Why would a goat owner want to consider the possibility of alternative (whole herb) management when a plethora of medications is readily available to the average animal owner? There are many points to consider when looking for the best treatment for whatever ails well-loved goats.
Cost: Even though some medications are inexpensive monetarily, it is still hard to compete with the cost of dandelions, raspberry leaves, apples, or a multitude of other plants that may already be available in the yard, garden, kitchen cabinet or a walk to the “back forty.”
PH: Whole herbs promote the proper pH of the bloodstream; whereas medications will make a body too acidic.
Toxicity: All medications are toxic on a cellular level. Bodies were never meant to ingest or have put into the bloodstream any synthetic materials. Though one may not see the effect outwardly, the cells definitely are compromised.
Availability: There are so many herbs that one can grow that are very beneficial. Several of mine are as close as my tea cabinet, and my front and back yards/gardens. By learning to dry and pick herbs properly, anyone can have a nice winter supply. This removes the problem of drug companies having to backorder products, or you having to trudge out to the vet in bad weather late at night for something that could have been handled with some simple herbs, love, and knowledgeable care.
Freedom: As the goat owner grows in the knowledge of whole herb use, they will find they gain freedom from worry, freedom in finances, and freedom in time management as alternative-supported animals get healthier and hardier with each generation and passing year.
Milk/meat withdrawals: Since herbs will stay in a goat’s system for an average of three to five hours, and because only plants that are not toxic are recommended for use, these concerns completely disappear.
Nutrient profiles: In synthetic medications there are none; in synthetic or rock-based “nutrients” the body can be fooled for a time, but in the long run imbalances will occur, which will cause other issues. This is seen in older humans and longer-lived animals daily in our country. Plants are jam-packed full of macro and micro nutrients—even the ones we haven’t discovered or named yet—that our Creator knew in advance to put into the plants because we would need them.
Side/adverse effects: If the farm-manager is committed to using whole plants that are not toxic or poisonous to people or creatures, the side effects or adverse (negative) effects or symptoms will be rare. Occasionally, there will be an allergy to a phytochemical (plant chemical). In that case, stop using the plant and the symptoms should be gone in just a few hours. In the case of (manufactured) drugs, the effects may have already created permanent damage (or worse) by the time you have assessed what is going on. The half-lives of these drugs can be hours, days, or months, dependent on the drug.
Growth/production: Because of the dense phytochemical profiles of whole herbs (especially when used in multi-herb blends), their contribution to mental and physical growth, and production of young stock can be tremendous. This sets them up for the possibility to realize their created potential. Synthetic management, however, often retards cellular ability, which may retard growth mentally, physically, or organ health in the long run.
Vitalism or working with the body: Medications are usually used to suppress symptoms; in other words, control the body. With whole herbs it is very easy to work with the body by providing the nutrition it needs to heal itself, not just cover up or “live with” symptoms.
Do no harm: This clause was first espoused by the “Father of Medicine,” Hippocrates. Synthetic medicine, as already discussed in this article, simply cannot meet this requirement. Whole herbs, however, easily meet and even supersede this by providing a multitude of nutrients which enable the body to move towards abundant wellness. Hippocrates’ “herbal vocabulary” was somewhere between 300 and 400 herbs!
Editor’s note: Dairy Goat Journal is happy to announce that Kat Drovdahl will be contributing a regular column about natural management for dairy goats. She and her husband reside in the countryside of Oregon where they are owned by their completely alternative herd of nationally recognized La Mancha and Toggenburg dairy goats for milk and show. They also manage their Fjord horses, poultry, llamas, and assorted farm pets and gardens. Kat also has an herbal products business for animals and humans, called Fir Meadow LLC., and is the author of The Accessible Pet, Equine, and Livestock Herbal, a 517-page guide that builds confidence by teaching “why” to the herb user in easy to very difficult situations that goat and animal owners face. Copies can be obtained from Dairy Goat Journal Bookstore, 145 Industrial Dr., Medford, WI 54451 ($49.95 + shipping), or from firmeadowllc.com, or PO Box 1089, Gold Hill, OR 97525.