Sorry for the tardiness of my post, but I’ve been swimming in a pile of procrastination and laziness.
The article (which starts off about leeches) goes off on a tangent about the origins of quackery. Apparently the word ‘quack’ was first used to describe a person who used mercury as a treatment. This is because the German word for mercury is quacksilber (or ?quecksilber? relative to quicksilver in English). If we could find a more reliable source for this information that would be awesome.
Leeches, along with maggots, are the only two animals approved by the US Food & Drug Administration for medical use. This is because maggots eat damaged and dead tissue, whilst preventing bacteria and infection by secreting antimicrobial compounds. Leeches can aid in relief of venous congestion (the dilation of veins due to impaired drainage) – this can help patients who have had small digits reattached i.e. toes and fingers.
‘Many people think that “leeching” is a medieval practice. In fact, it reached its height when Napoleon’s surgeon (Broussais) popularized it in the mid-1800s.’
Above is a longer article about bloodletting that I’ll look into later.