Tuesday, December 30, 2014 - A new research study by Joel Shurkin, recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) reveals that both domestic and wild animals instinctively turn to natural medicine to improve their health.
The phenomenon is known as zoopharmacognosy, derived from the root words zoo ("animal"), pharma ("drug"), and gnosy ("knowing"). It refers to the animals innate ability to seek out plants and herbs that possess healing compounds.
Shurkin cited multiple studies and examples of everything from chimpanzees, wild bears and elk to domesticated cats and dogs relying on nature's offerings for assisting with stomach aches, parasites, bacterial infections and successful birthing. Other animals eat clay and other natural substances to detoxify.
· In Brazil, red and green macaws have been observed eating kaolin clay, which is a known digestive panacea.
· In Madagascar, pregnant lemurs have been found nibbling on tamarind and fig leaves and bark, which helps kill intestinal parasites.
· Even domesticated cats and dogs go after green grass, for instance, which helps them vomit when they eat something that causes digestive discomfort.
· Bonobo chimps in the Congo coat the leaves and stem of the Manniophyton fulvum shrub with saliva in their mouth and then swallow them whole to treat themselves for intestinal parasites
Shurkin wrote, "Much of folk medicine, particularly in the undeveloped world, likely came from medicine men watching animals self-medicate, and in the case of the plant used by the bonobos, what they saw works."