Just read this article about animals being observed eating medicinal plants when under parasite loads. Absolutely fascinating! It makes the argument for as much diversity as possible to be made to animals so they can choose medicinal when needed. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/18/magazine/the-self-medicating-animal.html?_r=0 “There’s a learning process that needs to take place in order for them to develop a preference for foods that contain those medicines,” Villalba says. Tellingly, the sheep chose the medicated food only when they required it. When Villalba dewormed the infected animals, even those that had previously medicated themselves successfully avoided the bitter-tasting fare. They sensed that they didn’t need to self-treat. Villalba has also found that lambs and ewes learn about medicinal foods faster when they’re together (rather than alone), as if primed for a transfer of medicinal knowledge. This could explain how, once acquired, medicinal understanding is maintained in groups of animals. Photo Credit Illustration by Kelsey Dake The abiding question — the greatest puzzle of all, really — is how animals first learn which plants are medicinal. Villalba has observed that lambs infected with parasites are more likely to try new plants when grazing in an open pasture compared to uninfected lambs. They lose some of what scientists call food “neophobia,” the fear of new flavors, and their greater willingness to explore the surrounding foodscape may increase the odds of a medicinal discovery.