One of my passions is working with animals, dairy goats in particular. One of the questions that I get asked frequently is, “I want to find an alternative to chemical dewormer, do you have any suggestions?” In this article, I plan to answer some common questions about using herbs for our animals, and how easy they can be to implement.
I encourage you to use a blend of herbs instead of single herbs, and to do so with great care. There are a few herbs that come immediately to mind when considering historical use:
Wormwood (Artemisia spp.) According to my research, Wormwood has been traditionally used for hundreds of years for a variety of issues. It affects the digestive system, its bitter principles stimulate bile, increase the appetite, and expel worms.  It has been used as an anthelmintic, discouraging pinworms, roundworms and tapeworms. The tea is much safer than the tincture, because the toxic terpene thujone is not very water soluble. There is an interesting case study discussing use of the single herb (not in a blend of herbs) to address Haemonchus contortus infection in goats. 
Garlic (Allium sativa) Garlic affects the blood, digestive system, cardiovascular system. It has been traditionally used as an anthelmintic, discouraging roundworm and hookworm. Allicin is believed to be the anthelmintic constituent, and it is formed through the action of allinase on alliin, and that occurs after the garlic clove has been crushed. There have been a few studies done on garlic’s effectiveness as an anthelmintic. One used diced garlic, which allows some allicin to be created, and that study showed garlic as being effective.  Another study fed whole cloves to donkeys to test the effectiveness of garlic in the treatment of Strongyles.  Remember, Allicin is considered the anthelmintic constituent, and that is NOT formed without crushing/cutting the garlic which allows Allicin to be created. I suspect that is why this study failed to show Garlic’s effectiveness. Allicin generally dissipates within 15 minutes of being crushed.
Black Walnut (Juglans nigra) According to Christopher Hobbs, Ph.d., L.Ac., A.H.G., due to Black Walnut’s high tannin and napthaquinone (juglone) content, it is used internally as an anthelmintic and externally for ringworm.  Black Walnut affects the digestive system. It has traditionally been used to expel worms and has been known to cause the ejection of tapeworm.  Black Walnut should be avoided with equines and camelids.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1) “If I use herbs to address parasites in my dairy goats or other milking animal, is there a milk withdrawal period?” There is no milk withdrawal period for herbs. Milk withdrawal and meat withdrawal requirements are set to prevent chemical residue in the milk and meat. Herbs are a food, they clear the system within a matter of hours. They do not have a long “half-life” like a chemical/drug. Generally, herbs clear the system within 4-12 hours. It really depends on the metabolism of the animal. Goats have a very fast metabolism, so I estimate the herbs clear their system within 4 hours. Of course, if an animal is sick the metabolism is probably not functioning as well, so I would consider doubling the transit time in that instance. However, if a dairy animal is sick, I would suggest dumping the milk especially if you do not know the cause of the illness.
2) “I have heard that Wormwood should be avoided in pregnant and lactating animals, what should I do?” I would suggest avoiding the use of Wormwood as a single herb during pregnancy, just to be safe. It is my opinion that Wormwood is beneficial as a small part of a well made mix.
3) “Can I give herbs to address parasites with my horse?” Yes, but equines (horses, ponies, donkeys, mules, etc), and camelids (llamas, alpacas, etc) are sensitive to Black Walnut, so we need to avoid mixes that contain Black Walnut in those species.
4) “I would like to use herbs for my dog and cat, how do I feed it to them?” I like to hide it in the middle of a small bit of hamburger or another favorite food. Peanut butter may work well for dogs. I make a tea for my herd, and my LGD (Livestock Guard Dog) gets her portion through that tea. I have information on how I make the tea here.
5) “How do I know how much of the herb mix each animal needs?” We go by weight of the creature. The following chart may be helpful to you. You can find specific information on this page of my website.
Up to 5# = 1/16 tsp (you will need a smaller dose for very small creatures)
5# – 10# = 1/8 tsp
10# – 20# = 1/4 tsp
20# – 75# = 1/2 tsp
75# – 100# = 3/4 tsp
100# – 150# = 1 tsp
Every 50# add an extra 1/2 tsp
Light (riding) horses = 1/4 cup
6) “What do you use to address parasites in your animals?” I created an herbal mix for my herd called Parasite Formula. It contains all the herbs I mentioned in this post, plus other herbs that have traditionally been used as vermifuges, taeniafuges, vermicides, and taeniacides (they discourage, expel, and/or kill parasites and tapeworms). I formulated this mix to be both cleansing and nourishing to the animal, and safe during all stages of life.
I enjoyed sharing this information with you! I’d like to invite you to visit the large Natural Raising section of our website. If you would like to connect with me on Facebook, I do have a Page for both my farm, Land of Havilah Farm Nubians, and Land of Havilah Herbals, LLC. I love to hear from my readers!
 Grieve, M, A Modern Herbal, referenced January 30, 2016, https://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/w/wormwo37.html
 Idris, 1982. The anthelmintic efficacy of Artemisia herba-alba against Haemonchus contortus infection in goats. Referenced January 30, 2016, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7162537
 Peoa, N., Aurx, A. and Sumano, H.: A comparative trial of garlic, it’s extract and ammonium-potassium tartrate as anthelmintics in carp. J. Ethnopharmacol. 24: 199-203. 1988.
 Abells Sutton G, Haik R. Efficacy of garlic as an anthelmintic in donkeys. Israel Journal Veterinary Medicine Vol 54 (1), 1999.
 Hobbs, Christopher, Ph.d., L.Ac., A.H.G., Black Walnut (Juglans nigra) referenced January 30, 2016, http://www.christopherhobbs.com/
 Cook, W. The Physiomedical Dispensary. 1869. Available online http://www.henriettes-herb.com/
Wynn, Susan G., DVM, RH, and Fougere, Barbara J., Veterinary Herbal Medicine. Mosby Elsevier. 2007.