New Vision (Kampala)

Uganda: Chimps Eat Herbs to Cure Malaria - Expert

Kampala — CHIMPANZEES eat plants similar to the ones used by traditional healers to treat malaria and diarrhoea, researchers have said.

Sabrina Krief, a researcher at Kibale National Park said: "The chimps and human beings around Kibale use similar plants to overcome sickness."

She was speaking at Makerere University's Faculty of Science at the launch a memorandum of cooperation between the university, the Uganda Wildlife Authority and French institutions.

In her five-year research at Kanyawara research station at the edge of Kibale, Krief found that chimps carefully select plants like mululuza, that do not have nutritive value but have medicinal properties that help them overcome malaria, diarrhoea and expel worms from their intestines. Her research included analysing the dung and urine of the chimps.

She also monitored the chimps' behaviour to find out if there was an improvement when sick chimps ate the plants.

"It was stunning to see that traditional healers use the same plants to treat the diseases. Studies on great apes, the closest relatives to humans, will help us discover plants with medicinal properties."

Copyright © 2007 New Vision. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.