Study shows wild chimpanzees seek out medicinal plants to treat illness and injuries

June 22, 2024

Lead author Dr Elodie Freymann collecting the dead wood of Alstonia boonei in the Budongo Forest for pharmacological testing. To investigate this, a team of researchers combined behavioral observations of wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) with pharmacological testing of the potentially medicinal plants they eat. Interestingly, Alstonia boonei is also used as a medicinal plant in East African communities to treat a variety of conditions, including bacterial infections, gastro-intestinal issues, snake bites, and asthma. The results provide compelling evidence that chimpanzees seek out specific plants for their medicinal effects. The study is the most in-depth analysis to date that combines both behavioral and pharmacological evidence of the medicinal benefits to wild chimpanzees of feeding on bark and dead wood.

The source of this news is from University of Oxford