maggots
Maggots and leeches are back in the treatment facilities the world over.YouTube

Maggot debridement therapy (MDT) involving usage of maggots to treat wounds is being revived in parts of the developing world.

In Kenya, doctors are using maggots to clean up wounds by eating up the dead tissue and speed up healing.

Maggots are bred in cages at the Kenyan Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) solely for the purpose of consuming necrotic tissue.

"That maggot is the one that will now start secreting saliva on that tissue. That saliva has got properties that liquefy that tissue. And it sucks that liquid. In that process it is cleaning up the wound etc. It's remarkable," KARI entomologist Pheobe Mukiria told ABC News.

The saliva of maggots has unique antibacterial properties that eliminate the need for antibiotics.

Doctors point out how maggot treatment is cheap and saves valuable resources in poor countries.

With no requirement of an equipped operating room or personnel, all that MDT needs is one or two persons to clean the wounds and apply the maggots.

In two days after application, the patient returns for a review. The maggots have grown from a couple of millimetres and width of a thread of linen to fat, chubby and 20 mm long.

A second treatment cleans up all the dead black flesh and maggots and the patient recover in a few days.

Costs and time are saved, not to mention money.

Leech therapy

Leech therapy is another unconventional therapy in vogue in many parts of the world. Used to treat arthritis and many inflammatory diseases, it is believed to be best suited for those with vascular diseases, hypertension and lung problems.

The FDA approved leeches as "medical devices" in 2004 to drain pooled blood after surgery.

Leeches suck out the pooling blood, known as venous congestion in some of these complicated procedures.

The saliva of the leech also contains enzymes and compounds that act as an anticoagulation agent, with hirudin being a major agent that binds itself to thrombins.

Hirudotherapists claim to have cured paralysis after eight sessions, helped others avoid bypass surgery and cleared ovarian cysts in some.

In yet another native cure that brings more people flocking to a family in South India, thousands of people suffering from asthma swallow live fish stuffed with a herbal paste, administered by a family of healers based in Hyderabad in India.

The patients are given the fish three years running and many swear to being fully cured.

The therapy is a secret formula handed down by generations only to the Goud family members who personally stuff the live fish down the throats of the patients.

Tiger bones and body parts are used in Chinese medicine for pain killers and aphrodisiacs. Their claws are used to treat insomnia.

Pigeon blood massaged on a paralysed patient is believed in India to warm the blood and improve circulation.

Part of native lore, most of these traditional methods of treatment have no scientific validation. However, that does not seem to prevent patients flocking to the healers.