Archive for November 19th, 2013

November 19, 2013

Zoopharmacognosy

drunken monkey

Zoopharmacognosy [zoh-uh-fahr-muh-kog-nuh-see] refers non-human animal self-medication (using plants, soils, insects and psychoactive drugs to treat and prevent disease).

Coined by Dr. Eloy Rodriguez, a biochemist and professor at Cornell University, the term came to popular attention in 2003 from Open University lecturer Cindy Engel in ‘Wild Health: How Animals Keep Themselves Well and What We Can Learn from Them.’ A well-known example of zoopharmacognosy is when dogs eat grass to induce vomiting. Some species ingest non-foods such as clay, charcoal, and even toxic plants, apparently to ward off parasitic infestation or poisoning.

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