Traditional Tannin-Treatment Against Intestinal Parasites in Sheep and Cattle


  • Eilif Aas


Around  the  world  indigenous  groups  have  traditionally
used  leaves,  bark  and  roots  containing  tannins  to  treat
diarrhea and intestinal parasites in humans and livestock.
Traditional veternary medicine has largely been replaced
by pharmaceuticals throughout most of the world. My aim
is to revitalize traditional veternary practices and connect
them to novel research. This study iincludes a literature re-
view based mostly on three articles about condensed tan-
nins (CT), all from New Zealand: Barry & McNabb (1999),
Niezen et al. (1995 & 1996), and Høeg (1974). These are
considered in light of my observations and experiences of
beneficial effect  from  feeding sheep with high-tannin  for-

CT have been reported  to  increase absorption of essen-
tial amino acids  in  the small  intestines. This  results  inin-
creased  wool  growth,  body  mass,  milk  production  and
amount of protein in milk. CT seem to counteract protein
loss caused by gut parasitism and may stimulate the im-
mune system. CT may also inactivate parasite larvae dur-
ing passage through the gut. Forage containing CT could
offer  a  nutritionally-based  ecologically  syustainable  sys-
tem for controlling the effects of parasites. Tannins might
also be a way to reduce the large amount of grain fed to
sheep and cattle.

Traditional   practices could be a means  to better health
and  economy  for  traditional  societies. This  is  especially
important when crops containing CT are available in great
amounts  or  can  be  grown  in mountain  ro  cold  districts
where grains are difficult to grow.




How to Cite

Aas, E. (2008). Traditional Tannin-Treatment Against Intestinal Parasites in Sheep and Cattle. Ethnobotany Research and Applications, 1, 031–038. Retrieved from