Ethnoveterinary use of medicinal plants in the treatment of claw diseases – a survey with farmers from 20 Swiss cantons
20 December 2019 (online)
Claw diseases and lameness constitute one of the most severe challenges in livestock production, both for animal welfare and economic reasons. From 2011 to 2014 we conducted five ethnoveterinary surveys in 19 German speaking Swiss cantons, and in the Italian speaking canton of Ticino. A total of 208 interviews were carried out with 273 farmers, 1671 use reports (UR) were recorded, comprising detailed information about plant species, plant part used, the manufacturing process for the end-product, dosing, administration, and therapeutic intention. Among them, 89 UR with 22 different plant species were specifically linked to claw diseases of cattle (80), goats (6), sheep (2) and pigs(1). For seven species more than five UR were reported. We determined the concentration of dry plant material in the final product (g herb/100g product; median, minimum-maximum): Malva ssp (22 UR (21 herb, 1 flower); 0.24g/100g; 0.002-1.82), Matricaria chamomilla L. (11 UR (10 flower, 1 herb); 0.46g/100g; 0.04-2.5), Picea abies (L.) H. KARST. (10 UR (resin); 24.7g/100g; 9.9-100), Calendula officinalis L. (7 UR (flower); 0.2g/100g; 0.0003-0.82), Thymus vulgaris L. (6 UR (herb); 0.02g/100g; 0.015-0.43), Senecio ovatus (P. GAERTN., B.MEY. & SCHERB.) WILLD. (6 UR (herb); 0.37g/100g; 0.07-0.57), and Sanicula europaea L. (6 UR (herb); 0.17g/100g; 0.07-0.27). Senecio ovatus could not be recommended due to the content of pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Besides, insufficient pharmacological data are available for Sanicula europaea. For the remaining five species antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and wound healing properties are well known, and clinical data with extracts of these plants have been published before.