Evaluation of Herbal Remedies as Alternatives to Antibiotic Therapy in Dairy Cattle

2011 Annual Report for GS10-094

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2010: $9,990.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2013
Grant Recipient: North Carolina State University
Region: Southern
State: North Carolina
Graduate Student:
Major Professor:
Dr. Steven Washburn
North Carolina State University
Major Professor:
Dr. Kevin Anderson
North Carolina State University

Evaluation of Herbal Remedies as Alternatives to Antibiotic Therapy in Dairy Cattle


Herbal alternatives to antibiotics are used by dairy producers to treat udder infections in organic systems. These herbal products could be viable antibacterial agents, but must be scientifically assessed to determine their efficacy. The current study compares two herbal treatments to antibiotics or no treatment in dairy cattle. Treatments have been administered to nearly all of the dairy cattle enrolled in the study and sample collection is ongoing. Data to date are entered and preliminary analysis will begin early in 2012. Farmers are pleased with the opportunity to participate in university research and eagerly await the results.

Objectives/Performance Targets

1.) Engage dairy farmers in mastitis research by teaching them how to administer intramammary products and how to take milk samples aseptically
1a.) Provide each dairy with a milk collection kit
2.) Determine the efficacy of Phyto-Mast and Cinnatube:
2a.) Assign treatments to each herd to increase the power of the experiment
2b.) Assess the presence and amount of bacteria on each participating farm prior to treatment and after freshening
2c.) Measure milk production and somatic cell count of each cow and compare between the pre-treatment lactation and post-treatment lactation production and SCC


In 2011, 2a, 2b, and a portion of 2c were accomplished. A total of 2,462 individual quarter samples were taken over the year from all four herds of 2010 as well as a conventional herd; this herd was enrolled in the study in July of 2011 and is conventionally managed in a freestall system, which will allow the results to have wider application (across both organic and conventional dairy systems). Participating farmers are more than willing to contribute to the research and have been taking high-quality milk samples with some guidance.

The final data need to be collected from all farms; those samples need to be analyzed, and input into the database for statistical analysis. The results will then be presented at national meetings and eventually published. Most importantly, the analysis will be performed for each individual farm so that the participating farmers in the study have an idea of which treatment works best for their particular operation.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

This research will help dairy producers in the Southern Region understand that alternatives to antibiotics exist for treating mammary infections in dairy cattle. If these alternatives are proven effective at eliminating current and preventing future infections, there is potential for both organic and conventional dairy producers to use these alternatives. This, in turn, benefits consumers by eliminating the risk of antibiotic residues in milk/meat and by lowering the contribution of the dairy industry to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.


Dr. Kevin Anderson

North Carolina State University
Box 8401
Department of Population Health and Pathobiology
Raleigh, NC 27695-8401
Office Phone: 9195136245
Keena Mullen

Graduate Research Assistant
North Carolina State University
Box 7621 Department of Animal Science
Raleigh, NC 27695-7621
Office Phone: 9195151370