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

2012 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


A comparison between two herbal products and antibiotic or no treatment determined, based on a preliminary analysis, that herbal treatments may be effective in curing existing mammary infections when administered at the beginning of the non-lactating period in dairy cattle. Farmers involved with this study were pleased with the opportunity to participate in university research and have received the results and analysis for their individual farms. Preliminary analysis of the data has been presented at several meetings, generating international interest in the use of herbal products as alternatives to antibiotics.

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 2012, all portions of the objectives were completed except analysis relating to data collection in part 2c. A total of 2,203 individual quarter samples were taken over the year from all herds participating in the study, bringing the grand total of quarters sampled to 4,665. Participating farmers were more than willing to contribute to the research and took high-quality milk samples with some guidance.

Preliminary analyses have been completed. Each farmer has received the results and analysis for their individual farms to give them an idea of which treatment works best for their particular operation. Analysis of milk microbiology results has been completed and presented at both the North Carolina State University Graduate Student Research Symposium and the American Dairy Science Association Annual Meeting. Many people, including researchers and consumers, are interested in the results of this research.

The final analysis, including both milk quality and milk microbiology data, needs to be finished in 2013. Milk production data were unavailable from three farms because of lack of regular recording. However, the results will still be meaningful with regards to efficacy of the treatments and effect on udder health.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

This research has helped dairy producers in the Southern Region understand that alternatives to antibiotics exist for treating mammary infections in dairy cattle. Once the final analysis is completed, if these alternatives are proven effective at eliminating current and preventing future infections without negatively affecting cow health, 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. The preliminary analysis has shown that the herbal products together are as effective as antibiotics at curing mammary infections in dairy cattle.


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