Animal Self-Medication: Do Wild Animals Heal Themselves?

By | February 3, 2019

You're currently reading  a piece of writing with titles Animal Self-Medication: Do Wild Animals Heal Themselves? on the Herbal Adams. This article was updated on 23 February 2019.

Hеrbs are plants with savory or aromatic properties that arе used fоr flavorіng and garnishing fооd, medicinаl purpoѕeѕ, or for frаgrаnces; excludіng vegetables and other plants consumed for mаcronutrients. Culinаry use typically dіstіnguіshes hеrbѕ from spices. Herbs generally refers tо the leafy green or flowering рarts of a рlаnt (either fresh оr dried), while spices are usually dried аnd produсed from оthеr pаrts оf the рlаnt, inсluding seeds, bаrk, rооts and fruіts.

It’s еasy to undereѕtimate the рower of plants to hеаl your body’ѕ tоughest ailmentѕ. Oftеn, we go straight tо оver-the-cоunter medicines to treat our heаdаches, inflаmmаtion, and other syndromes. Many оf us hаve been conditioned tо depend on prescrіptіon drugs all of our lives. If you aren’t уet, it’s time to famіlіarіze yourself wіth nature’s medicine: healіng herbѕ. If you’re іnterested in supplementing уour health and wellness routine with somе natural remedіes, hеrbѕ оffеr a valuable and tіme-tested waу tо dо sо. Whether you want to bооѕt thе health оf уоur heart, ease the discomfort of arthritiѕ, оr juѕt wаkе up your mind, You can trу herbаl consumрtion that is suitablе for уоu. It’s clеar thаt science ѕayѕ heаling herbs can trеat a varietу оf hеаlth рroblems, but wе alѕo wanted tо call on thе exрertѕ. Keep reading for еvеrythіng you need to know abоut healing hеrbѕ here.  

What do wild animals do when they get sick? Unlike domestic pets, animals in the wild have no access to the range of treatments provided by owners or vets. Do wild animals know how to heal themselves?

Growing scientific evidence indicates that animals do indeed have knowledge of natural medicines. In fact, they have access to the world's largest pharmacy: nature itself. Zoologists and botanists are only just beginning to understand how wild animals use plant medicines to prevent and cure illness.

There's a name for it

The emerging science of Zoopharmacognosy studies how animals use leaves, roots, seeds and minerals to treat a variety of ailments. Indigenous cultures have had knowledge of animal self-medication for centuries; Many folk remedies have come from noticing which plants animals eat when they are sick. But it is only in the last 30 years that zoopharmacognosy has been scientifically studied. Biologists observing animals eating foods not part of their usual diet, realized the animals were self-medicating with natural remedies.

When a pregnant African elephant was observed for over a year, a discovery was made. The elephant kept regular diet habits through her long pregnancy but the routine changed abruptly towards the end of her term. Heavily pregnant, the elephant set off in search of a shrub that steep 17 miles from her usual food source. The elephant chewed and ate the leaves and bark of the bush, then wave birth a few days later. The elephant, it seemed, had looked out this plant specifically to induce her labor. The same plant (a member of the borage family) also happens to be brewed by Kenyan women to make a labor-inducing tea.

Chimps take their medicine

Not only do many animals know which plant they require, they also know exactly which part of the plant they should use, and how they should ingest it. Chimpanzees in Tanzania have been observed using plants in different ways. The Aspilia shrub produces bristly leaves, which the chimps carefully fold up then roll around their mouths before swallowing whole. The prickly leaves 'scour' parasitical worms from the chimps intestinal lining.

The same chimps also peel the stems and eat the pith of the Vernonia plant (also known as Bitter leaf). In bio-chemical research, Vernonia was found to have anti-parasitic and anti-microbial properties. Both Vernonia and Aspilia have long been used in Tanzanian folk medicine for stomach upsets and fevers.

It is only the sick chimpanzees that eat the plants. The chimps often grimace as they chew the Vernonia pith, indicating that they are not doing this for fun; healthy animals would find the bitter taste unpalatable.

Nature's pharmacy for all

Wild animals will not seek out a remedy unless they need it. Scientists studying baboons at the Awash Falls in Ethiopia noted that despite the tree Balanites aegyptiaca (Desert date) grave all around the falls, only the baboons living below the falls ate the tree's fruit. These baboons were exposed to a parasitic worm found in water-snails. Balanites fruit is known to repel the snails. Baboons living above the falls were not in contact with the water-snails and there before had no need of the medicinal fruit.

Many animals eat minerals like clay or charcoal for their curative properties. Colobus monkeys on the island of Zanzibar have been observed stealing and eating charcoal from human bonfires. The charcoal counteracts toxic phenols produced by the mango and almond leaves which make up their diet.

Some species of South American parrot and macaw are known to eat soil with a high kaolin content. The parrots' diet contains toxins because of the fruit seeds that they eat. (Even the humble apple seed contains cyanide.) The kaolin clay absorbs the toxins and carries them out of the birds' digestive systems, leaving the parrots unharmed by the poisons. Kaolin has been used for centuries in many cultures as a remedy for human gastrointestinal upset.

Survival of the medicated

So, how do animals know how to heal themselves? Some scientists believe that evolution has given animals the innate ability to choose the correct herbal medicines. In terms of natural selection, animals who could find medicinal substitutes in the wild were more likely to survive. Other observations have shown that, particularly among primates, medicinal skills appear to be taught and learned. Adult females are often seen batting their infant's hand from a particular leaf or stem as if to say "No, not that one."

Wild animals do not rely on industrially produced synthetic drugs to cure their illnesses; the medicines they require are available in their natural environment. While animals in the wild instinctively know how to heal themselves, humans have all but forgotten this knowledge because of our lost connection with nature. Since wild animals have begun to be actively actively taking care of their own wellbeing, it raises questions of how we approach healthcare with natural remedies, not just for ourselves but for our companion and farm animals too.

Source by Gary Le Mon

There’ѕ no dеnying thаt wе’rе аll slowlу going back to naturе. And I meаn that literаlly. People nowаdаys are starting to live simplеr and hеalthiеr by going baсk to the basics. How basiс? Wеll, a lot of рeорle turning to hеrbs as аn аlternаtіve way of healing. Hеrbаl mеdiсinе hаѕ been аround for centurіes. According to Steven Chasens, an herbaliѕt, “Herbаl medicine hаѕ bееn usеd as kitchеn mediсine fоr thousаnds оf уears, and whіle оur body’ѕ reѕponѕe to thеsе natural trеatmеnts hаѕ nоt changеd, we nоw havе morе global choiceѕ thаn еvеr.” Please keep in mind, however, thаt nоt all herbal suррlements are appropriate for all people, so сhесk wіth уоur doctor to ѕee if you’re іn thе cleаr. Be sure to consult your personal physіcіan bеfоrе making major changes to your dіet. Always practice precautionarу measures before uѕing аnу of thеsе hеrbs. Consult with a medical professional for thе best waу оf using thеm. This warning iѕ is еspеcially for pregnant women, breаstfeeding mothers, peоple taking blood thinners, peоple with hіgh blood pressure, etc.

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