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Table 1 Therapeutic invertebrates of non-insect affiliations

From: Therapeutic arthropods and other, largely terrestrial, folk-medicinally important invertebrates: a comparative survey and review

Taxon English name Malady or target treated Reference
Platyhelminthes & Nematodes
Schistosoma mansoni Bilharzia fluke Diabetes 1 [222]
Ancylostoma sp.
Necator americanus
hookworms Asthma
Crohn’s disease
Trichuris suis Pig worm Ulcerative colitis; inflammation of colon and bowel [34, 151]
Eisenia foetida, Lumbricus rubelus Earthworms Secretions influence murine malignant and lymphocyte cell proliferations [158]
Pheretima spp. Earthworms Eaten raw to serve as antidote in snake & spider bites
Taken orally or mixed with honey to drink in cases of malaria
Crushed and applied to red eyes
[73, 77, 119]
Metaphire houletti Earthworm Fried and oily substances applied externally to a burn [153]
Perionyx sp. Earthworm Crushed fresh and resultant juice to drink to fight piles [153]
Lumbricus sp. Earthworm Consumed for haemorrhoids, arthritis, earache, to clean obstructions [78]
Lumbricidae etc. Earthworms generally Extracts with antibacterial, prophylactic and neuroimmune sytem supporting functions [152]
Earthworms generally Earthworm extracts with antipyretic, antispasmodic, diuretic, detoxic, antiasthmatic, antihypertensive and antiallergenic effects [155]
Earthworms generally Kidney stones, alopecia, jaundice, arthralgia, infections, anticoagulant & antibacterial effects [34]
Black earthworm Schistosomiasis, lumps [96]
Hirudo medicinalis (Medicinal) leech Fried in sesame oil and oil applied over penis for stimulation [113]
Hirudo medicinalis (Medicinal) leech Abnormal swellings, wound healing, surgery, piles, osteoarthritis, haematoma, anticoagulents, post-phlebitis syndrome, abscesses [34, 227]
Mollusca: Bivalvia & Cephalopoda
Angulus (=Tellina) sp. Sea shell Ground shell as a mild purgative; women’s diseases [78]
Mactra sp. Sea shell Acne [172]
Loligo sp.
Octopus sp.
Asthma treatment with tea of toasted cuttlebone or octopi arms [228]
Sepia officinalis Cuttlefish Skin & tooth troubles [78]
Mollusca: Gastropoda
Gastropoda generally Snails generally Skin, analgesic & ischaemia cardiporotective, syncope, mental illness, vertigo, infections, pain [34, 57, 58]
Arion hortensis Garden slug, swallowed whole Treatment for gastritis or stomach ulcer [163]
Unidentified slugs N American slugs Ulcers, bronchitis, asthma [58, 226]
Unidentified slugs Snail and slug slime Facial skin lesions, acne, combat wrinkles, reduce pigmentation [170]
Unidentified slugs Slug mucus Dermatitis, inflammation, calluses, wound healing, warts removal [163]
Unidentified black slug Black slug mucus Wart removal [229, 230]
Unidentified snails Garden snails Snail slime application in cases of skin problems and internal for tuberculosis, gastrointestinal conditions, nephritis; hernias, inflammations, colds & coughs, bronchitis, asthma, pharyngitis; snail extracts work antibacterial against Staphylococcus spp., E. coli, Propionibacterium and Helicobacter pylori, scar and wrinkle removal [164]
Pila sp. Apple snail Flesh boiled and drunk for bone healing or locally applied; flesh eaten for injuries; flesh eaten raw for gastritis; flesh cooked & consumed form tongue blister; shell roasted and crushed applied to burns [73]
Pila globosa Apple snail Flesh cooked and eaten as relief for asthma, TB, stomach disorders, eye problems [119]
Helix sp. Common snail Body consumed to treat haemorrhoids & internal ills [78]
Helix pomatia   Whooping cough, chronic bronchitis [169]
Semisulcospira libertina Black freshwater snail Ingested as soup for liver and gastroenteric trouble [231]
Lymnaea sp. Pond snail Flesh, boiled in water for measles, liver ailments, swellings and sprains [77]
Chelicerata: Araneae
Aviculariinae Bird-eating spiders, “tarantulas” Homeopathic uses as “mygale lasidora” tincture [41]
Grammostola spatulata
Psalmapoeus cambridgei
China “tarantula”
S. Am.“tarantula”
[88, 146]
Brachypelma vagans “Tarantula” Tarantula-based beverage with spider crushed or roasted and powdered; sometimes rubbed on chest externally [148]
Tegenaria gigantea Sheet spider Web’s ashes with honey as aphrodisiac and for muscular dystrophy symptoms [113]
