BAIF Development Research Foundation


Key words and phrases:

animal health, community based animal health care, environment, ethnoveterinary medicine, indigenous knowledge, indigenous systems, participation, veterinary

Edited by:
Evelyn Mathias
D.V. Rangnekar
and Constance M. McCorkle
with the assistance of
Marina Martin

Published 1999 by BAIF Development Research Foundation, Pune, India 1999

BAIF Development Research Foundation
BAIF Bhavan, Dr. Manibhai Desai Nagar
Warje Malewadi (Bombay - Bangalore bypass highway)
Pune 411 029, India
Phone +91-212-365 494, fax: +91-212-366 788

BAIF is a non-political, secular non-governmental organisation involved in livestock development. BAIF's mission is to create opportunities of gainful self-employment for rural families, especially disadvantaged sections, ensuring sustainable livelihood, enriched environment, improved quality of life and good human health. This will be achieved through development research, effective use of local resources, extension of appropriate technologies and upgradation of skills and capabilities with community participation.

Correct citation:
Mathias, E., D.V. Rangnekar, and C.M. McCorkle. 1999. Ethnoveterinary Medicine: Alternatives for Livestock Development. Proceedings of an International Conference held in Pune, India, on November 4-6, 1997. Volume 1: Selected Papers. BAIF Development Research Foundation, Pune, India.

Click here to return to Vetwork UK home page
Click here to return to Prelude home page


Click on heading link to go to file; then select in file content section.
Note: Ctrl+Home should return you to the start of this document from anywhere within it.



Introduction: Whence and whither ER&D?
Constance M. McCorkle, D. V. Rangnekar, and Evelyn Mathias

Part 1: Applied studies of ethnoveterinary systems

Community-based research on local knowledge systems: The ANTHRA project on ethnoveterinary research

Community-based animal healthcare and ethnoveterinary medicine in Sudan
Stephen F. Ashdown and John Smith

Relation between ethnoveterinary and western knowledge in family-level livestock keeping (examples from Bolivia)
Katrien van’t Hooft

Ethnoveterinary medicine in Kerala (South India)
V. Padmakumar

Ethnoveterinary studies among Tzotzil shepherdesses as the basis of a genetic improvement programme for Chiapas sheep
Raul Perezgrovas

Participatory studies with women on ethnoveterinary practices for livestock health management
Sangeeta Rangnekar

Aspects of farmers’ knowledge, attitudes and practices of animal health problems in central Ethiopia
G. Wirtu, G. Adugna, T. Samuel, E. Kelbessa, and A. Geleto

Present state of the ethnoveterinary system in northwestern Bangladesh
M.I. Zuberi

Part 2: Validation of Ethnoveterinary Medicine

Traditional veterinary practices in rural Medak, India
Khan Shaheen Hamed

The use of indigenous veterinary remedies in Malawi
B.M.D. Kambewa, M.W. Mfitilodze, K. Hüttner, C.B.A. Wollny, and R.K.D. Phoya

A recognition of rural knowledge: medicinal plants and traditional veterinary medicine of central Africa (testing the traditional veterinary pharmacopoeia)
K. Kasonia and M. Ansay

Indigenous technologies for health coverage in sheep
Dinesh Kumar

Participatory workshops to produce information materials on ethnoveterinary medicine
Paul Mundy and Evelyn Mathias

Ethnoveterinary knowledge and practices among the Samburu people: A case study
Jacob Barasa Wanyama

Part 3: Ethnoveterinary medicinal plants and plant medicines

Ethnomedico-botany and its sustenance
S. Vedavathy

Less-known ethnoveterinary uses of plants in India
R. L. S. Sikarwar

Evaluation of indigenous herbs as antitrypanosomal agents
S. K. Dwivedi

The potential of Tinospora rumphii as an anthelmintic against H. contortus in goats
Tomas. J. Fernandez

Therapeutic efficacy of a herbal preparation in dermatological conditions of animals and its influence on wound healing
B. P. Manjunatha

Zeetress – a promising anti-stress remedy and immuno-modulator. A review
C. B. Pande

Part 4: Application of ethnoveterinary medicine

Application of ethnoveterinary medicine: Where do we stand?
Evelyn Mathias and Raul Perezgrovas

Ethnoveterinary medicine – a boon for improving the productivity of livestock in rural India
D. Ravindra and K. R. Rao

Alternate systems for village animal healthcare using ethnoveterinary medicines
Akkara J. John

Traditional animal health services: a case study from the Godwar area of Rajasthan
Hanwant Singh Rathore, Shravan Singh Rathore, and Ilse Köhler-Rollefson

Provision of sustainable animal health delivery systems, which incorporate traditional livestock knowledge, to marginalised pastoralist areas
D. Akabwai, T. Leyland, and C. Stem

