March 18, 2014

Garlic For Goats (And People Too)

Garlic is one of Dan's and my all time favorite medicinal herbs. Any time either one of us feels even the slightest twinge of coming down with something, it's the infamous "Garlic Drink".
  • 1 to 1.5 cups tomato or vegetable juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (helps cut the garlic flavor)
  • 1 rounded tsp pwd ginger (makes it easier on the stomach)
  • 1 or 2 raw, whole, peeled cloves of garlic

Liquefy in blender. Pour into glass. Bottoms up.

A day or two of this is the absolute best cure or preventative for beating whatever is trying to make us sick. (Yeah, yeah, I know, "That's because no one will get anywhere near you so you can't get sick, ha ha ha".)


*Tip: a fresh peppermint leaf or peppermint tincture is useful afterward.

Why is garlic so effective as an antibiotic, antiviral, antifungal, anthelmintic (wormer), anti-parasitic, anticoagulant, expectorant, anti-diabetic, anti-cholesterol, anti-allergy, antihistamine, cardioprotective? Because of the phytochemicals it contains. (For a complete list click here.) Specifically, it is sulfur containing compounds allicin, alliin, and ajoene. (Do click on those if you want to be impressed).

Allicin is what causes garlic to have it's strong, often objectionable, smell. It is released when a garlic clove is cut, bitten, or crushed. In the garden this is a natural defense mechanism against insects and microorganisms. In the body, it's a natural defense against bacteria, virusus, fungi, and parasites. Allicin is what makes garlic a potent medicinal. Unfortunately, the allicin quickly converts to other, less effective sulfur compounds. (For additional information, click here.) This is why raw garlic is best. Dried, powdered, or commercial forms are less effective.  For this reason we take garlic as medicine in a fresh garlic drink.

But on to goats. A number of natural goat wormer formulae include garlic, but usually in powdered form.  Knowing raw garlic is more potent I would rather give it that way. But how does one give raw garlic to goats?

My old method: Liquefy in blender with a little apple juice and blackstrap molasses. Administer with a dosing syringe. My goats love this. They fight me for the first couple of days but are quickly won over by the blackstrap (which is rich in calcium. iron, copper, B6, complete analysis here). It gets to where when they see me coming with the syringe, they fight over who's first.

New Method: Simply toss whole, unpeeled, raw cloves in their feed. I learned this tidbit over at Out Standing In The Garden. Seemed too simple. I gave it a try and it worked! Every goat I offered it to gobbled it down.

Three things should be noted:
  1. There's no milk withdrawal period, but garlic can effect milk flavor. Using it works best with a once a day milking regimen. Feed at the time of milking.
  2. Goats will eat what they need. If they need the garlic, they'll eat it. If they don't, they won't. By offering it regularly I can make sure they get what they need, and only what they need, free choice. 
  3. The liquefied method is still good for adding other things, such as herbal tinctures or powdered herbs. 

One last tidbit, garlic is a nutritious food too. It's a source of calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, copper, and selenium. Complete nutritional analysis here.


Frugal in Derbyshire said...

I use garlic for a tonic for all the animals, both feathered and furry. Using a mortis and pestle I crush fresh garlic with honey, lemon balm and sage. I then mix this with Apple Cider vinegar and administer with a syringe. I find this can aid sluggishness.
I give it to people too!
Have started your book last night. It's a bigger read than I expected.. a bargain!!

Unknown said...

Yeah for garlic, its a real "superfood" not just a trendy "what can we make a lot of money out of stupid consumers" type food.

Leigh said...

Gill, anything sweet, right? do yours start begging for it as soon as they see the syringe, LOL

Thank you for your kinds words about my book! My goal was not only to tell our story in a way that would help others, but to provide as much useful information as possible.

Lynda, exactly!

Frank and Fern said...

Great information, Leigh. I didn't think our goats would eat a garlic clove. I'm going to have to try that. Have you ever tried wormwood for worming your goats? Thanks.


Ed said...

I love garlic. Perhaps too much because if a recipe calls for a clove or two, I usually put in a hole bulb of garlic. Perhaps that is why I don't get sick very often.

Renee Nefe said...

I'm going to leave your blog up this evening so hubby can read it.

He doesn't like too much garlic flavor and none of the texture. But he is currently fighting a sinus infection.

