Maggots will soon be sent to war zones to heal the injured

Maggots can be creepy, crawly and … medicinal? In a new effort to heal wounded people in war zones, the U.K. government is sending maggots to places like Syria, Yemen and South Sudan, according to The Telegraph.

Once these larvae — often those of green bottle blowflies — are connected with patients, they get right to work, keeping wounds contamination-free by gulping down dead human tissue and spreading their antibacterial saliva.

This macabre treatment may sound unusual, but it’s actually a remedy that dates back to ancient times. For instance, the Australian Aboriginal peoples used maggots to clean wounds. And during World War I, soldiers in trenches also used the critters. [Coffee to Maggots: Top 10 Bad Things That Are Good For You]

Now, this therapy may help people with festering wounds stay free of infection. The $250,000 project may even help wounded people keep their limbs, as secondary infections from injuries and operations can lead to amputations.