The integration of ethnoveterinary knowledge into a community-based animal health project working with the Dinka and Nuer in Southern Sudan
Stephen Blakeway, David Adolph, B. J. Linquist, and Bryony Jones

Somali ethnoveterinary medicine and private animal health services: Can old and new systems work together?
Andy Catley and Robert Walker

Sustainable options for sheep extension and development derived from ethnoveterinary research in highland Chiapas, Mexico
Raul Perezgrovas and Norma Farrera

Practising veterinary medicine in a developing country using acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, and allopathy
Ann-si Li

Scope of homoeopathy in veterinary practice
V. A. Sapre

Part 5: Education

A survey of the current status of ethnoveterinary medicine in veterinary training and research institutions around the world and its implications
Denis Fielding

Cognitive domain and acceptance of ethnoveterinary medicine by animal scientists
Basavaprabhu Jirli, Prabhat Kumar Jha, and Madhukar Chugh

Perceptions of veterinarians on ethnoveterinary medicine
R. Sabarinathan Nair, S. V. N. Rao, and S. Ramkumar


Summary of the healers’ workshop

Discussions and recommendations

Ethnoveterinary projects

Ethnoveterinary events since Pune


Participants and authors


Abbreviations and acronyms


Many farmers and livestock raisers throughout the developing world rely on traditional healthcare practices to keep their animals healthy. These indigenous or local practices, or ‘ethnoveterinary medicine’ (EVM), include the use of medicinal plants, surgical techniques, and management practices to prevent and treat a range of livestock diseases.

Ethnoveterinary medicine provides valuable alternatives to and complements western-style veterinary medicine. This is increasingly evident in the West where herbal medicine and other alternative approaches such as acupuncture and homoeopathy are becoming mainstream. EVM is of specific value in developing countries where allopathic veterinary medicines are often beyond the reach of livestock producers. It can play an important role in grassroots development which seeks to empower people by enhancing the use of their own knowledge and resources.

Over the last decade, interest in EVM has been rapidly increasing across the disciplines including veterinarians, agriculturalists, social scientists, representatives of dairy farmers' co-operatives and other actors involved in ethnoveterinary research and development (ER&D). But EVM is still under-used in development work. A major reason is the lack of formal links that would allow cross-fertilisation of experience and learning from others' successes and failures.

To bridge this gap, the International Conference on Ethnoveterinary Medicine: Alternatives for Livestock Development was organised. In particular, the conference seeked:

  • To promote EVM in livestock development.
  • To explore possibilities of developing systems for improving the accessibility and efficacy of livestock health services.
  • To foster the exchange of experiences and knowledge of EVM and contribute to its knowledge base.
  • To identify priorities and approaches for research and field work.

The conference

Some 200 delegates attended from India and 20 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. They came from both non-government organisations (NGOs) and government organisations (GOs) and included veterinarians, animal scientists, veterinary technicians, healers, pharmacologists, ethnobotanists, economists, anthropologists, and sociologists; they were scientists, clinicians, field practitioners, extensionists, representatives of the private sector, and policy makers. About 17% of the participants were women.

The conference was opened and addressed by Dr. A. Ahmed, Vice Chancellor of the Hamdard University in New Delhi and Dr. M.L. Madan, Deputy General Director of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). During the first two days, more than 60 presentations discussed the following aspects of ethnoveterinary medicine:

  • Research and validation in a plenary and five parallel sessions focussing on pharmacological studies, clinical trials, socio-economic studies, participatory methods, and ethnobotany.
  • Application of EVM in a plenary and five parallel sessions dealing with field application, homeopathy and acupuncture, research and education, commercialisation, and camel health.
  • Future approaches in a plenary session.


Comprehensive displays of medicinal plants from India prepared by staff of the Indian organisations SRISTI and ANTHRA, posters, and other exhibits vividly illustrated the multitude and variety of ethnoveterinary systems and practices.

On the second evening, traditional healers from all over India discussed their veterinary practices and provided examples of their remedies.

During the last day, participants split into 10 working groups. These discussed the following topics:

  • Pharmacology and ethnobotany.
  • Validation and clinical trials.
  • Field application (methods, extension, etc.).
  • Education.
  • Commercialisation.
  • Homeopathy and acupuncture.
  • Camels.
  • Involving and rewarding grassroots innovators.
  • Animal disease and management.
  • Databanks and information storage.

Each group formulated recommendations and action plans for their topic, or discussed specific projects. The outputs of the working groups were presented and discussed during a concluding plenary session.

As a post-conference activity, a two-day workshop to produce a field manual on camel diseases was held. During this workshop, about 20 people from 10 countries compiled and discussed information on selected camel diseases and their conventional and ethnoveterinary treatments. The outputs of this workshop will be published as a manual for NGOs, extension workers, and veterinarians.