I bought an organic head last year to plant but never got around to doing it. I need to try to get some planted this year so we can keep it around.

Velva said...

Love garlic- I grow it every year. I knew it had lots of health benefits but I think you brougt it to a new level. Thanks for sharing.


Woolly Bits said...

I love garlic (famous in the family for doing a 60 cloves roasted chicken once:) in all forms. luckily DH likes it too, so I don't get too lonely:) my favourite as medicine is this: chop one onion and the cloves of a whole bulb, mix into honey and wait for a few hours, until the juice flows. take a spoonful as often as you like (or can stand in some cases:). it has helped me fight a really nasty viral cough a few years back, when nothing else in the way of convent. meds helped! have used it as a prevention ever since, as soon as the colder days arrive...

Quinn said...

Leigh, when you made the blender version for your goats, about how much of each component did you give them and for how many days (you mentioned that they fought you the first couple of days)? I think everyone here could use a Spring Tonic. Thanks!

Sandy Livesay said...


Fabulous post!!! Years ago, our families didn't have access to all the commercialized products and medications. They would always use items grown in their personal gardens to cure or treat an illness/bug.
Garlic is one of the oldest medicinal foods.

Leigh said...

Fern, I wouldn't have thought they'd eat whole cloves of garlic either! I think wormwood is standard in herbal wormers and I've fed it that way. I've also added it powdered to my liquified garlic drench for goats. I have wormwood seeds, but my first try to grow it was a fail.

Ed, cooked garlic works too! And it may very well be why you don't get sick!

Renee, there is a sanitized (odorless) garlic on the market, I think it's gels. Not too sure how well it works! Dan uses a powdered herbal snuff for his sinus infections (which he gets a lot). It contains garlic and is sold by HEAL Marketplace. Good stuff.

Velva, isn't it great how all this information is available on the internet? Garlic is a favorite of ours.

Bettina, I'm definitely going to try your favorite remedy! I know onion is another medicinal herb, not as strong as garlic but important just the same. Thanks for the recipe!

Quinn, lets see. It's about a cup of juice, a tablespoon of blackstrap and a clove or two of garlic.

Sandy, thank you! I so agree that we have everything available to keep good health.

Jean, actually that's an excellent way to get the medicinal benefits! For some reason the bottom of the feet are particularly good at absorbing through the skin.

Rene said...

I'm just curious, but my veterinarian has been adamant about keeping garlic and onions away from my pets, as it is toxic to them. Do you know anything about this? It doesn't appear to be an issue for your animals, so now I wonder.

Leigh said...

Rene, I've not heard that so I really can't tell you the rationale for it. It would be interesting to research. We don't have a dog but my cats get garlic regularly and always seem to feel better for it.

Mama Pea said...

Yup, we're garlic lovers around here, too, because of all of its great characteristics.

Every now and then I make us a pizza loaded with sliced raw garlic, just because! Often when I make grilled cheese sandwiches, I put a layer of sliced garlic in them. (I must admit I get a little over-enthusiastic at times and my eyes water a bit while eating. But it's all good.) I do worry about us emitting garlic fumes though. I find that very off-putting in another person.

When we had dairy goats, we fed them the garlic cloves and (happily) never noticed the flavor come through in their milk.

Rene said...

Just some stuff I found. Any thoughts? And thanks for the insight!

Leigh said...

Mama Pea, LOL, you've got it bad. I tried sliced garlic on pizza once but even Dan thought it was too much. I really like it!

Thanks for letting me know about the garlic and milk! That's a relief and I'll be interested to see for myself.

Rene, thank you for taking the time to do some research and share the links. As I mentioned previously, this is the first time I've heard this. I can only speak to my experience, which has been extremely favorable in fighting infections in my cats. I do think that if anyone is concerned about this information, then they should definitely avoid garlic and onions for their pets. Your information may be helpful to someone else reading these comments.

Frank and Fern said...

Leigh, my first try at growing wormwood from seeds didn't work either, but I tried again and it finally worked last summer. It even went to seed for me and I saved them. I haven't planted them yet to see if they are viable but the plant overwintered in a big wooden tub just fine. Now I need to find it a good permanent home. How much do I offer the goats and how often? Will it affect the taste of the milk? Thanks again.


Leigh said...

