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Leech Therapy and History

The Medicinal Use of Leeches in the Nineteenth Century Ottoman Empire

The Medicinal Use of Leeches in the Nineteenth Century Ottoman Empire

The Leech Craze:
The Medicinal Use and Commodification of Leeches in the Nineteenth Century Ottoman Empire

Yasemin Baran

Abstract

This article is about the Ottoman Empire’s gradual turn from the Arabo- Persian medical heritage to Western medicine, viewed through the lens of the medicinal leech. In pre-modern medicine, leeches were used mainly within the principles of the Arabo-Persian medical paradigm. The eighteenth century seems to have been a fluid period in which new influences from the West were welcomed and coexisted quite peacefully with old and traditional ways. Around the 1830s, medicinal leeches were...