Gorilla medicine?

Coincidentally, here’s a very detailed article which perhaps sheds some light on how some medicinal plants may come to be used by people. Aframomum melegueta is a herb in the ginger family which grows along the coast of West Africa. The seeds are sometimes called “Grains of Paradise,” and were traded as a spice in the 15th century, giving its area of origin the name of Grain Coast. The plant is used in traditional medicine, and biochemists at Rutger’s Biotechnology Centre have now isolated a powerful anti-inflammatory from the grains. But here’s the fun part: apparently, Western lowland gorillas really like Aframomum. Did local people learn to use the plant by watching the gorillas?

4 Replies to “Gorilla medicine?”

  1. Thanks for the link to this very interesting article and thanks for your links to my Blogging Biodiversity blog and comments on my site. Given my interest in access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing, I would be very curious to know how the researchers mentioned in this Washington Post piece got access to the plant they are researching and what benefit-sharing arrangements they have in place with the country or countries of origin – especially given all of the pending patents.

    Keep up the great work! I must be responsible for quite a few of the hits from Montreal on your clustrmap.

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