Effects of Commercial Herbal and Chemical Medicines on Performance, GI Microbial Population, Intestinal Morphology and Serum Lipids of Broiler Chickens Challenged with Infectious Bronchitis Vaccine Virus


The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of commercial herbal and chemical medicines on growth performance, serum lipids, intestinal selected bacterial population and intestinal morphology of broiler chickens. In this study, 450 day-old female broiler chickens (Arian strain) were divided into 10 treatments with three replicates of 15 chicks per replicate. On day 14 of the experiment, birds in following treatments: 1) Anzofin®; 2) Antibiofin®; 3) Immunofin®;  4)Broncofin® ; 5) Zagrol®; 6) Mentofin®; 7) Enrofloxacin®;8) Bromhexin®; and 9) positive control received IB–4/91vaccine 5 times greater than the standard dose, but chickens in 10) negative control (NC) group was vaccinated with standard dose of IB vaccine. The birds in treatments 1 to 6 received herbal medicines in drinking water from days 15 to 48. Chickens in treatments 7 and 8 received Enrofloxacin® and Bromhexin®, from days 15 to 19 in drinking water. The highest feed intake, body weight, and body weight gain were observed in Bromhexin® treatment. The lowest body weight, body weight gain and highest FCR were observed in Zagrol® treatment. Immunofin® had the lowest FCR among all treatments. The highest and lowest European Production Efficiency Factor was observed in Immunofin® and Positive control group, respectively (P>0.05). Bacterial population in GI tract was reduced in Mentofin® treatment. Bromhexin® insignificantly improved villi height of duodenum, jejunum and ileum. The highest crypt depth in duodenum, jejunum and ileum was observed in Zagrol® treatment.


1. Abbas TE, Ahmed ME. The use of black cumin in poultry diets. J Word Poult Sci. 2010;66:519-523.

2. Windisch W, Schedle K, Plitzner C, Kroismayr A. Use of phytogenic products as feed additives for swine and poultry. J Anim Sci. 2008;86:140-148.

3. Brennan J, Skinner J, Barnum DA, Wilson J. The efficacy of bacitracin methylene disalicylate when fed in combination with narasin in the management of necrotic enteritis in broiler chickens. Poult Sci. 2003;82:360–363 

4. George BA, Quarles CL, Fagerberg DJ. Virginiamycin effects on controlling necrotic enteritis infections in chickens. Poult Sci. 1982;61:447–450.

5. Snyder DL, Wostmann BS. Growth rate of male germfree Wistar rats fed ad libitum or restricted natural ingredient diet. Lab Anim Sci. 1987;37:320–325.

6. Feighner SD, Dashkevicz MP. Sub-therapeutic levels of antibiotics in poultry feeds and their effects on weight gain, feed efficiency, and bacterial cholyltaurine hydrolase activity. Appl Environ Microbiol. 1987;53:331–336.

7. Knarreborg A, Lauridsen C, Engberg RM, Jensen SK. Dietary antibiotic growth promoters enhance the bioavailability of alpha-tocopheryl acetate in broilers by altering lipid absorption. J Nutr. 2004;134:1487–1492.

8. Hashemi SR, Davoodi H. Herbal plants and their derivatives as growth and health promoters in animal nutrition. Vet Res Commun. 2010;35:169–180.

9. Endtz HP, Mouton RP, Van der Reyden T, Ruijs GJ, Biever M, Van Klingeren B. Fluoroquinolone resistance in Campylobacter spp. isolated from human stools and poultry products. Lancet 1990; 335: 787.

10. McEwen A, Fedorka-Cray PJ. Antimicrobial use and resistance in animals. Clin Infect Dis. 2002;34:93–106.

11. Franz C, Baser KHC, Windisch W. Essential oils and aromatic plants in animal feeding – a European perspective. A review. Flavour Fragr J. 2010;25:327–340.

12. Wang R, Li D, Bourne S. Can 2000 years of herbal medicine history help us solve problems in the year 2000? Biotechnology in the Feed Industry: Proceedings of Alltech`s 14th Annual Symposium, Kentucky, USA. 1998, pp. 273-291.

13. Hiraoka T, Fukuwatari T, Imaizumi M, Fushiki T. Effects of oral stimulation with fats on the cephalic phase of pancreatic enzyme secretion in esophagostomized rats. Physiol Behav. 2003;79:713–717.

14. Laugerette F, Passilly-Degrace P, Patris B, Niot I, Febbraio M, Montmayeur JP, Besnard P. CD36 involvement in orosensory detection of dietary lipids, spontaneous fat preference, and digestive secretions.  J Clin Invest. 2005;115:3177–3184.

