Orangutan News: Orangutans, Like People, Use Medicinal Plants To Treat Joint And Muscle Inflammation

Photo Credit: CC0 Public Domain


Scientists have discovered that the same plant used by indigenous people on Borneo is also used by wild orangutans to treat joint and muscle inflammation.

Borneo Nature Foundation scientists have been observing wild Bornean orangutans in the Sabangau Forest (Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo) since 2003 and have collected over 20,000 hours of observational data.

During this time the use of the Dracaena cantleyi plant for self-medication by orangutans has only been observed on seven occasions. But, the team were fortunate to capture this rare behaviour on camera.

In the video, a female orangutan, called ‘Indy’, can be seen chewing the leaves to produce a white soapy lather. This lather was then rubbed onto the upper left arm for approximately 7 minutes and the leaves were never swallowed.

Borneo Nature Foundation collaborated with an international team of scientists to analyse the properties of the plant.

This excerpt from a news article appeared in and is courtesy of PHYS.ORG and can be read in its entirety here.

The Orangutan Conservancy is pleased to help support the work of The Borneo Nature Foundation.

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