We maintain our household and our livestock as holistically as possible. I do the best I can to use the herbs I grow on the farm and what I can forage to keep everyone healthy and happy, but it can be a challenge. Using herbs and other natural resources can be intimidating, and I’m definitely not an herbalist, so I rely on the experts to keep me on track.
We utilize some simple natural remedies for our goats from our own cupboard, but here’s also a wealth of great herbals that can be found in most backyards.
Recently, I was lucky enough to learn about Devon Young, the founder of Nitty Gritty Life, a well known blog devoted to holistic sustainable living. Her blog is just gorgeous, and chock full of great recipes and info on herbalism, foraging, homesteading and more. On top of being a blogger extraordinaire, Devon recently published her first book – The Backyard Herbal Apothecary. I just had to get my hands on a copy for myself.
The Backyard Herbal Apothecary is full of fantastic color photos of a wealth of backyard herbs to use for farm and family. Each herb is broken down with easy to understand descriptions and precautions. There are great recipes for tinctures, salves and more with the herbs you can harvest from your own yard. It’s a fantastic resource.
These are the top 5 herbal takeaways I’ll be using with my own herd from my backyard:
Chickweed can be found in our backyard from late winter to early spring. It’s hardy and abundant and chock full of good stuff, including vitamins A, B and C and vital minerals such as calcium, magnesium and zinc. All of this is great for general health. Perhaps the most helpful quality of this little plant for your goats, is it’s effectiveness with stubborn coughs. Chickweed is an expectorant to help move mucus and sooth a persistent cough. Sometimes we have a goat with a lingering cough as spring approaches, which will be perfect timing for this little herb to be helpful to our herd. It does have mild laxative properties, so introduce it in small quantities.
This one has received a lot of online love, but it seems like it isn’t getting the use it deserves. We have plantain growing everywhere, and I’m doing my best to start utilizing it more with my goats.
Plantain is great because it’s useful both internally and externally. Internally, plantain helps ease symptoms of allergies and colds including coughs, runny noses and watery eyes. It can also help draw infection out out the mouth. Externally, it can be used to treat a wide variety of minor skin issues and injuries with just a basic poultice, or infused in a salve.
We use raspberry leaves a lot with our goats, especially to promote circulatory health during pregnancy. It’s an herbal well known for womb health, strengthening the uterus and promoting circulation. it also helps with postpartum uterus recovery and bleeding. We feature it heavily in our Baby Mama Bites for goat pregnancy support. Lesser known is that raspberry leaves are also great for urinary tract health as well, so are great for male goats to help prevent urinary calculi. Our goats eat these up , and we feed them out regularly when they’re fresh and in season. We also dry as many as we can for the goats during the winter months.
There is a huge wealth of more backyard herbals that are safe and easy to harvest for your heard and family available in Devon Young’s The Backyard Herbal Apothecary. Get your hands on this book to learn more about what grows in your zones that can help with your holistic endeavors.