon thousand of people inject botulism toxin in their faces every day, leeches are not surprising at all.

And leeches can be beautiful, they come in all kinds of patterns and shapes, like this or this or even this.

This is my favorite example, traditional medicinal leeches turn out to be three different species, easy to tell the patterns apart with the naked eye.
posted by dirty lies at 2:49 AM on December 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


ninazer0: "How do you train a leech, anyway?

With love. And a teeny little whip.
"

Great, now I want a trained attack leech.
"Sic 'em, Squirmy, sic!"
posted by PontifexPrimus at 4:40 AM on December 29, 2009


If thousands upon thousand of people inject botulism toxin in their faces every day, leeches are not surprising at all.

People aren't surprised, they are repelled. And two repels do not make an attract.
posted by DU at 5:07 AM on December 29, 2009


Great, now I want a trained attack leech.
"Sic 'em, Squirmy, sic!"


Don't you mean "Suck 'em, Squirmy, suck!"
posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 5:08 AM on December 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


In this operation, a leech does not die, but gets little satisfaction.

I just...think that bears repeating. One more time:

In this operation, a leech does not die, but gets little satisfaction.
posted by nosila at 6:18 AM on December 29, 2009


The patient experiences a stinging sensation.

Yes, I'll just bet he does.
posted by Zinger at 6:19 AM on December 29, 2009


I hope this will mean a sequence in the new James Bond film wherein Bond travels to Russia and, at some point, throws a bad guy or two into a huge vat of leeches.
posted by stinkycheese at 6:24 AM on December 29, 2009


They work great as walleye bait, too! Minnesota's had a thriving leech industry for years.
posted by norm at 6:43 AM on December 29, 2009


Personally, the shots of the smiling, matronly leech farmer made my morning. Clearly, her job doesn't suck.
posted by mrdaneri at 7:49 AM on December 29, 2009


A Short History of Medicine

I have a headache:

2000 BCE: Here, apply this leech.
1000 AD: That leech is heathen. Here, say this prayer.
1850 AD: That prayer is superstition. Here, drink this potion.
1940 AD: That potion is snake oil. Here, swallow this pill.
1985 AD: That pill is ineffective. Here, take this antibiotic.
2009 AD: That antibiotic is artificial. Here, apply this leech.

Old joke. Minor tweak. Still works.
posted by zarq at 8:17 AM on December 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


Those leeches are such dumb fucks. Of all the blood in someone's body, they have to go and suck out the blood that has the toxins in it.
posted by digsrus at 9:23 AM on December 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I came out of a lake in Algonquin Park when I was eight with a leech attached to my ankle. After the requisite screaming (of the entire group of eight-year-old girls) and salting, the leech was removed. I don't recall that my ankle (or any other part of me) looked much younger.
posted by pinky at 9:33 AM on December 29, 2009


My girlfriend (MeFi's own Dilemma) works at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles. For two weeks leading up to their Haunted Museum event, the staff fridge contained a jar full of live leeches. On the night of the event, one of the staffers stuck the leeches on his face in order to freak out visiting children. He failed to mention afterwards whether or not he felt detoxified.

Scientists are weird.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 10:06 AM on December 29, 2009


In communist Russia, you suck leech!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:12 AM on December 29, 2009


I'm so down for this, but only if they're the star-bellied variety.
posted by Ufez Jones at 11:21 AM on December 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


First there was tattoos. Then came piercings. Then voluntary amputation. Now all the kids are walking around with leeches stuck to their... parts.
What will they think of next?
posted by Balisong at 3:29 PM on December 29, 2009


I hope this will mean a sequence in the new James Bond film wherein Bond travels to Russia and, at some point, throws a bad guy or two into a huge vat of leeches.

It'd be better in an Arnie film. After throwing the baddies in, he'd start to walk off, then turn & say over his shoulder "So long, suckers!"
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:58 PM on December 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Speaking of jars full of live leeches, witness the elegant majesty of the Tempest Prognosticator.
posted by Rat Spatula at 8:58 PM on December 29, 2009


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