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Mechanical leech in a case, c 1850.

Mechanical leech in a case, c 1850.
2 9 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 21cm


The practice of bleeding, or bloodletting, was intended to drain 'poisons' or exces blood from the body in order to restore the balance of the humours. Bleeding was a popular therapy in the Middle Ages, and continued to be practised as late as the 19th century. In 1833, France imported over 40 million medicinal leeches.

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© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library

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