What to know

Orangutans Use Same Medical Plants as Humans

Orangutans have been observed using the Dracaena cantleyi medical plants to self-medicate

Orangutans have been observed using the same medical plants as the early humans did.

The large Orangutans were using the medical plants to soothe joint pants and treat muscle inflammation. This was the first time it had ever been observed.

The apes chewed leaves from the Dracaena cantleyi plant to create a white lather that they rub onto the injured body part.

It was the first time Asian apes have been observed and reported to be self-medicating, and also the first evidence of animals using anti-inflammatory medication.

The same method, using the Dracaena cantleyi plant, has been used by the indigenous people of the Indonesian island for centuries.

Dr. Ivona Foitova, who co-authored the study published in the Scientific Reports journal, said that this is “first time ever, self-medication activities of orangutans have been confirmed through this research.”

Dr. Foitova and her fellows at the Masaryk University in the Czech Republic conducted the study by observing wild orangutans in Sabangau Forest for 15 years. Throughout the research they recorded more than 20,000 hours of observational data.

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