There are so many herbs out there that you can use for your livestock. How on earth are you going to know which ones you need?
I am of the mindset that simple is always better. And a lot of the herbs do the same thing. Sometimes at different levels but still the same thing.
It is time to simplify this thing.
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Think of the most common issues you have and find the herbs that can help you in those areas but are also not overly expensive or hard to find. Once I wanted to grow Arnica but found out it only grew at a 10,000-foot sea level.
Well, our Ohio flatlands were only at 1000 feet so I guess that is out of the question.
Here is a list of medicinal properties that are good to have on hand for general illnesses.
- Speeds Healing
- Immune system booster
- Mild sedative (calming)
The awesome thing about many of the herbs is that 1 herb can do most of these things so you don’t need 20+ different herbs to handle your common issues. Sure some that are better at one thing then the others but the herb would still do the trick for what you need.
In the lists below, you will see 3-4 herbs I would recommend for each category and are also not extremely hard to find. Hopefully, this will make your desitions of what herbs to have on hand much easier.
Immune System Booster
Mild sedative (calming)
- Rosemary (mood stabilizer)
This should have you covered for most of the issues you will face raising animals. Be careful when shopping for herbs, they can become addicting. As much as we would love to buy every herb that we come across. There are just a few that are great to have on hand all the time.
Lavender is an herb that everyone has at least heard of right! It is the go-to herb for most problems you will have whether it is for humans or animals. This herb is AMAZING in what it can do. I will be just scratching the surface with this post on this awesome herb.
At A Glance
There is not much Lavender won’t do. Lavender is a great disinfectant of wounds, bites, rashes, skin infections, and small cuts. Its anti-inflammatory properties make the injuries less painful.
It is recommended for calming animals that are going through emotional trauma as well as behavioral training that might cause some stress to the animal. In these cases, dried herb fed to the animal on its feed is best. However, if the animal will not eat the dried herb make the Lavender into a tea and add it to their water before trying the Lavender essential oil. In emergencies such as the animal is acting out and could cause harm to itself or others using the essential oil is advised. Rub the oil on your hands and try to rub some on the animal’s nose and cheekbones to help the animal inhale the scent of the oil.
How To Use Lavender
Depending on what you want to do with it depends on the form you should use. For issues like rashes, bug bites, minor injuries, diluted essential oil or salve would work the best. If you want the calming effect taking Lavender as a tea or for herbivores the dried herb is also a great choice.
Lavender is a winter-hardy plant as well as drought-resistant. It does prefer well-drained soil with lower acidity. It is a woody plant and is not a fast grower.
Risk warnings – Avoid using undiluted oils on animals with kidney problems.
Chamomile is a very well known plant that people only think of as calming. It is so much more than that. The herb is definitely a must when it comes to having affordable herbs on hand for the care of your animals.
- Digestive Aid
- Mild Warmer
- Mild Sedative
Common Uses For Chamomile
It is often overlooked as a pain relief agent. Its sedative properties are mild, but this makes it a good choice for long car rides that might cause animals to get restless. As a tea, this herb is good for calming upset stomach and vomiting brought on by nervousness and hyper-excitability.
Chamomile has a very high component of anti-inflammatory which is often overlooked. It would be very beneficial to salves and sprays for calming rashes.
The plant is a very effective digestive aid and is safe for young animals. Though it should be avoided by animals with high allergies to ragweed. Its anti-inflammatory properties are helpful in reducing inflammation caused by fleabites and rashes from contact with substance the animal is allergic to.
Though it is a slow warmer chamomile does work and should not be overlooked. It is safer than the other fast-acting wormers and it can help counteract the effects that the parasites have had on the animal.
Chamomile works as an eyewash, make it a little stronger then you want to drink and strain the substance through a coffee filter. Syringe into the eye.
Here is a great option to buy chamomile on Amazon if you do not what to grow the herb yourself.
At A Glance
This herbs is very easy to grow and will sometimes take over if not controlled. It can grow in great soil or hard clay-filled soil.
Risk warnings – Chamomile is safe but should be limited in pregnant animals because it can cause re-absorption in some animals and inhibit fetus growth.
This herb is extremely useful and will help any animal owner out there. Personally, I have had a wonderful experience adding Comfrey with lavender to the feed when going someplace like showing at a fair. It kept my rabbits on their feed and eating normally!
At a Glance
- Heals Wounds
- Lubricates and soothes mucous membranes.
Comfrey – Will help speed healing, aiding in bone formation if made into a poultice. Feed dried or fresh herb to give ill animals a pick-me-up. Works well for stressed and weak rabbits. Try comfrey with rabbits that are off their feed. The herb also has a slight calming effect on rabbits works as a digestive aid and helps with wool block. Comfrey can be applied to bruises and sprained areas as a paste or poultice.
For burns, abrasions, lacerations, flea or other insect bites comfrey should be one of the first herbs to try. Comfrey can be made into a paste or you can use the extract.
