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Self-Medicating Animals

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posted on Nov, 1 2012 @ 08:10 PM
Animals and insects evolved to rely on the natural world to help heal themselves - and just like in people, self-medication seems hard-wired…

From insects to mammals, the animal kingdom sometimes cures its own ills.

Woolly Bear Caterpillars

…woolly bear caterpillars, focus their diet on nutrient-rich food, but switch to eating plants with high levels of toxic substances when infected with parasites. …Eating such food…improved infected caterpillar survival.


When experiencing stomach upset, chimpanzees turn to noxious plants, such as the bitter leaf plant, to help handle any intestinal parasites that might be causing their symptoms. … “Once they suck out the juice, the chimps spit out the fiber”—receiving no nutritional benefit from the plant, but giving the nematodes in their gut a toxic bath.

Gibbons, Macaques, and More

A number of primate species, including chimpanzees, Japanese macaques, gibbons, and bonobos, sometimes choose plant material for its physical characteristics. A behavior called “leaf swallowing,” wherein a chimp picks a rough leaf, folds it carefully, and swallows it whole. Covered in tiny stiff hairs, the leaves sweep through the chimps’ intestines undigested, carrying parasites with them.

Honey Bees

Honey bees were recently shown to self-medicate, and perform the task as a whole colony. When challenged with the fungus Ascophaera apis, …the worker bees sought out more propolis and less pollen than usual. Propolis, …are rich in antimicrobial activity. Adding propolis to hives decreased fungal infections by A. apis.


posted on Nov, 1 2012 @ 08:13 PM
So what, our huge "self-awareness" leads to. . .a lack of instinct

I think this is a fascinating topic.

S + F

edit on 1-11-2012 by moniesisfun because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 2 2012 @ 05:26 AM
reply to post by soficrow
Nice article.

It reminded me of how animals often have instinctive responses to dietary needs, For example, when we sometimes crave a certain food, it may be because some ingredient in that food is lacking in our bodies. Sure, most of the time, a craving is just a response to advertising or the smells in the street. Beyond the fact that we're all like Pavlov's dogs, away from marketing noises, we might find a sudden hankering for nuts or oily fish is just because we're low on omega oils or minerals.

In the wild, animals display this in a clearer way by travelling miles and miles to get a good old lick of mineral..."Mmmm...dirt tastes good."

My old dog used to eat grass when he was 'off his game' and it seemed obvious to me that it was a natural response to feeling ill. Even now some people say dogs aren't *smart* enough to know how to help themselves and just don't get the fact that animals aren't literally saying to each other,"Yo! Fancy a walk over to that tasty mud flat? C'mon, it'll be a laugh."

posted on Nov, 2 2012 @ 05:47 AM
Nice find.
I know many animals eats a very specific type of clay. I think its Iron enrich. Its crazy to look at them, they know exactly wich strate to pick.

Also seen chimps toothpicking using burned tree branchs, I dont know how it worked out but seems it was helping their digestion.

The antimicrobian Propolis can be bought at your local honey dealer if you're lucky and is used to chew and clean up any bacteria is your mouth. It looks like red lil sponges, dont know if it was raw but I believe in the virtue of the bees. One of the most fascinating thing you can imagine.
edit on 2-11-2012 by eagleeye2 because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 2 2012 @ 06:06 AM
When the human male/female reaches a tipping point of insanity from the nagging
sound that comes from its mate, they often consume large amounts of alcoholic nectar,
often relieving the sharp pains in the head and ears..

edit on 2-11-2012 by Lil Drummerboy because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 2 2012 @ 09:52 AM

Originally posted by moniesisfun
So what, our huge "self-awareness" leads to. . .a lack of instinct

That's quite predictable really. An animal is mostly driven by its fundamental programming, their animalistic desires and instinctual responses involve little pondering. When an animals acquires high levels of self awareness it relies less on "gut feeling" and relies more on critical thinking, a rational and logical step by step thought process. This can be highly advantageous for our success as a species but also highly damaging to our instincts.
edit on 2/11/2012 by ChaoticOrder because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 2 2012 @ 01:37 PM
Amazing how this only gets discovered now. Wake up!

posted on Nov, 2 2012 @ 01:38 PM
Humans natural cure is eating the seeds of apricots.

posted on Nov, 2 2012 @ 01:48 PM
I was just thinking about this- my cat was constipated.
She dove headfirst into the bowl of pumpkin and started eating it, then was trying to bite the carved jack-o-latern's eyes out.

The next day, she ate a small aloe vera plant down to the nubs.

She has never bothered that aloe vera but maybe once in the past.

I looked it up - pumpkin is something cats love -there's a LOT of youtube videos of tigers and big cats eating and playing with pumpkins on youtube.

