Infertility in Goats
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Vicki McGaugh
Posted on: April 15, 2000

I was told that the herbs lobelia and false unicorn could be used together to treat infertility in a champion dairy goat that I have. In viewing your catalog lobellia is not used for anything like this. I would like to order some dried herbs and plants, I know that this animal is not barren, since she has had kids (baby goats) three times in the last six years, I would like to use something that would improve her blood flow to her reproductive organs, and perhaps something that would treat cysts or minor infection. We went the hormonal route last year: very expensive and resulted in a three month pregnancy ending in abortion. Would appreciate any and all information.

Our catalogue descriptions are by necessity very brief. Most of the herbs we sell have many more properties and uses than are described in the Richters catalogue. Many would require several pages of information to adequately cover all their recorded uses.

The best source of information on the herbal care of animals is "The Complete Herbal Handbook for Farm and Stable" by Juliette de Bairacli Levy. Her book is a classic and should be on the shelf of every person who cares for or owns animals. Her books are available from Richters.

Levy does not mention using lobelia and false unicorn together for the treatment of infertility in goats. She covers lobelia but not false unicorn, which is not necessarily a negative against false unicorn, a native of the United States. Rather, the omission of false unicorn is likely the simple result of her European background and of her greater familiarity with European herbs. She does include some North American herbs such as lobelia in her book, but she relies mostly on the better known ones that would have been readily available to her in Europe.

Here is what she says about lobelia:

"This is one of the most important herbs of the Red Indian herbalist, and is one of the most remarkable of all herbs, sharing with garlic the powers of being able to cure nearly every ailment which afflicts the human and animal body."

She does not mention any use for fertility, however. She says it is a "famed remedy for all chest ailments" and for "removal of obstructions in all organs and tissues." She recommends lobelia for the following diseases: pneumonia, pleurisy, bronchitis, asthma; liver, bladder and stomach inflammations or obstructions; venereal diseases; and external inflammations, swellings, ulcers and running sores.

Her book has a chapter on goats. For sterility she has this to say:

"Unbalanced diet is the general cause, with consequent ill functioning of the glandular metabolism. The natural wild or mountain-pastured goats are very fertile, sterility being a great rarity."

She goes on to recommend adding herbs to the diet, herbs such as thyme, mint, marjoram, sage and fennel. She also suggests vitamin E, whole-grains, seeds, and much more.

Maude Grieve in her classic "A Modern Herbal" has this to say about false unicorn root:

"Emetic, tonic, diuretic, vermifuge. In large doses a cardiac poison. Of the greatest value in female disorders of the reproductive organs. The indication for its use is a dragging sensation in the extreme lower abdomen. It is useful in impotence, as a tonic in genito-urinary weakness or irritability, for liver and kidney diseases. Especially in diseases due to poor action of the liver and not to weakness of the heart or circulation. It is a good remedy in albuminaria."

It is conceivable that a herbalist has experimented with using lobelia and false unicorn together for infertility in goats. Lobelia may be providing general support by "unblocking obstructions" in the genito-urinary tract, and may also help to control venereal disease, while false unicorn may be acting directly on the female reproductive system. For the particulars of such a treatment, you will need to refer to the source who told you about this treatment.

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