Image Credit: Animal Planet
Researchers have discovered that the reason chimpanzees eat certain foods may have nothing to do with having a sophisticated palate, but rather, the animals appear to be self-medicating. I suppose if you were a chimpanzee it would be difficult to find a doctor to treat your most recent parasitic infection. The ability to know what foods to eat for specific medicinal benefits may be a learned behavior.
Other animals are known to self-medicate as well, but chimpanzees and humans are the most notorious. Personally, I like to self-medicate with chocolate…and coffee…
For a list of many of the plants chimpanzees in the study were observed ingesting, including their medicinal benefit, visit Discovery News. It is not recommended that you attempt to self-medicate with any of these plants since some are toxic. We have a lot to learn from our closest relatives.