Healer in the woods

April 2014

By Shivi Verma

The capacity of animals to self-heal throws light on the lost and disconnected path of natural healing amongst human beings, says Shivi Verma


When I first saw my pet dog trying to eat grass as I was walking her, I tried to stop her. How could grass be her food? But my more knowledgeable father asked me not to. “She may have a stomach problem.” Later, I saw her vomiting. After that she rested for a while and became fit again. She would also catch her tail and move round and round in circles, which I later learnt was a way to relieve herself of stress and anxiety. But even though I would promptly take her to a vet for every minor ailment, my pet could not complete her life. She died at the age of four.

“Would she have lived longer had she had less human intervention in her life?,” I often wondered.

Animals and birds do not have access to high-end medical care. Yet if left to themselves, they remain largely healthy as long as they live.

Animals living in the wild are much healthier than those living in captivity, or as pets. They never become obese, unlike those domesticated. On the other hand, human beings as well as domesticated animals report a large number of diseases even though they have a treatment for every problem. Can we take a cue from animals and see what they do which we do not, to stay healthy?

What is their secret?

They do not have a mind to confuse them

Says Dr Silloo Bhagvagar, a veterinarian and founder of NGO called PALS (Plants and Animal Welfare Society), “It is not that animals in the wild do not suffer from infections or wounds. But they do not interfere mentally with their problem. They accept their situation. They do not bother about insults or financial losses unlike human beings who mentally connect one problem with another. They obey their gut and act accordingly. This tendency helps them to heal faster. They are not bound by social dos and don’ts. They obey their instincts.”

They benefit from living in their habitat

Says Dr Shally Jalali, Veterinary Surgeon at Dr Batra’s Pet Care Hospital, Delhi, “Animals in the wild have a peculiar affinity towards certain herbs and plants. Their well-developed sensory system enables them to identify and utilise natural healing resources in the environment — herbs that are
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