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Medicines of the Rainforest

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The Chimpanzee Medicine Chest


posted by Gretchen Vogel



Because Chimpanzees are so similiar to human beings they are often forced into laboratory experiments to find cures for many crazy human diseases.

Now medical scientists found out - wait, Chimpanzees can teach us in their natural surrounding about how they cure so many diseases.

Extensive field and laboratory studies in progress at Mahale Mountains National Park showed how Chimpanzees treat infections by using all kind of herbs. It now appears that some of these plants have a chemical effect (e.g. Vernonia amygdalina) while others have a physical purging effect (e.g. Aspilia mossambicensis). The strongyle nematode species Oesophagosotmum stephanostomum is largely responsible for the observed cases of illness recorded at Mahale during the rainy season, when these medicinal plants are most frequently used by chimpanzees.

Bitter-pith chewing : Vernonia amygdalina Chimpanzees carefully remove the leaves and outer bark from young shoots and chew on the exposed pith, sucking out the extremely bitter juice. In a few well-documented cases, chimpanzees have been shown to recover their appetites, regain strength, lower parasite loads, and recover from constipation or diarrhoea within 24 hours after using this plant. Interestingly, this species is also used widely across Africa as medicine by many traditional human societies. Chemical investigations of compounds which are effective against illness caused by bacterial infection, bilharzia, cancer, and malaria.

Whole leaf-swallowing : Aspilia mossambicensis Chimpanzees use their lips to carefully remove one leaf from the plant at a time and pull it into the mouth with the tongue. This causes these rough,hairy leaves to fold up accordion-style. Each folded leaf is then swallowed whole without being chewed. Leaves are evacuated whole and undigested in their feces. It has recently been demonstrated that leaves swallowed in this manner physically remove adult worms that were previously attached to the wall of the intestine.




In near future medical scientists believe that Chimpanzees will also teach us how to cure hepatitis, diabetes, cancer, migraine, depression, tuberculosis, obesity and blood poisoning.

Also there will be a Nobel Prize award for outstanding contribution by Chimpanzees to the lag behind human race. http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/2006/

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