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Script 51.4

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Many people know that plants can be used to treat human illnesses. But did you know that medicinal plants can also be used to cure animals?

There may be plants growing in your own garden or by the roadside that can be used to care for sick livestock. Wounds, burns, stomach problems, and many other diseases are simple to treat when you know which plants to use.

The medicine you need is at your fingertips.

Chada Nyarucha is a trainer at the Fambidzanai Permaculture Centre in Harare, Zimbabwe. He uses all kinds of plants to care for sick animals.

For example, he recommends aloe for controlling flies and soothing and healing skin burns or wounds. Aloe plants have fleshy blades with spikes that rise together from the base of the plant. They are filled with a bitter juice. Aloe soothes and heals wounded skin without irritation.

Mr. Nyarucha says that preparing aloe for livestock care is simple.

Press the flesh or milky juice of the aloe leaves directly on the animal’s wound or burn. This treatment can be repeated as often as needed until the skin heals.

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Do you know the baobab tree (Adansonia digitata)? If you live in Africa, you probably do. It grows well in dry places in Africa and has a wide trunk and thick, twisted branches. What you might not know is that baobab leaves can be used as a medicine for livestock, especially for goats, sheep and cattle. Mr. Nyarucha uses baobab leaves to prevent insect bites, to treat wounds and to reduce pain when animals are giving birth.

There are many other local plants you can use to treat animal diseases.

Mr. Nyarucha also uses thornapple (Datura stramonium), Tephrosia, Sesbania, castor bean oil (Ricinus communis), sausage tree (Kigelia pinnata) and wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) to successfully treat sick animals.

Ask the healers in your community which plants can be used as medicines. It is important to know exactly which plant to use and how to use it.

Put the health of your livestock in your own hands!