Books by Cindy Engel

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Wild Health


This book explores how animals keep themselves well in the wild.

It has long been documented that wild animals heal themselves with herbs.  Folklore, legends and traditional medicine lay claim to such feats of self-medication by animals. Until recently,  though, scientists have been reluctant to accept these stories, dismissing them as romantic anthropomorphism.  But things are changing as more and more scientists uncover examples of insects, birds and mammals self-medicating their ills. Monkeys, bears, coatis and birds protect themselves from insect bits and fungal infections by rubbing bioactive plants and insect secretions into their skin.  Chimpanzees carefully select bitter-tasting anti-parasitic plant medicines to deal with parasites.  Elephants roam miles to find the clay they need to help counter dietary toxins. And birds line their nests with pungent medicinal leaves and so improve their chick’s chances of survival.

This book--the first general overview of the emerging science of zoopharmacognosy--explores the behavioural strategies animals use to maintain health. Many of these strategies can be exploited to improve the health of animals in our care. By observing wild health we may even discover (or rediscover) ways to benefit out own health.

Cindy Engel’s book is a work of some scholarship.
— Times Literary Supplement

Wild Health is absolutely enthralling. Cindy Engel explores the fascinating world of animal self-medication in this well researched and engagingly written book. All the thousands of us who are turning increasingly to alternative medicine will find Wild Health particularly compelling.
— Jane Goodall, primatologist and author

Wild Health is a fascinating and enlightening view of how our closest relatives stay healthy. Secrets of nature deliciously told — so easily digestible that to absorb its benefits there’s no need to eat clay like the wild parrots Dr. Engel describes.
— William B. Karesh, veterinarian, Chair IUCN Wildlife Specialist Group.