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Title: The effects of combining Artemisia annua and Curcuma longa ethanolic extracts in broilers challenged with infective oocysts of Eimeria acervulina and E. maxima

item ALMEIDA, GUSTAVO - Aarhus University
item THAMSBORG, STIG - University Of Copenhagen
item MADEIRA, ALDA - Universidad De Sao Paulo
item Ferreira, Jorge
item MAGALHAES, PEDRO - Universidade De Campinas (UNICAMP)
item DEMATTE FILHO, LUIZ - Luiz De Queiroz College Of Agriculture (ESALQ)
item HORSTED, KLAUS - Aarhus University
item HERMANSEN, JOHN - Aarhus University

Submitted to: Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/11/2013
Publication Date: 10/22/2013
Citation: Almeida, G.F.d., Thamsborg, S.M., Madeira, A.B.M.N., Ferreira, J.F., Magalhaes, P.M., Dematte Filho, L.C., Horsted, K., Hermansen, J.E. 2013. The effects of combining Artemisia annua and Curcuma longa ethanolic extracts in broilers challenged with infective oocysts of Eimeria acervulina and E. maxima. Parasitology. 141:347-355.

Interpretive Summary: Currently, there are no natural alternative to control gastrointestinal parasites in livestock production systems. However, consumers demand no antibiotics or arsenic-based compounds in poultry. We tested the combination of ethanolic extracts of the annual wormwood herb with the spice turmeric, added to the drinking water of broiler chickens infected with coccidiosis (a protozoal parasite). These natural treatments were compared to commercial anti-coccidian drugs (coccidiostats), vaccination, and with commercial natural product based on oregano. Birds were evaluated for the following attributes: weight gain, feed intake, feed conversion rate, mortality, intestinal scaring, and the excretion of parasite eggs in feces. Chickens treated with commercial coccidiostats had superior attributes than all other groups, but chickens exposed to the two highest doses of the mixed extracts of annual wormwood and turmeric presented intermediate intestinal scaring scores. These scores were better than those obtained for chickens treated with commercial coccidiostats, but worse than that of vaccinated chickens, treated with oregano, or that of non-parasitized chickens. Although not statistically significant, there was a trend for chickens treated with the highest dose of the mixture wormwood/turmeric to have a higher survival rate in the last part of the growing period (23-43 days of age) than the infected chickens treated with the commercial coccidiostats. Thus, the supplementation of drinking water of chickens afflicted with coccidian parasites proved practical at the farm level, but further studies to evaluate doses with higher curative power are needed. The findings of this research are of interest to organic chicken farmers and farmers interested in reducing the use of arsenic-based and antibiotic-based anti-parasitic drugs, currently used by the industry.

Technical Abstract: Due to an increasing demand for natural products to control coccidiosis in broilers we investigated the effects of supplementing a combination of ethanolic extracts of Artemisia annua and Curcuma longa in drinking water. Three different dosages of this herbal mixture were compared with a negative control (uninfected), a positive control (infected and untreated), chemical coccidiostats (nicarbazin+narazin and later salinomycin), vaccination, and a product based on oregano. Differences in performance (weight gain, feed intake, and feed conversion rate), mortality, gross intestinal lesions and oocyst excretion were investigated. Broilers given chemical coccidiostats performed better than all other groups. Broilers given the two highest dosages of the herbal mixture had intermediate lesion scores caused by Eimeria acevulina, which was higher than in broilers given coccidiostats but less than in broilers given vaccination, oregano and in negative controls. There was a trend for lower mortality (P = 0·08) in the later stage of the growing period (23–43 days) in broilers given the highest dosage of herbal mixture compared with broilers given chemical coccidiostats. In conclusion, the delivery strategy of the herbal extracts is easy to implement at farm level, but further studies on dose levels and modes of action are needed.