HIRUDIN AND THROMBIN HERBAL MEDICOS

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The saliva of the medicinal leech contains a battery of substances that interfere with the hemostatic
mechanisms of the host. One of these compounds is hirudin, a potent anticoagulant, which
maintains the fluidity of the ingested blood and is the most potent inhibitor of thrombin. Upon
binding to thrombin, the cleavage of fibrinogen and subsequent clot formation are prevented. The
potency and specificity of hirudin make it a useful antithrombin-III-independent alternative to
heparin for the control of thrombosis.

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