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Humans have been using medicinal plants prehistoric times. They are still used the world in traditional medicine. For the first time, scientists have discovered that chimpanzees also seek the fruits the forest to heal themselves when sick. Researchers Oxford University in the UK conducted a study chimpanzee behaviour at the Budongo Central Forest Reserve in Uganda. The researchers tracked a male chimp an injured hand looking for the leaves of a fern. The fern had properties that may have reduced the swelling the ape's hand. Another chimpanzee a parasitic infection sought out the bark a cat-thorn tree. This may have helped to alleviate the animal's condition.

The research team said there was a strong correlation the chimpanzees' ailments and injuries and the healing properties the flora they consumed. The researchers tested plant extracts that were not a normal part a chimpanzee's diet. They found that 88 per cent the extracts contained anti-bacterial properties, while 33 per cent them had anti-inflammatory qualities. Researcher and anthropologist Dr Elodie Freymann said: "Pharmacological results suggest that Budongo chimpanzees consume several species potent medicinal properties." She said her team's investigations the primates' behaviour may pave the way a greater use natural remedies our lives.

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