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Wild Health: Lessons in Natural Wellness from the Animal Kingdom Paperback – Bargain Price, March 19, 2003


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Paperback, Bargain Price, March 19, 2003
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--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (March 19, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618340688
  • ASIN: B0013VZLIQ
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,853,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A timely treatise for a health-obsessed culture, this book takes the idea of "natural remedies" quite literally. Engel, a lecturer in environmental sciences at the U.K. Open University, has compiled a wealth of fascinating laboratory studies and field observations on how animals treat and prevent diseases. Eschewing pseudomystical assertions about the innate wisdom of beasts, the author bases her assertions on scientific premises. For millennia, humans have observed animals in the wild eating plants and minerals and applying naturally occurring topical antitoxins from the same sources to combat infectious wounds, parasites and internal disorders. Herds of elephants risk injury and death in a perilous journey to hidden salt caves where they supplement their sodium deficient diets. Monkeys rub poisonous millipedes on their fur to repel biting, disease-carrying insects. Birds line their nests with parasite-resistant herbs. Engel details a world where nature is the pharmacy and every animal is its own practitioner. The reader also learns about the inbred weaknesses unintentionally visited upon domesticated animals through centuries of faulty genetic tampering by humans. Engel notes that the implications of all this for human health are sadly familiar: our biggest killers today (cancer, heart disease) result from unhealthy eating. Animals in the wild stay remarkably fit because they stick to a diet for which they were adapted, while human beings are ill-equipped to handle our current predilection for dairy, grains and processed foods. Occasionally, Engel lapses into apocalyptic rhetoric about the ravages of technology, which gets in the way of her otherwise clear-sighted and crisp narrative. Nevertheless, this is an engaging book that will enlighten those interested in health, biology, environment and animal behavior. Photos.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Birds do it, bees do it, and animals of every stripe seem to know how to forage for plants and minerals that will promote health. The author is a leading researcher in zoopharmascognosy, or animal self-medication.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 17 customer reviews
It is written in an entertaining manner.
Barbara Stanfield
Makes you aware of how new the science of animal behaviour still is, and what fascinating facts it can reveal to us.
M T J Tuck
This is a totally fascinating, wonderfully illuminating book--it's become a favorite for me.
L. Matey

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Tom D. on February 8, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Everyone should read this book! It's truly revolutionary and fascinating. It will change the way you think about animals and yourself. The things animals do to stay healthy are mind-boggling, and Dr. Engel is always careful to say what is scientifically proven and what isn't. I've always been suspicious of alternative medicine, but it opened my eyes.There are incredible lessons here for human health as well as animal health, and the book isn't heavy lifting at all. It's as full of ideas as Stephen Hawking and as fun to read as Dave Barry.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By "alisoncraig" on March 24, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Cindy Engel's book is fascinating because not only does she perceive our urgent and profound new need for sustainable healthcare, she has also taken the trouble to research in depth zoological and ecological examples of animals' healthcare strategies. It is for the thoroughness of these surveys, which support a compelling argument, that we should be grateful to her.
Messages from pharmaceutical-industry-led medicine have misled us for too long. Who realised, before reading Cindy Engel's book, for example, that having a temperature is the body's mechanism for combating harmful infection? Or that secondary compounds in food, some `toxic', can be deliberately ingested by animals for their protective health effects? Or that, though we know instinctively that lemon and pine are cleansing, we may not be aware that the volatile oils in those plants interfere with bacterial respiration and are commonly detrimental or repellent to arthropods and insects?
Cindy Engel concludes that human beings are too much like animals in captivity in the way we have limited our own healthcare strategies. Like Native Americans, she advocates, we should observe animal behaviour as the first step to achieving sustainable healthcare.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Michael Uschold on June 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
Have you ever wondered what happens to a wild animal that breaks a leg? What does it do if it gets infested with parasite worms, or if there is are many infectious bugs around?

Read this book to find out.

The author takes a very scientific approach explaining how there are important differences between romantic notions about animals magically knowing exactly what they need to stay well vs. hard scientific evidence of an animal intentionally seeking and engaging in self-medication.

In truth, animals don't magically know what is good for them, for when animals raised in captivity are let go in the wild, they can die from eating poisonous plants that no one taught them to avoid. It is also exceptionally difficult to meet a scientist's rigid definition of self-medication which entails a observation in the wild of 1) an animal is visibly unwell 2) it starts eating things that it normally does not eat 3) it goes out of its way to find those things to eat 4) it becomes visibly better after consuming the unusual `food' in a reasonably short period of time and 5) there is a clear cause and effect link between the treatment and the condition.

Such observations are hard to make because most animals are healthy and fit most of the time just by living a naturally healthy lifestyle with varied diet, plenty of exercise etc. If you get plenty of vitamin C in your diet, you will never get scurvy. Similarly, many animals from mice to primates to elephants eat clay on a regular basis - it seems to prevent many forms of disease.

Yet such examples do exist. A most interesting one is the widespread consumption of rough textured bitter leaves which are carefully folded up accordion-style before eating by primates.
Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By M T J Tuck on February 4, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book. Seriously scientific but written in very accessible language. Highly topical with its relevance to mad cows, foot and mouth disease, human allergies and drug addiction. Loads of fantastic anecdotes from all sorts of animals and environments, and a style and bibliography that lets you know the author has carried out in-depth research. Constantly refers to the need for studying animals in their native habitat ... not the laboratory. Makes you aware of how new the science of animal behaviour still is, and what fascinating facts it can reveal to us.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By MML on July 14, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is the book I have been waiting for! Herbalists and other behavioral scientists such as nurses who have encouraged the public to look at their health behaviors will be buoyed up by Engel's research and ability to deliver the "message". This is a must for all health science collections both personal and institutional. Timely.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By tatiana on August 6, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Absolutely useful read for those going in-depth w Wicca, healing n herbology. Has got basic detailed explanation of why certain herbs, soils, insect eaten work the way they do. A book to make u smarter in all things nature! I read n memorize it as a study material.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Corvus on June 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
Wild Health is one of the most interesting books I have read in recent years. Dr. Engel describes in great detail what strategies wild animals have to keep themselves healthy. If you are a pet owner, or have anything to do with animals - actually, even if you have nothing to do with animals - this book makes fascinating reading and is packed full of facts and examples from observations of wildlife as well as some old wisdom from the likes of Juliette de Bairacli Levy.

It also reminds us that real life does not take place in a laboratory, that more field research is needed, that living with parasites, diseases and co. to a degree may be better than bombarding them out of our lives, and that there is still a whole lot we can learn by observing nature and it's creatures.

I highly recommend this book!
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