Zoopharmacognosy

By Carly Hillier

Zoopharmacognosy

Carly Hillier explains what Zoopharmacognosy is and how it can help your horse.

Zoopharmacognosy - now, that’s a word you won’t see on the back of a Cornflakes packet when you sit down to breakfast. Whilst a bit of a mouthful, broken down the word translates as animals (zoo) + drugs (pharma) + cognitive knowing (cognosy), and describes the process by which animals self-medicate in the wild on plants, clays, algae and insects in order to restore and maintain health. Extensive studies have shown us that chimpanzees select certain plants as de-wormers, feral New Forest ponies chew charred furze bushes to detoxify, and elephants trek miles to mine for ancient sub-soils containing clay.

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