Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Several of the dewormer plants mentioned below may cause side effects in animals. The most powerful natural dewormers are often potential poisons. It is therefore important to follow the indicated dosages. A way to avoid side effects is to administer these plants in the form of homeopathic preparations. The advantage of homeopathic remedies is that they do not require a fasting period beforehand and laxative diet after the treatment

1) Garlic

Garlic is a common plant dewormer that is easy to find. It is known to be active against, among others, Ascaris, Enterobius and, of particular interest for ruminants, against lungworm in general. It must be used, however, as prevention (prophylaxis) rather than as treatment or with other products. In fact, garlic does not prevent the production of eggs but prevents the eggs of certain parasites from developing into larvae. Garlic is incorporated into certain commercial homeopathic or allopathic dewormers, but always with other plant-derived substances. The numerous therapeutic properties of garlic come mainly from its high sulphur content.

Garlic can be administered in several ways:

  • Fresh : Fresh minced garlic proved to be clearly more efficient than garlic extracts for controlling internal parasites. Using fresh garlic is ideal although not necessarily the most practical on a day-to-day basis. The leaves and bulbs may also be used. If the animals do not want to eat the leaves whole, they may be cut into small pieces, mixed with molasses and bran, and shaped into small balls. The bulbs may be grated and mashed with molasses or honey and flour. Garlic may also be planted directly in the pastures in such way that the animals have access to it as needed.
  • Powder : The most practical way to administer garlic is undoubtedly to add powdered garlic to animal feed. Powdered garlic can be bought at a reasonable cost in bulk from major food manufacturers.
  • Pills : This is a method that is useful only for very small herds. Two or three pills of four grains is the required daily dosage for one sheep.
  • Juice : British herbalist suggested using garlic juice or garlic milk as a dewormer. Garlic milk is made by boiling bulbs mashed in milk. Some researchers recommend, however, not boiling garlic as this reduces its effectiveness against parasite eggs and larvae.
  • Mother tincture : Garlic mother tincture is given in dosages of 20 drops/day/10 kg of live weight.
In the case of dairy animals, it is preferable to feed them garlic during or immediately after milking so that the milk does not pick up the taste.

2) Wormwood

Wormwood, as its name suggests, is an excellent dewormer. Many wormwood species have deworming properties.
  • Common mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) is effective against Protostrongylus, Dictyocaulus and Bunostomum. Sheep, goats and fowl readily consume it
  • Common wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) must be used with caution as it may be dangerous if used regularly or excessively. The dried and crushed flowers may be used or steeped in cold water. It is suggested the following recipe for dewormer balls: four teaspoons of cayenne pepper powder, two teaspoons of powdered common wormwood mixed with honey and flour. E
  • Eurasian wormwood (Artemisia cina) is a desert plant that is used to make santonin and the homeopathic remedy, which are used as dewormers. Santonin is extracted from the dried buds of the plant. The buds are then treated with liquid lime and dried again. Santonin acts against most parasites except Echinococcus. It must be used with caution, however, because even in small doses it causes side effects, particularly eye problems. It may be acquired as mother tincture, administered in 2 to 3 drops/10 kg, morning and evening for 3 weeks, or in granules in different dilutions.
  • The dried, powdered shoots of Artemisia herba-alba wormwood (a species common to North Africa) administered in dosages of 10 to 30 g per goat proved highly effective against Haemonchus.
  • Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) also has deworming properties. Several wormwood species grow wild in North America. It might be a good idea to let these plants grow along pastures where the animals can eat them as needed.

3) Wild ginger

Wild ginger or snakeroot (Asarum canadense) grows in wooded areas. This plant is very similar to European wild ginger which was used as an anthelminthic purge for cattle and horses. The dosage per animal is 20 to 30 g of the aerial parts of snakeroot mixed with wet bran. Wild ginger also has antibacterial properties. If planning to use this plant, remember that wild ginger, as well as wild garlic, require several years to reproduce.

4) Goosefoot

Chenopodium ambrosioides or goosefoot is a widely used dewormer plant. In Brazil, the plant is fed directly to pigs to deworm them. The powdered seeds serve as a dewormer and insecticide. The Japanese make a dewormer tea with the leaves. Oil from the goosefoot, although highly efficient, is extremely toxic. Human consumption has often led to strong side effects (nausea, headaches) and even death in some cases. It is better to use less hazardous substances than goosefoot oil.

5) Tobacco

Tobacco and its derivatives (nicotine, nicotine sulphate) have been used as dewormers, particularly for fowl. With other farm animals, the mortal dose is practically the same for the worms as for the animals themselves!

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