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Medicinal Leeches

Written by Loremaster Aemon

Gnomes have always been known as the Tinkerers out of all the Races.

The Founder

  Galrod Brownleaf, Gnome Physician and herbalist had been studying various plants near freshwater pools not far from his woodland home when he watched a small deer frolicking in one of these pools for several minutes. When the Deer emerged from the pool its legs were covered with many small black creatures, which detached themselves falling to the ground, then slithering back towards the pool.   The deer ran off, seeming unharmed by the experience, Galrod was intrigued by what he had witnessed and decided to see what these creatures were. With an empty jar he scooped up some of the pool water, he then fished out a few of these creatures and set off home. Over the next few weeks, Galrod studied these creatures, collecting more when needed. He tested them feeding on various small animals and reptiles. None of the rodents or frogs were harmed during his testing process, most being unaware that another creature was feeding on them. The next test was on himself, placing a few on his arm, he could feel them on his skin but felt nothing else when they attached themselves to feed. After a short while, the creatures had all grown insize from their feasting and had detached themselves. Galrod had felt no ill effects from his experience and decided to name them leeches.   Twenty five years have passed since Galrod first found the leeches and they are now a tool well used by physicians to help the sick.  


  The first description of leech therapy, classified as blood-letting, was found in the lost Tome of the Bloodrutha Leechitus, an ancient Thentian medical journal written by Thentian Physicians at that time. It describes various types of leeches (poisonous and non-poisonous). Diseases and conditions where leech therapy was used, which included skin diseases, fever, ingested/applied toxins, inflammation, and all forms of muscular pain throughout the body.  
Blood-Letting by ecointersect

Beneficial secretions

  Medicinal leeches secrete saliva containing many different proteins. These achieve a wide variety of goals useful to the leech as it feeds, helping to keep the blood in liquid form and increasing blood flow in the affected area. Several of these secreted proteins serve as anticoagulants and the saliva also contains an anesthetic, as leech bites are generally not painful.     The medicinal leech was used to remove blood from a patient as part of a process to balance the humors, which, according to the Gnome Physician and herbalist Galrod Brownleaf, must be kept in balance for the human body to function properly. (The four humors of ancient medical philosophy were said to be: blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile.) Any sickness that caused the subject's skin to become red (A fever or inflammation), so the theory went, must have arisen from too much blood in the body.    
Leeches were often gathered by leech collectors and were eventually farmed in large numbers as demand far outweighed supply.   The price of leeches varied between one cp and three cp each. All houses of healing now maintain their own aquariums for leeches.
    Medicinal leech therapy was used to stimulate circulation to salvage limb reattachment (fingers and toes only), and reconstructive surgery of the ear, nose, lip, and eyelid. Other clinical applications of medicinal leech therapy include protruding Blue-green (varicose) veins, muscle cramps, among many other varied conditions. The therapeutic effect is not from the small amount of blood taken in the meal, but from the continued and steady bleeding from the wound left after the leech has detached, as well as the anesthetizing, and anti-inflammatory properties of the secreted leech saliva. The most common complication from leech treatment is prolonged bleeding, which can easily be treated, but more serious allergic reactions and bacterial infections may also occur, no therapy was completely safe.    

Range and ecology

  Their range extends over almost the whole of Central Kelldoria, Zamoria, and beyond the Eastern Frontier. The preferred habitat for this species is Found in marshland, Shallow Rivers, and freshwater Pools or Forest Lakes containing plentiful weed growth in temperate climates.     In their natural habitat leeches will feed on frogs, reptiles, and any wild animal or humanoid within its domain. In rural farmsteads, horses and cattle are a leeches preferred food source, if they manage to get into the water supply or into the animal's water troughs.
Leech by nymag
Species | Jul 15, 2021
The Leech was discovered by the renowned Gnome physician and herbalist Galrod Brownleaf in the year 18829KR.  
Medicinal Leech Jar by 123rf
Medicinal leeches are hermaphrodites that reproduce by sexual mating, laying eggs in clutches of up to 50 near (but not under) water, and in shaded, humid places.

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Cover image: Leech by nymag


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18 Jul, 2021 22:52

Another great article and you have given me an idea for a side quest. Thanks.

2 Aug, 2021 22:01

Thanks Attacus, Glad you liked it and i could help give you ideas.   Thanks for the Like my Friend.   Aemon

22 Jul, 2021 22:52

As always, a great article, my friend! This is a really nice blend of information on leeches and how they related in your world!   And of course, it would be a gnome that would go scoop up a strange slithering thing from a pond to see how it ticks! :D

2 Aug, 2021 22:12

Thanks Buddy for the comment. Your right, it just had to be a Gnome, lol. Even though it wasn't actually a new technology because the Thentians found it first centuries before, it was forgotten, so he was lucky to get all the recognition he did as the so-called founder.   Thanks for the Like too.   Aemon