A cheap natural therapy for arthritis was recommended by scientists on Friday — leeches.

As western drugmakers waxed lyrical about their latest blockbusters at a meeting in Stockholm, a Russian team told how they had successfully used the blood-sucking creatures to treat both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis.

“We found in all patients clinical improvement after leeches therapy,” said I.G. Salikhov and colleagues at Kazan State Medical University, Kazan.