Anyway, I looked it up - pumpkin helps their digestion and aloe is toxic supposedly - but in reading deeper I found it causes 'loose stools' and that cats with feline leukemia often eat it and have a higher survival rate.
edit on 2-11-2012 by hadriana because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 2 2012 @ 02:06 PM
reply to post by soficrow

All animals have the ability to find medicine. Humans are no exception. A person eats something and the subconscious makes a note of what it does to the body. The more different things we eat when we are young, the better trained the subconscious becomes of knowing the antidotes to other food that we eat. I'll give you a for instance. A child has eaten many foods and beverages. the kid eats peanuts and wants a cup of coffee later with half a cup of cream and sugar. The peanuts contained aflotoxins that needed neutralizing so the kid got a craving for coffee with cream. The caffeic acid is an antidote for some of the aflotoxins while the half and half is an antidote for others. There was no bacteria alive in the peanuts anymore, just the toxins the bacteria created. If there was bacteria left alive in it, the kid may have waged war and got the runs or threw the stuff up or just refused to eat it because he sensed it was bad tasting or upset his stomach. We are taught to ignore these things, that is the problem today with people in healthcare. We automatically sense crossreactivity of things that are genetic specific but are told to eat these because they are healthy. The problem comes when food is modified and it no longer contains the right chemistry. The knowledgeable people of our society are inadvertantly making us sick sometimes.

I know a lot of examples, this is just one that is simple to explain. These food allergies or problems with metabolism are genetic specific, even your sibling or parent can be different. One of your ancestors usually has had the problem though, or a cousin or aunt and uncle. Ask around if you want answers, a regular doctor can't help. A metabolism doctor may be able to help. Most of these metabolic problems are not true allergies so if you see an allergist, listen to what they are saying and don't be pig headed and get mad. If they say it is not an allergy, ask about a metabolic problem or crossreactivity issue.

posted on Nov, 2 2012 @ 07:49 PM
Had a spider monkey when I was a kid that would rub itself down with onions and eat the onion when it got the sniffles.

posted on Nov, 3 2012 @ 06:42 AM
Interesting how they instinctively know what to eat in order to aid themselves.
On another note, one of my dogs used to eat his own feces. My grandfather said this was because he was missing some sort of nutrient in his diet..I suppose it was only formed after digestion?? Or that dog was, a little, topsy-turvy.

posted on Nov, 3 2012 @ 03:46 PM
For Humans a good discipline is called Natural Hygiene. It's the science of healing the body through nutrition.

We have to re-learn this stuff because we don't have instincts to help us self medicate. It's sad humans cant be as smart as animals when it comes to health care. I read once that animals in the wild do not get diseases like we do or our domesticated animals do. This is directly because of our diet. Humans don't eat foods that they are made to eat, when and how they should eat them for optimal health.

Natural Hygiene teaches you if you feed the body what it wants and needs it can and will heal itself, even of most disease if it's caught before it spreads like a virus. Food is the prevention, food is the cure. Our food manufacturers are out to make a buck, not feed us what we need. They are killing us slowly year after year and they are working with the fake doctors ( fake doctors are all doctors who have gone through medical school and are members of the AMA) who treat symptoms that our diets caused and tell us we must buy their drugs to treat the symptom - never changing our diets to cure the problem.

The system is indeed 100% Evil.

posted on Nov, 4 2012 @ 01:02 AM
reply to post by JohnPhoenix

Humans cannot self-medicate, naturally as in instinctively? I beg to disagree. Have you heard of the man stuck in the middle of the sea and began to eat fish guts because his brain told him to?

I'll stop there. I'm sure more members will clarify this. I just think that we humans are still instinctive and capable of self-medication as we are still animals. As someone here had once said, "Humans, the only primates denying they're apes."


posted on Nov, 4 2012 @ 01:54 AM
Beautiful, makes me think about the natural evolution of the whole. Humans are the only ones who retard their own progression through ego, fear and greed. Thanks for bringing new news my way.

posted on Nov, 9 2012 @ 07:03 PM
reply to post by Kandinsky

Thank you.

reply to post by rickymouse

All animals have the ability to find medicine. Humans are no exception. .....The problem comes when food is modified and it no longer contains the right chemistry. The knowledgeable people of our society are inadvertantly making us sick sometimes.

Unfortunately (as you acknowledge and JohnPhoenix pointed out), our self-healing instincts are short-circuited by the food and drug industries - few people today were raised on real food; fewer still have the ability to recognize real food.

And, erm, no - the knowledgeable people of our society are NOT inadvertantly making us sick sometimes. They know darn well what they're doing; they just don't care. It's a money thing.

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