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Plant and natural product based homemade remedies manufactured and used by farmers of six central Swiss cantons to treat livestock

Bischoff, Tinetta; Vogl, Christian R.; Ivemeyer, Silvia; Klarer, Franziska; Meier, Beat; Hamburger, Matthias and Walkenhorst, Michael (2016) Plant and natural product based homemade remedies manufactured and used by farmers of six central Swiss cantons to treat livestock. Livestock Science, 189, pp. 110-125.

[thumbnail of bischoff-etal-2016-LivestockScience-Vol189-p110–125.pdf] PDF - Published Version - English
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Document available online at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1871141316300853


The use of medicinal plants and other natural multicomponent remedies might be one measure to reduce the use of antibiotics in livestock. Ethnoveterinary research has the potential to identify promising natural remedies. The knowledge about remedies for livestock was collected from farmers in six central Swiss cantons, Glarus, Obwalden, Nidwalden, Schwyz, Zug and Uri.
Between February and April 2013 49 interviews with 63 farmers (25 females and 38 males, aged 24–74) were conducted. We collected information on the manufacturing of 370 homemade remedies. Of these, 114 contained no plants, 26 contained a mixture of two to five plants, and 230 contained one plant species (defined as homemade single-herbal remedy report (HSHR)). These 230 HSHRs represented 68 plant species belonging to 35 different botanical families. Thirteen species were reported for the first time for ethnoveterinary use in Switzerland. Matricaria recutita, Calendula officinalis, Urtica dioica and Coffea were the most frequently used ingredients of HSHR. A total of 278 use reports (UR) were described for the 230 HSHR, (233 UR for treating cattle). Treatment of skin disorders (QD), gastrointestinal diseases and metabolic dysfunction (QA) were the most frequently mentioned uses for these remedies. Fewer uses were linked to treatments of the respiratory system (QR), the genito-urinary (QG) and musculo-skeletal systems (QM). In the categorie QA the most UR were described for Matricaria recutita, Linum usitatissimum, and Camellia sinensis. Quercus robur was mainly used to treat diarrhoea in calfs, Coffea Arabica to treat general gastrointestinal troubles, colic, abdominal pain or diarrhoea, and Arthemisia absinthium to treat general gastro-intestinal disorders, diarrhoea or lack of appetite. For four orally administered plant species (Artemisia absinthium, Avena sativa, Citrus x limon, Quercus robur) daily oral doses were determined for the first time (median: 0.03, 6.16, 0.01 and 0.58 g dry plant equivalent per kg0.75). In the category QD the most often described plant species were Calendula officinalis, Matricaria recutita, Picea abies, Sanicula europaea and Senecio ovatus. For the latter two plant species we determined for the first time an ethnoveterinary based concentration in the finished product (median: 0.13 and 0.39 g dry plant equivalent per 100 g finished product).
Medicinal plants are known, and used by farmers of central Switzerland mostly for treatment of skin and gastrointestinal diseases. According to recent pharmaceutical and human clinical research several plant species documented in this ethnoveterinary study are worth to be further investigated in clinical trials with livestock.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Ethnoveterinary research, Central Switzerland (Glarus, Obwalden, Nidwalden, Schwyz, Uri, Zug), Medicinal plants, Livestock diseases, animal health, phytotherapy
Agrovoc keywords:
medicinal plants
Subjects: Animal husbandry > Health and welfare
Research affiliation:Austria > Univ. BOKU Wien
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Animal > Animal health > Medicinal plants & phytotherapy
Switzerland > Zürich University
Germany > University of Kassel > Department of Farm Animal Behaviour and Husbandry
Switzerland > Other organizations
Deposited By: Walkenhorst, Michael
ID Code:34521
Deposited On:14 Feb 2019 14:56
Last Modified:26 May 2021 14:14
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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