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

Project Overview

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

Annual Reports


  • Additional Plants: herbs
  • Animal Products: dairy


  • Animal Production: herbal medicines
  • Education and Training: on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
  • Production Systems: organic agriculture

    Proposal abstract:

    Inflammation of the mammary gland, or mastitis, is one of the most costly health issues faced by dairy farms. In cows, mastitis is most frequently caused by a bacterial infection. Prophylactic antibiotic dry cow therapy, administered at the end of lactation, aims to eliminate current and prevent future intramammary infections. Certified organic dairies are restricted from antibiotic use and thus must use an alternative or no dry cow therapy. Several herbal extracts have shown in vitro antibacterial activity versus major mastitis pathogens. The proposed study is to assess two different herbal products (Phyto-Mast and Cinnatube) for treatment or prevention of mastitis on five organic dairy farms averaging 140 cows and including Holstein, Jersey and crossbred cattle in North Carolina. Four treatments include: 1) no dry off treatment; 2) Phyto-Mast; 3) Cinnatube; and 4) Phyto-Mast plus Cinnatube. Duplicate quarter milk samples will be taken immediately before dry treatment and three days post-calving. Changes in bacterial presence between pre-treatment and post-calving samples for each cow will be used to determine the efficacy of each treatment. Milk weights and somatic cell counts from the pretreatment lactation and during the early part of the subsequent lactation will be compared among treatments to determine practical effects of treatment. Producers will be provided a milk collection toolkit and taught how to take samples in order to aid the efficiency of mastitis detection in the future. It is expected that this study will provide practical information to dairy farmers about two alternatives to antibiotic dry off treatment.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    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

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.