Wormwood for Worming Sheep
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Paula Slater
Posted on: January 20, 2002

I’m on a quest to find a way to worm our flock of purebred North Country Cheviots naturally. I read a book on small scale farming where two women with a sheep flock used dried wormwood and other herbs (garlic) to worm their flock. They were very successful and turned "worming" into a business. I tried to contact them, but they are in the U.S. and I gather there were problems with shipping across the border. Also, the exact formula is kept a secret. Too bad for the rest of us. I tried growing organic wormwood this summer and the plants were very sparse. I would like to grow herbs that could be included with the feed. I believe that this would be a wonderful alternative to chemical worming. If we could be successful at this it would be a wonderful thing for the meat industry. I purchase a herbal wormer from Unicity, which is a member of Royal Numico. My family uses the herbal wormer twice a year. This wormer (Paraway) stuns the parasites so they don’t die in the tissue or organs. We are quite pleased with the results of clearer skin and good health. It would be nice to be able to use the same wormer on the sheep. We can afford worm our dogs and cats this way, but we must find a more affordable way with the sheep. I plan to order B. Levy’s book. Any other suggestions?

Juliette de Bairacli Levy covers the use of garlic and other agents in her book, "The Complete Herbal handbook for Farm and Stable" (available from Richters). There is some information drawn from that source in my answer to a similar question: search for "parasite control" in the "Q & A" section of our website.

Bairacli de Levy does not mention wormwood in her discussion about worm treatment in sheep, but in the materia medica section of her book she says this of wormwood: "The foliage is eaten by horses, cows and sheep. Its chief merit is worm expellent and tonic." She goes on to give directions on how to prepare the tea and how much to administer.

It may be a thought to consider growing wormwood in the grazing pastures. Animals have a remarkable intuition about what herbs to eat and when. But you need to take care because wormwood may not be safe for sheep to consume regularly.

Another herb to consider is epazote. Epazote, also known as American wormseed, is a very effective vermifuge. It is an edible herb used in soups and stews in Central America where contaminated meat is a common problem. It may be safer to consume because if its history as an edible plant (though its taste takes some getting used too!). As always, when introducing a new herb to your animals, take care to watch for signs of intolerance or negative effects.

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