Saturday, September 27, 2008

The International Centre for Medicinal Leeches, Russia

BUSINESSMEN investing in Russia are constantly warned about "bloodsuckers" in the government, mafia and commerce, but in the town of Rodniki they are part of a global business worth millions of pounds.

The International Centre for Medicinal Leeches breeds the slug-like creatures for doctors and beauty treatments. Women will pay big money for eye cream manufactured from them, and it is believed Moscow gangsters reluctant to go to hospitals with bullet wounds are among those who visit private clinics where leeches are used to clean up messy injuries.

Gennadi Nikonov, whose business now turns over £20m a year, said: "It always has been a normal reaction for someone to think leech and go ‘yuck’, but the tide is turning. There is a worldwide trend to use them in all forms of medicine and cosmetics. There are many mysteries of this creature yet to unravel."

The leech has 60 kinds of proteins which can improve the immune system and reduce inflammation.

And now, with contracts in Ukraine and France, the eye cream made from dead leeches could turn into a £10m industry within 18 months. The cream, called Antonia, is currently selling 500,000 units a year. Two million jars have been ordered by an American importer based in Dallas, Texas.

"Antonina" cream is designed for the care of skin of any type. Due to medicinal leech bioactive complex NM1 and olive oil the regular usage of the cream relieves the feeling of skin dryness, face shrinkage after washing, takes out irritation and necrosis. The skin after cream usage becomes more smooth and elastic. The skin gets extant shade. The small mimic wrinkles are disappearing due to this cream. It has signified anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and tonic action.

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