The proceedings

This was the first international conference to bring together the different actors in ethnoveterinary medicine. A wide range of participants attended the conference, and some 90 papers and posters were presented. Space and cost limitations, however, mean that it is not possible to include all these in this proceedings volume. Some 35 papers highlighting the focus and regional coverage of the conference were selected; they were condensed and edited and included in this book (Volume 1 of the proceedings). Volume 2 contains the abstracts of all the papers and posters that were submitted and accepted for the conference. Papers focusing on camels are not included in this volume; they are published instead in the Journal of Camel Practice and Research (see also the annex Discussions and recommendations).

Structure of this volume

This volume is divided into the following sections:

  • An introduction by the editors.
  • Selected papers.
  • Summary of the healers’ workshop.
  • The outputs of the working groups and suggestions by individual participants.
  • A list of ethnoveterinary projects worldwide.
  • A review of activities and events since the November 1997 conference.
  • Resources on ethnoveterinary medicine.
  • A list of participants and authors.
  • A list of abbreviations.

The selected papers are grouped into five parts:

Applied studies of ethnoveterinary systems presentsstudies from Asia, Africa, and Latin America. These papers go beyond listing medicinal plants and describing of ethnoveterinary systems: they analyse local ethnoveterinary systems and the actors involved; they compare practices of different people and regions; they discuss when people use EVM or modern medicine; and they suggest how local practices can be integrated into extension. The papers are arranged in alphabetical order by author.

Validation of ethnoveterinary medicine focuses mainly on non-laboratory methods of validating ethnoveterinary medicines and practices. Examples are keeping records of treatments and their success, comparing plant uses mentioned in the literature, and asking or discussing with stockraisers, extensionists, scientists, and other actors. The papers are also arranged in alphabetical order by author.

Ethnoveterinary medicinal plants and plant medicines focuses on plant medicines. The first paper discusses ethnobotany and its role in the identification of medicinal plants. The second paper demonstrates that comparing the use of medicinal plants between regions and continents can help point out plant resources that are not used. The remaining papers in this section contain examples of pharmacological and clinical testing of medicinal plants and commercially produced remedies.

Application of ethnoveterinary medicine starts with an overview on the present state of the field use of EVM. The second paper provides data on veterinary coverage in India, highlighting the need and potential role for EVM in livestock healthcare. Several examples follow from India, Africa, and Latin America, demonstrating the use of EVM in extension and community-based livestock healthcare. The part concludes with papers on the use of acupuncture and homeopathy in small and large animal practice, showing that combining allopathy and alternative veterinary medicine widens the options for both healthcare providers and clients.

The scarcity of papers in Education is indicative for the lack of attention that this area has received so far, and is inversely proportional to its importance for the future use of EVM. A global survey of universities and veterinary colleges indicates that as yet, few include EVM in their curriculum. However, interest is growing. Two surveys from India confirm this trend.


Financial support

The conference and production of these proceedings were supported by the following organisations:

  • Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation, Bangalore, India.
  • National Tree Growers Cooperative Federation, Anand, India.
  • Ford Foundation, New Delhi, India.
  • World Bank, Washington, U.S.A.
  • Mehsana Dist. Dairy Cooperative Union, Mehsana, India.
  • Indian Herbs, Bangalore, India.
  • Dabur Ayurvet, Ghaziabad, India.
  • Plantavet, Bad Waldsee, Germany.
  • League of Pastoral Peoples, Ober-Ramstadt, Germany.
  • CMC Consultants, Washington, U.S.A.

Additional support for participants was received by:

  • Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN), Dakar, Senegal.
  • Intermediate Technology Development Group (ITDG), Nairobi, Kenya.
  • International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Ottawa, Canada.
  • Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation, (CTA), Wageningen, The Netherlands.


The conference was organised by:

  • Dr. D.V. Rangnekar, BAIF, Ahmedabad, India.
  • Dr. Constance M. McCorkle, CMC Consulting, Washington, U.S.A.
  • Dr. Evelyn Mathias, Independent Consultant, Bergisch Gladbach, Germany.
  • Dr. A.L. Joshi, BAIF, Pune, India.

The organisers would like to thank the following persons and organisations for their support during the conference preparations and implementation:

  • BAIF Team, Pune, India.
  • Pratima Krishnan, Om Consultants, Bangalore, India.
  • R.R. Mohan, Om Consultants, Bangalore, India.
  • Dr. Paul Mundy, Independent Consultant, Bergisch Gladbach.
  • A.G. Ramdas, BAIF, Ahmedabad, India.
  • Ashlesha Rangnekar, Ahmedabad, India.
  • Yash Rangnekar, Ahmedabad, India.

The organisers would also like to thank the following organisations for preparing excellent exhibitions of medicinal plants:

  • ANTHRA, Pune, India.
  • SRISTI, Ahmedabad, India.


Many thanks to Dr. Paul Mundy for editorial and stylistic advice and his help in preparing the camera-ready version of this volume.