Heteropoda venatoria Huntsman spider Dried spider put in orifice to treat ottorhoea [77]
Neoscona excelsus
Argiope pulchella
Neoscona mukerjei
Neoscona theis
Lycosa poonaensis
Pardosa birmanica
Pardosa sumatrana
Artema Atlanta
Mirpissa decorata
Orb web spider
Orb weaver
Orb weaver
Wolf spider
Pond spider
Marsh spider
House spider
Jumping spider
Spider drug to cure liver enlargement
Spider dry powder with various leaf juices to treat bleedings, dry cough, headache
Dry powder used in cases of fever in kala-azar, for purgative condition in children, insomnia and blood dysentery
Diuretic and purgative condition
Spider drug for insomnia
Dry powder used in connection with bronchitis, asthma, arterial sclerosis
Powder to improve memory, loss of voice, applied in cases of epistaxis and to remove body fat
Spider drug to cure tonsillitis
Spiders generally Spider webs External uses: Removal of warts; to dress wounds and stop bleeding; internal uses: to cure troublesome, obstinate distemper, reduce intermittent fever; to congeal blood after tooth extraction [16, 41]
  Webs covered in black soot Used to cover pale spots on people’s black skin in Chad (Africa) or dress wounds (Tanzania: Marusha) [49]
  Spider webs Put over boils, postules, ulcers; covering wounds; curing wound following circumcision (Sudan: Dongolawi); as a filter during sucking blood (Kenya: Kuku) [49]
Theraphosidae Bird-eating spiders Toasted powdered hairs mixed with chalk for pemba floor drawings used in magic about spirits and death [59]
Chelicerata: Scorpionida & Acari
Tytius sp. Scorpion Whole animal used to treat its own sting;
Crushed scorpion or extract or dried and ground applied to site of sting
[49, 59]
Tytius discrepans Scorpion Inhibits Leishmania spp. in vitro [34]
Leiurus quinquestriatus hebraeus Scorpion Consumed for skin problems & haemorrhoids [78]
Buthus martensii or Mesobuthus martensis Scorpion Pain killer, convulsions, palsy, stroke, facial paralysis, migraine, lymph damage, tetanus, parotis, oedema, carbuncle;
Speech disorders
[69, 70]
Palamnaeus swammerdami Scorpion Boiled in mustard oil with extract for massage to relieve rheumatic joints pain [119]
Ixodes ricinus & I. scapularis Ticks Vascular & thrombotic ills [34]
Ornithodoros moubata Soft bird tick Deliberate tick bites to develop immunity against tick-borne fever bacterium or rubbing crushed tick into small skin incision [49]
Boophilus microplus Cattle tick Chickenpox [17]
Trombidium grandissimum Red velvet mite Malaria, urogenital ills, paralysis, aphrodisiac [79]
Ocypode quadrata
Eupagurus sp.
Name not available
Ghost crab
Hermit crab
Jellyfish crab
Whole animal used for treatment of asthma and haemorrhage in women [228]
Paratelphusa sp. Freshwater crab Boiled in water; water to be drunk to fight jaundice; ground up with male banana flower and consumed to healinflammatory glands [77]
Ucides cordatus Mangrove crab Crab fat mixed in white wine to treat haemorrhage in women [228]
Scylla serrata and Penaeus indicus Mangrove crab and river prawn Treatment of old age diabetics and to cure skin disease [77]
Cancer pagurus Crab Body crushed into paste, the boiled and drunk to cure jaundice & liver ills;
as a tonic
[113, 119]
Claridopsis dubia Mantis shrimp Tea of powdered animal for asthma treatment [52]
Porcellio scaber Woodlouse, slater Oedema [70]
Echinodermata: Asteroidea
Actinopyga agassizi
Acanthaster planci
Asterias forbesi
Starfish Anti-tumour
[228, 232]
Unidentified Starfish Asthma [96]
Echinodermata: Echinoidea
Mellita sp.,
Echinometra lucunter
Sand dollar
Sea urchins
Tea of toasted whole animal to treat asthma [18, 228]
Myriapoda: Chilopoda
Scolopendra spp. Centipedes Hyperlipidemia, problems of joints, feet, legs, stroke, convulsions, lumps, snake bites, tumours, carbuncles, tetanus, lymphangitis, cough, alopecia, neuralgia, whooping, osteomyelitis, gangrene [34, 69, 70, 136]
Myriapoda: Diplopoda
Tymbodesmus falcatus
Sphenodesmus sheribongensis
One Spirostreptid species
Millipedes Malaria [140]
Archispirostreptus syriacus Giant millipede Removal of unwanted hair from eyelids [78]
Tachypodoiulus niger Black millipede Decoction to be taken orally for tuberculosis [77]
Unidentified Jongoo (Swaheli) millipede Dried, used as ash and rubbed into scarifications Referred to as “Tausenfüßler” in [51], but could be a centipede (“Hundertfüßler”)