• Español
  • Français
  • English
  • Português

Using Tephrosia to control internal and external animal parasites

Animal parasites both external and internal have a lot of influence on animal health and productivity. In addition to sucking blood and nutrients from the animals, some transmit diseases. A wide range of internal and external parasites are known for causing loss to animal farmers in terms of lowering the quality and quantity of products obtain or even death of the animals. There are a wide range of synthetic drugs used to control these parasites. However, these are costly to the small scale farmer and pose a health risk if not well administered. In most cases, farmers are not skilled enough on how to apply these drugs. Due to this, these drugs end up contaminating animal products posing a health risk to the consumers. There is need for farmers to apply local, cost effective and safe methods of controlling these parasites.

Okware kerement a farmer from Mukono uses Tephrosia leaves to control worms and ticks in goats and cattle.

Controlling ticks

To control ticks, he grinds fresh Tephrosia leaves and uses them to scrub the animal. He scrubs the whole animal but butting emphasis on the areas known to harbor ticks like around the udder, under the tail and in and around the ears. In 30 minutes the ticks will be dead. He repeats this practice once a week.

Controlling worms in cattle

He boils equal parts by Volume of water and tephrosia leaves for about one hour. When boiling, he covers the boiling pan to ensure that the drug does not lose its curative power. He lets the concoction cool, squeezes the leaves to obtain the solution and gives 500 to 1000mls of the liquid to each animal above six months of age. For calves of two and a half to six months, he gives 300mls. He repeats this practice once a month.

Controlling worms in goats

For goats, he gives them Tephrosia leaves as part of their pasture. He mixes a few leaves in the animals’ feeds and gives them the residues from the concoction prepared for controlling worms in cattle (see preparation above). The goats have not shown any signs of worm infestation for the five years he has been rearing them.

Please share with us your experience.

  1. Have you ever used or heard about this practice?
  2. What else can be added to this practice to make it more effective?
  3. Do you know of an alternative method used to treat control worms and ticks?
  4. Do you know of any health risks that this practice could have?
  5. What precautions can farmers take to reduce these risks? 


Thank you, Possiano, for starting this conversation about Tephrosia leaf. It really seems as if it is a very versatile leaf, both as an insect/pest repellant in grain storage and protection for livestock. I would be interested to hear of more peoples' experiences with the leaf as treatment.

I did come across the use of Neem oil for tick treatment. (http://www.aun.edu.eg/faculty_veterinary_medicine/pAbstract.php?JP_ID=959) Perhaps someone knows about this as an alternative method as well?


I have continued to explore some different accounts of using tephrosia as pest control an came across two different forms of application.

In Zimbabwe, for a 5 month period in the summer, when tick levels are highest, a study was done to evaluate the effectiveness of the Tephrosia vogelii in controlling ticks on dairy cows. During this five month period, it was seen that Tephrosia was able to effectively reduce tick numbers on dairy cows. It is recommended that smallholders that may not have easy access to modern veterinary drugs to use Tephrosia vogelii, instead.

The extraction and application procedure went as follows: the Tephrosia leaves were collected and grounded into 3 sets of poultice paste of 50 grams each. The Tephrosia leaf extract was obtained by soaking the 50 grams in 100 ml of water. Soaking was done for 12 hours before the paste was used. The paste was sieved through a 10 mm sieve and extracted water was then used to spray on the dairy cow. The application was done on a weekly basis. (The process was also done by soaking 50 grams of leaves in 150 ml and 200 ml of water, which although were effective did not have as high a reduction level as the 100 ml water paste did.)

The authors believe this practice is appropriate for tick control, because Tephrosia is cheap and easy to propagate and matures within 2-3 months. Care must be taken though, in that the leaf has highly toxic properties and may end up killing non-target animal organisms, such as fish.


The World Agroforestry Centre instructs to protect animals that the Tephrosia leaf should be pounded into a mortar and prepare as follows. About 1 kilogram of leaves needs 5 litres of water. The crushing of the leaves does not need to be done perfectly. After soaking the leaves in water for two hours or boiling them for 30 minutes, filter the juice through a cloth and use directly in a sprayer. Dilute this with five times the volume of water and wash the animals with the mixture. The treatment should effectively remove ticks lodged in the animals fur. However, rotenone in the leaf are very toxic to pigs, so extreme care should be exercised it treating pigs.


Dear Molly,

Interesting information with preparation procedures and application rates. Thanks for sharing

Are Tephrosia leaves only used in Uganda in Mukono to control parasites of livestock? If other farmers use it, do they apply it in the same way as Okware Kerement? Who can contribute with similar experiences?

Dear Members, we managed to get a few testimonies from farmers on using Tephrosia and other herbs to control worms and ticks, and they are as follows:

Yidi Bulo from Mukono uses Tephrosia roots to control ticks in sheep. He grinds the roots of Tephrosia and smears them on the body of the animal once in two weeks.
Nicholas Ssejjemba from Mukono uses Tephrosia flowers to control worms in goats. In his own words he says "I boil one handful of flowers in 1 litre of water and give 150mls to mature animals. He repeats the treatment once every 2 months.

However, Racheal Amenemoit uses Paraffin to control ticks as she explains,” You get little drop of paraffin and put where the tick is, it will drop off and die”. But she also uses Oxalis latifolia (broadleaf woodsorrel) to control the worms. She says, “You can get those plants (of Oxalis latifolia) and feed the animals on them. They remove all the worms and the same time it is very good food to feed on animals”.
For Joweria Nakibuuka, she uses a mixture of ash and wandering Jew to control the ticks as she explains, “You get 5kg of ash and 10kg of wandering Jew, you get 10litres of water, you mix and wait for 7days and you spray”

Bruce Babara from Mukono controls worms using Aloe vera leaves as she explains “Aloe vera leaves are given to the cow after shaving off the thorns and to the poultry the leaves are chopped into small pieces held in water for some time, sieved then given to the birds to drink hence controlling worms in livestock”. She also knows of the of farmers who use the Aloe vera leaves to control worms in their livestock as she reports, “Aloe vera leaves are harvested, then the farmer removes the thorns and gives the leaves to the goats, cows etc. then for the case of poultry the leaves are cut into small pieces put in water for like an hour to allow them mix well to be ready for application. To control the ticks, the mixture is used by washing the body of the dogs for example as well as other animals or a mixture is poured where the ticks are, which all helps to kill the ticks hence controlling ticks.

Aminah Mbabazi from Mukono controls ticks by getting a sachet of powdered soap and pour on an animal skin once a week.

Animal parasites greatly affect animal health. And if they are not controlled then it can have adverse effect on their health. And tephrosia helps in controlling these parasites. The post briefly describes the advantages of tephrosia and how it can be used to kill the parasites.


Your have shared such a marvelous tips with us. I am really glad to find out about how to control worms in cattle.