Home | Penn Dutch Cow Care | Dr. Karreman | Newsletters | Products | Phyto-Mast Trials | Links


Newsletter of Penn Dutch Cow Care September 2012

Hi Folks,

We’ve certainly been blessed with adequate rainfall here in the Lancaster region as crops look nice. I think it’s safe to say that everyone is extremely thankful at this point about our growing conditions, especially when hearing about the devastating drought affecting other parts of the US this summer.

Even pasture seems to have made it through August in good shape. I know I spend a lot of time talking about pasture – that’s because pasture is so fundamentally important for cow health. There’s never any good reason to be against pasture for ruminants and horses - especially since that’s what God created ruminants and other herbivores to eat primarily.

The term herbivore is simply the scientific way of saying that an animal is biologically programmed to eat plants. Plants have been used for food forever by animals and people. Plants and herbs are spoken about in the Old and New Testament – to eat, to use for health, and as symbols within parables/stories. However in the Old Testament, all illness and healing was thought to be provided by God, so plants specifically for healing were not discussed much. There are about 125 references to plants and plant terms mentioned in the Bible (specific plants or words like vine, flowers, thorns, etc.).

Some people plant Biblical herb gardens with plants mentioned in the Bible. These kinds of gardens likely started in monasteries, when monks or nuns were the local providers of medical care to both nobility and peasants. In Italy, the Medici family was famous for their additions of plants and their derivatives to the world of medicines.

It only makes sense that herbivores will respond favorably to plants administered as medicines since their digestive system has all the enzymes to digest & absorb plant compounds easily. Even if giving herbal medicine not by mouth, the entire herbivore system of the cow, sheep, goat or horse should respond well. When I read in the late 1990’s that the Chinese give herbal teas to humans intravenously (IV) in hospitals, I knew I had to try it in my bovine patients. I’ve given tinctures IV since then (in dextrose) and am generally pleased with the results. However, you must make sure that the tincture is extremely well made if giving directly into the blood stream.

The most common route of administration is through the mouth – as it should be. There are two good reasons for this. First, it is the normal way that animals take in plants into their system. Thus their digestive tract is alerted and can respond since it’s biologically geared to take in plants anyway. Folks that watch animals on pasture know animals like to eat a variety of plant species - certainly not only orchard grass, white clover, and perennial rye but lambs quarters, smooth pigweed, soft seed heads of spiny red root, poison ivy, multiflora rose, quack grass, etc.

The second important reason to give herbal medicines in the mouth is that the sense organs are very concentrated in the head area. The sense of taste of the tongue is directly related to the sense of smell in the nose while our vision and hearing help orient us in space and time. These four senses are the main ones our herbivorous animal friends have, as they don’t have sensitive finger tips for touch like we do. The 4 main sense organs are only a very short distance away from the brain, which processes incoming information with amazing speed. Additionally, there are lymph nodes near the base of the tongue, behind the jaw and along the throat that help process incoming information towards the immune system. Between the brain’s immediate response to the herb via the facial senses and the digestive tract’s ability to sift, sort and absorb plant material, it can easily be seen that oral administration is the best method of giving herbal medicines – whether they be tinctures, essential oils, dried herbs, teas or glycerites (glycerin as the carrier, which animals like much better than the alcohol of tinctures, which may give a burning sensation).

The list of dosages shown below is from a book I stumbled upon many years ago – it’s a gold mine of real information of plants used by veterinarians for animals “back in the day” – when botanical medicine was commonly used by veterinarians. It’s called The Book of Veterinary Doses by Dr. Pierre Fish (Slingerland –Comstock, Ithaca, 1930). Dr. Fish was Dean of the Cornell Veterinary School. All doses shown are tinctures for oral administration in ml/cc.

  Cow & Horse Sheep & Pig Dog
Aconite  0.2-6 .25-1 0.13-0.5
Aloe 8-40 4-15 0.13-4
Arnica 15-30 4-8 0.6-1.3
Belladona 15-30 4-8 1-2
Bryonia 15-30 2-4 0.3-2
Calendula 15-30 4-8 1-2
Eucalyptus Oil 8-15 1-3 0.3-1
Fennel 30-60 8-12 0.6-1.3
Ginger 30-60 8-15 0.6-4
Goldenseal 30-60 4-15 2-8
Licorice 15-60 4-15 0.6-4
Nux vomica 4-24 1.3-6 0.3-1
Peppermint Oil 1-2 0.3-0.6 0.06-0.3
Pokeweed 4-8 1.3-3 0.3-2
Quassia 30-60 4-12 1-4
Thyme Oil 2-8 0.3-2 0.06-1
Vinegar 30-120 2-8 1-4
Wintergreen 8-30 2-8 0.3-1

In their widely acclaimed book, Veterinary Herbal Medicine (Mosby, 2007), Dr. Susan Wynn and Dr. Barbara Fougere also show dosages of herbs to give. The doses shown in the table are from modern day veterinary practitioners from all over the world that use herbs. What’s really nice is that these doses match up fairly well with the doses used in the 1930’s with dose for tinctures being between 1 - 3 Tbsp, which is approximately 15 – 45 cc (1Tbsp = 15cc & 1 tsp = 5cc)





Decoction (tea)

4 oz

12 oz

8 oz

Extract tablets




Freeze-dried granules

1 tsp

2 Tbsp

2 Tbsp


1 tsp (5cc)

2 Tbsp (30cc)

2-3 Tbsp (30-45cc)

I am pleased to have both Dr. Wynn and Dr. Fougere as friends and we’re among the original members of the Veterinary Botanical Medical Association, which was started in 2002.  The Association is a world-wide group of veterinarians dedicated to using plant medicine with animals. My commitment to VBMA is long-term, and I’m actually its next president beginning this September for two years. The VBMA promotes the science, traditional use and energies of herbs. I invite you or any veterinarian you work with to learn from the website: www.vbma.org .

For Bovinity Health, information on functional alternatives to antibiotics see:

© Copyright 2000 - 2017 Penn Dutch Cow Care
All Rights Reserved