If using comfrey on an open wound in an extract or poultice an antibacterial herb should always be combined added. This herb has been known to heal up a wound so quickly that it can close an infection inside the body at the injury site. Adding herbs such as thyme, oregon grape, saint johns wort or lavender is recommended.
Growing Conditions: The plant is easily grown in almost any parts of the world. It is extremely cold hardy and once established it will not need much attention. Comfrey will grow in almost any soil conditions but prefers a pH of 6 to 7.5
Risk warnings: Fresh plant use is not recommended for internal use over a long period (several months). Due to the levels of PAs which is known to cause liver damage if enough is ingested. However, the dried herb has almost no evidence of the toxic PA. In extreme doses, comfrey can cause diarrhea. Hence it is best to feed dried herb to herbivores that are susceptible to runny stool.
Calendula is a wonderful herb, it should be one of the first herbs to go to when you find minor injuries on your animals. The herb is also extremely helpful for humans as well. I used it for my family as well as livestock.
At a glance
- Heals Wounds
- Liver stimulant
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Uses – A calendula salve with at least 5% herb content will prove to be helpful to any medicine cabinet. The herb can be used on rashes, insect bites, and abrasions. The salve will also help heal minor injuries and surgical incisions. An external application will drastically help reduce swelling and pain from injury.
A warm water infusion will help soothe skin from many different forms of dermatitis caused by flea bites, eczema, and poison ivy. A cool Calendula would help speed healing and bring relief to burns as well.
Growing conditions – Calendula is a full sun-loving plant and is a great plant addition to any garden. The plant will come return in the following years. However, it will have a difficult time coming back in the colder regens. Acquiring the herb dried will be a good alternative to purchasing a live plant to keep alive year after year.
Risk Warnings – Calendula is one of the safest herbs to use. However, it has been shown to cause abortion-causing activities in rodents and other small animals. This herb should be avoided during pregnancy for small animals. External use of calendula should be fine on animals larger than 5 pounds. The herb also contains salicylic acid and is potently toxic to cats.
I will for the most part stick with herb uses for animals but if I find an herb that will be beneficial for humans I will post my findings as well.
Oregano is a great herb for any level of herbalist. It is easy to grow and has strong healing proprieties.
Using Oregano With Animals
Oregano has high amounts of antibacterial properties which would be extremely helpful in emergencies. The herb can be given internally, dried or fresh. It can also be made into a poultice or tea at the first sign of infection. Oregano has antispasmodic properties which aid in calming animals who have a fear of something such as car rides or other objects. It would also be helpful to calm a coughing spasm. It also expels internal parasites and is a natural insect repellent.
Preparations: You can use the oils but be sure to dilute it before using. Add fresh or dried herb to food is also beneficial, however, be sure to add as late as possible to a hot dish. The extreme heat will take out most of the beneficial property.
Oregano is a perennial and VERY easy to grow so make sure you want it where to plant it. Even a small sprig of roots will come back into a plant if given the chance. Oregano does well in all light settings and grows like a ground cover.
Risk Warnings: Should be used with caution in pregnant animals.
You can buy the dried herb for a reasonable price on Amazon if you do not want to grow it yourself. If you keep the herb out if the air it will keep for at least a year.
Rosemary is an herb that I highly recommend you have on hand if at all possible. It is not an expensive herb and is massively helpful in emergencies. It is a great help for me to get my rabbits to eat gain if something has caused them to go off feed. Comfrey is just as good for this and I often give a blend of both herbs to jumpstart their appetite.
At A Glance
- Expels intestinal gas
- Promotes menstrual discharge
- Insect Repellent.
I can not say enough in favor of this herb. It is extremely useful in animals that are prone to nervousness, excitability, and irritability. Give rosemary to animals that are recovering from a fearful, traumatic experience or shock. It also does wonders for animals who are prone to bloat. If livestock such as rabbits, goats, and sheep are going to a new home it is defiantly worth feeding rosemary for a few days before the animal goes to its new home.
Rosemary has also been known to have antispasmodic effects on the hear and other smooth muscle. Making this a good herb to choose if your animal is experiencing trauma that could affect the heart rate. You do not want to slow the heart too much, rosemary is able to calm it down enough to keep the animal from going into cardiac arrest. This medical benefit will also help moderate a cardiac arrhythmia and strengthen the heart function.
Give 1/8 Teaspoon of tincture orally for every 20 pounds of the animals body weight up to three times daily. Herbivores can be given 1 tablespoon for every 5 pounds of body weight. Or about 5 inches of the fresh plant for every five pounds up to three times per day.
Rosemary is a fairly easy plant to grow once it is started. Seedlings are very hard to get started. In the southern states, rosemary can survive all winter. However, in the northern states, it tends to die off.
Not recommended for pregnant animals. It could cause a miscarriage. I do not recommend using cooking herbs because they are dried at such a high heat they tend to lose their medicinal properties.
You can find rosemary on Amazon for a very reasonable price.
Organic 1lb bag ( while the 1lb bag might seem like a lot you can keep it in an airtight container for 12-18months) It is a better price all around to get the larger bag.