Fern, I don't know an exact dose but can reason it out somewhat. The two herbal wormers I've tried that contain it are Molly's and Hoegger's. Each lists it with (I'm guessing) 6 to 8 other ingredients and the dose is 1.5 tablespoons. That's given once per week (Hoeggers) or once per month (Molly's). That would mean less than a teaspoon of powdered wormwood per dose. There is no milk withdrawal and I've never noticed a change in milk flavor.

In The Complete Herbal Handbook For Farm and Stable (by Juliette de Bairacli Levy, highly recommended!!!), the dose is one handful herb brewed in 1.5 pints water and add a tbsp honey. She says give one cup twice a day. (Not sure how to do that.) Or make into pills (no directions or dosage)

She further comments that horses, cows, and sheep will eat the foliage. Sepp Holzer (Sepp Holzer's Permaculture) mentions that he grows these kinds of herbs in his stock's forage areas. They eat what they need! (He also uses wormwood in his compost tea so that it helps repel insects).

One other tidbit I've collected - southernwood is a milder flavored variety of wormwood.

Thanks for your sharing your experience. I'm encouraged and will try to grow it again!

Rene said...

Oh, I'm a huge proponent of garlic for humans, and use it religiously myself. This is why I asked my vet about using it for a kitty I had with a wound that required antibiotics multiple times. He said absolutely not, and he also told me no tea tree oil. I suspected he might just be trying to sell me the antibiotic shots and meds, but my research seemed to support what he said, so I avoid letting my pets have onions or garlic, or food cooked with either. But you are absolutely correct - everyone should do what they feel is best for their pets. I just wanted to put out there what I had found. Thank you again for the information!

Frank and Fern said...

Thanks, Leigh. I have Juliette's book and it is great! My thought was to feed a handful of leaves every couple of weeks. I don't have enough to establish it in my pastures yet, but that is a long term goal. For me, the most simple way is best. I won't be making a drench or powder. But your idea about making a compost tea is very interesting. I may try that on the garden and on my Pyrenees when the flies get bad.

Thanks again!


Debby Riddle said...

thanks for this tip, raw cloves in their feed. My girls will do just about anything to avoid an herbal powder with wormwood in it, annoying!

Leigh said...

Rene, your story about your vet and the antibiotics is the kind of thing that's always in my mind too. There is too much research that simply promotes a product. It's not in their best interest for natural cures to work! So I take anything experts say with a grain of salt and then do my own homework. The cat who received garlic daily for feline lymphoma was only supposed to live for another 5 or 6 months; he lived for another 2 years! But good for you for doing your own research.

Fern, +1 for simple! That's why I was delighted to find out the goats will eat raw garlic. Do you do your own fecals to test for effectiveness? On my wishlist I have a microscope so that someday I can do my own.

Debby, I've not had that problem but then, I think both formulas I've used have stevia! I hope the garlic works for you.

G. Robison said...

I absolutely love your blog since you are living the dream that I will probably never get to. BUT.......

as a feline veterinarian I have to comment on this particular subject. Garlic and onions are known to be toxic to dog and cat red blood cells (aka poisonous). They cause red blood cells to die prematurely. So it is a very bad idea to give it to them under any circumstances.

I would hate to see any of your adorable fur people come to harm from it!

Here are some links on the subject.

If you have any questions you can message me via my clinic FB page: Cat's Meow Veterinary Clinic

Good luck with your amazing homestead!

Leigh said...

Dr. Robison, thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment and address this. I became aware of the hemolytic effect of garlic after I wrote this post. Obviously it should be amended with that information.

When I published Critter Tales, I shared my feline lymphoma experience but made the statement that I no longer endorsed the use of garlic for cats with the reasons why. Obviously I need to add the same warning to this page as well.

Unknown said...

Do you ever use garlic for baby goats? We just got ours (11 days old) and opted out of the vaccines. The were just dehorned and are banded before we got them and we were looking into bossting their immunity naturally. If garlic would work, how would we administer? Thanks!

Leigh said...

Hello! Welcome and congratulations on your kids. No, I've never given garlic to baby goats and probably wouldn't. I use it mostly has an antibiotic and antiviral rather than an immune booster. Actually, I've never thought of giving kids an immune boost, but then mine are on their mothers and receive antibodies through her milk. It sounds like you just got the kids and no mom, so if it were me, I would probably order a bottle of Molly's Herbals Immune ST, web page here. She gives dosages by goat weight and her products are very good.