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The Hidden Knowledge of Animals — Mark Plotkin on Nature’s Medicine Cabinet (#537)

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Bufo marinus from Suriname Credit: Mark J. Plotkin



“The study of how animals use plants for medicinal purposes is termed ‘zoopharmacognosy,’ but our observation of this phenomenon is, without question, an ancient practice. Who has not watched a dog swallow grass to induce vomiti
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Bufo marinus from Suriname Credit: Mark J. Plotkin



“The study of how animals use plants for medicinal purposes is termed ‘zoopharmacognosy,’ but our observation of this phenomenon is, without question, an ancient practice. Who has not watched a dog swallow grass to induce vomiting when the animal has eaten something unhealthy it wishes to regurgitate?”— Dr. Mark Plotkin



This special episode of The Tim Ferriss Show features Dr. Mark Plotkin (@DocMarkPlotkin) .



Mark is an ethnobotanist who serves as president of the Amazon Conservation Team, which has partnered with ~80 tribes to map and improve management and protection of ~100 million acres of ancestral rainforests. He is best known to the general public as the author of the book Tales of a Shaman’s Apprentice, one of the most popular books ever written about the rainforest. His most recent book is The Amazon: What Everyone Needs to Know. You can find my first interview with Mark at tim.blog/MarkPlotkin.



He is also the host of the Plants of the Gods podcast, through which you can learn about everything from hallucinogenic snuffs to the diverse formulations of curare (a plant mixture which relaxes the muscles of the body and leads to asphyxiation), and much, much more.



Today’s episode focuses on how animals use medicinal plants, and it has some wild stories featuring cows, penguins, pigs, frogs, and everything in between. It’s pulled from a chapter in Mark’s book Medicine Quest: In Search of Nature’s Healing Secrets. I loved the chapter, and I asked Mark if he’d be willing to record it in audio to share it with you all. He agreed and here we are.



Please enjoy!



If you prefer to read the chapter, you can find the full text here.



Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Podcast Addict, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, or on your favorite podcast platform.
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