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Wild Health: How Animals Keep Themselves Will and What We Can Learn from Themby Cindy Engel
Synopses & Reviews
As Dr. Engel emphasizes in this groundbreaking work, we can learn a lot about human health by studying animal behavior in the wild. In fact, much of the natural, holistic, and alternative human medicine being practiced today arose through the observation of animals. In this "enticing, well-referenced, and entertaining book" (Science), Engel offers intriguing stories about how animals prevent and cure sickness and poisonings, heal open wounds, balance their diet, and regulate fertility. She also points out some fascinating parallels between animal and human medicine. For example:
- Some animals swallow clay that binds toxins; humans ingest charcoal drinks, clay pills, and mineral waters to purify ourselves.
- A captive monkey was observed to use a strong sugar solution as a salve for wounds; traditional human medicine recommends honey for the same purpose.
- Young chicks with broken legs eat analgesic foods that alleviate pain; humans take painkillers such as aspirin.
As Craig Stolz of the Washington Post wrote of this fascinating book, "Wild Health triggers more outside-the-double-helix thoughts about human health than anything I've read recently."
As Dr. Engel emphasizes in this "enticing, well-referenced, [and] entertaining book" (Science), we can learn a lot about human health by studying animal behavior in the wild. Indeed, some of the natural, holistic, and alternative human medicine being practiced today arose through the observation of wild animals. In this groundbreaking work, Dr. Engel points out fascinating parallels between animal and human medicine. She offers intriguing examples of how animals prevent and cure sickness and poisonings, heal open wounds, balance their diets, and regulate fertility. For instance,
*chimpanzees carefully eat bitter-tasting plant "medicines" that counter intestinal parasites *elephants roam miles to find the clay they ingest to counter dietary toxins *broken-legged chicks have been known to eat analgesic foods that alleviate pain.
By observing wild health we may discover (or rediscover) ways to benefit our own health. As Craig Stotlz of the Washington Post noted, this "highly readable assessment . . . triggers more outside-the-double-helix thoughts about human health than anything I've read recently."
About the Author
Cindy Engel has a Ph.D. in biology from the University of East Anglia, with a concentration on the relationship between physiology and behavior in animals. She has done research on the behavior and health of wild rabbits and jaguars and for twelve years has been a lecturer in environmental sciences at the Open University. She has published numerous scientific papers, particularly in the prestigious journal Animal Behaviour, and for the past eighteen months has worked as a script writer and science advisor for a series of wildlife documentaries being produced by National Geographic. In addition to her research into the medicinal practices of animals, she has studied holistic medicine for humans and is a Shiatsu practitioner. She has two children, lives on a farm in Suffolk, and is not quite forty.
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