Wild Health: Lessons in Natural Wellness from the Animal Kingdom

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Wild Health: Lessons in Natural Wellness from the Animal Kingdom [Paperback]

Cindy Engel
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 19, 2003 0618340688 978-0618340682 Reprint
As Dr. Engel emphasizes in this "enticing, well-referenced, [and] entertaining book" (Science), we can learn a lot about human health by studying animal behavior in the wild. Indeed, some of the natural, holistic, and alternative human medicine being practiced today arose through the observation of wild animals. In this groundbreaking work, Dr. Engel points out fascinating parallels between animal and human medicine. She offers intriguing examples of how animals prevent and cure sickness and poisonings, heal open wounds, balance their diets, and regulate fertility. For instance,

*chimpanzees carefully eat bitter-tasting plant "medicines" that counter intestinal parasites *elephants roam miles to find the clay they ingest to counter dietary toxins *broken-legged chicks have been known to eat analgesic foods that alleviate pain.

By observing wild health we may discover (or rediscover) ways to benefit our own health. As Craig Stotlz of the Washington Post noted, this "highly readable assessment . . . triggers more outside-the-double-helix thoughts about human health than anything I've read recently."

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Wild Health: Lessons in Natural Wellness from the Animal Kingdom + The Secret Teachings of Plants: The Intelligence of the Heart in the Direct Perception of Nature + Herbal Antibiotics, 2nd Edition: Natural Alternatives for Treating Drug-resistant Bacteria
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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.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Reprint edition (March 19, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618340688
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618340682
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #559,963 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book! February 8, 2002
By Tom D.
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
4.0 out of 5 stars Wild health - thorough research March 24, 2002
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
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.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary facts about animals February 4, 2002
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
5.0 out of 5 stars More than Common Sense July 14, 2002
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating read! June 11, 2009
By Corvus
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars I did not get much out of this book
I did not enjoy or finish this book. I thought was a book on how to do as animals do in order to become more healthy, but I was wrong.
Published 24 days ago by Mary Ogershok
5.0 out of 5 stars Ten Stars if available
This book is a treasure, a written documentary. It reads as entertaining and enthralling as an David Attenborough's documentary. It is very well written, thickly referenced. Read more
Published 6 months ago by MG
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
Interesting book for my collection as a wildlife rehabilitator. I thought i would just skim it but find that I am reading ALL of it. I am sharing it with fellow rehabbers. Thanks!
Published 13 months ago by FAE MCC EASTON
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read...
This book was recommended to me by a friend who knows I love and raise animals. It was an interesting read. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Smartee
1.0 out of 5 stars The book might be very good but it was so dirty I could not bear to...
The book arrived covered in muck and coffee stains and cup marks all over it. I could bear to open it to read it so it went straight in the bin. Read more
Published 16 months ago by sweetness
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating read!
I read this at a library years ago and was hooked by it ever since. It has a lot of amazing examples of animals using their natural surroundings to heal them from parasites,... Read more
Published on November 11, 2012 by Shadowwolf
5.0 out of 5 stars magicka school student
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. Read more
Published on August 6, 2012 by tatiana
5.0 out of 5 stars Medicine as a natural phenomenon
More than hundred and fifty years after Darwin, all discipline should be reviewed on a evolutionary basis. Read more
Published on June 8, 2012 by betpao
5.0 out of 5 stars Wild Health
Wild Health is an interesting book about animals and their methods of healing. It is written in an entertaining manner. You are able to picture the animals self medicating. Read more
Published on April 19, 2012 by Barbara Stanfield
5.0 out of 5 stars good service
this book is in perfect condition, it arrived soon after I ordered it.
I am very satisfied with the service experience.
Published on August 3, 2009 by Jill M. Axford
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