Zoopharmacognosy

Self-Selection of Plants by Animals for Medicinal Purposes

The notion that animals can self-medicate, when they have access to a variety of herbs, has fascinated mankind for years. It does not require a great stretch of the imagination to expect herbivores to do so. However, there is evidence that the great apes (gorillas, orang utans, chimpanzees) can and do self-medicate and that horses and dogs can also. Some herbal vets recognise this.

International Journal of Primatology (DOI:10.1007/s10764-008-9266-5) describes the use of anti-inflammatory balm by orang-utans. This is reported in the New Scientist.

http://www.articlesbase.com/alternative-medicine-articles/zoopharmacognosy-natures-pharmacy-used-by-animals-536684.html documents many examples.

We even have our own example, described on our ‘herbs‘ page.

Suffice to say that there appears to be sufficient evidence for self-medication by animals, despite the ridicule poured on the idea from some ‘scientific’ quarters (could this ridicule be fuelled by financial interest?). This either revolutionises our notions of the wisdom of animals or confirms the power of instinct and learned behaviour, which would also have applied to mankind, prior to our ‘civilised’ and ‘scientific’ development.

Related pages:

FAQ Herbal medicine

Herb & Herbal Medicine

Herbal vet

Horse herbs

Dog herbs

Cat herbs