15. Jang IS, Ko HY, Ha JS, Kim JY, Kang SY, Yoo DH, Nam DS, Kim DH, Lee CY. Influence of essential oil components on growth performance and the functional activity of the pancreas and small intestine in broiler chickens. Asian Aust J Anim Sci. 2004;17:394–400.

16. Cowan MM. Plant products as antimicrobial agents. Clin Microbiol Rev. 1999;12:564–582.

17. Brenes A, Roura E. Essential oils in poultry nutrition: Main effects and modes of action. Anim Feed Sci. Technol. 2010;158:1–14.

18. Roth FX, Kirchgessner M. Organic acids as feed additives for young pigs: Nutritional and gastrointestinal effects. J Anim Feed Sci. 1998;8:25–33.

19. Srinivasan K. Spices as influencers of body metabolism: an overview of three decades of research. Food Res Int. 2004;38:77–86.

20. Botsoglou NA, Florou-Paneri P, Christaki E, Fletouris DJ, Spais AB. Effect of dietary organ essential oil on performance of chickens and on iron-induced lipid oxidation of breast, thigh and abdominal fat tissues. Br Poult Sci. 2002a;43:223–230.

21. Kempaiah RK, Srinivasan K. Integrity of erythrocytes of hypercholesterelomic rats during spices treatment. Mol Cell Biochem. 2002;236:155–161.

22. Platel K, Srinivasan K. Digestive stimulant action of spices: A myth or reality? Indian J Med Res. 2004;119:167–179.

23. Bakkali F, Averbeck S, Averbeck D, Idaomar M. Biological effects of essential oils – A review. Food Chem Toxicol. 2008;46:446–475.

24. Barbour E, El-Hakim, RG, Kaadi M S, Shaib HA, Gerges DD, Nehme PA. Evaluation of histopathology of the respiratory system in essential oil-treated broilers following a challenge with Mycoplasma gallisepticum and. or H9N2 influenza virus. Int J Appl Res Vet Med. 2006;4:293-300.

25. Khosravinia H, Salehnia A, Rafiei Alavi E. Toxicity and safety assessment of Satureja khuzistanica essential oils when administrated into drinking water to broiler chicks up to 28 days of age. khosravi_fafa@yahoo.com.

26. National Research Council. Nutrient Requirements of Poultry.9th. Rev Ed Natl Acad Press, Washington, DC. 1994.

27. Awad W, Ghareeb K, Böhm J. Intestinal structure and function of broiler chickens on diets supplemented with a synbiotic containing enterococcus faeciumand oligosaccharides. Int J Mol Sci. 2008;9:2205-2216.

28. Witkamp M. Microbial populations of leaf litter in relation to environmental conditions and decomposition. Ecol Soc Am. 1963;44:370-377.

29. Iji PA, Saki AA, Tivey DR. Intestinal development and body growth of broiler chicks on diets supplemented with non-starch polysaccharides. Anim Feed Sci Technol. 2001;89:175-188.

30. SAS Inst. SAS User’s Guide. Version 9.1 Ed, SAS Inst., Cary, NC. 2003.

31. Nasir Z, Grashorn M A. Use of Black cumin (Nigella sativa) as alternative to antibiotics in poultry diets. In: Rodehutscord M. (Eds). Proceedings of 9th TagungSchweine-und Geflügelernährung., Halle, Saale Germany, 2006, pp. 210-213.

32. Nasir Z, Grashorn MA. Echinacea: A potential feed and water additive in poultry and swine production. Arch Geflügelk. 2009;73:227-236.

33. Liu C, Zeng JG, Chen B, Yao SZ. Investigation of phenolic constituents in Echinacea purpurea grown in China. Planta Med. 2007;73:1600-1605.

34. Zhai Z, Yi L, Wu L, Senchina DS, Wurtele ES, Murphy PA, Kohut M L, Cunnik JE. Enhancement of innate and adaptive immune functions by multiple Echinacea species. J Med Food. 2007;10:423-434.

35. Hevener W, Routh PA, Almond GW. Effects of immune challenge on concentrations of serum insulin_like growth factor-1 and growth performance in pigs. Can Vet J. 1999;40:782-786.

36. World Health Organization. Monographson Selected Medicinal Plants. Geneva. 1999.

37. Klasing KC. Nutritional modulation of resistance to infectious diseases. Poult Sci. 1998;77:1119-1125.

38. Elwinger K, Berndston E, Engs B, Fossum O. Effect of antibiotic growth promoters and anticoccidial on growth of Clostridium perferingens in the ceca and on performance of broiler chickens. Acta Vet Scan. 1998;39:433-441.

39. Penalver P, Huerta B, Borge C, Astrorga R, Romero R, Perea A. Antimicrobial activity of five essential oils against origin strains of the Enterobacteriaceae family. APMIS 2005;113 (1):1-6.

40. Vispo C, Karasov WH. Interaction of avian gut microbes and their host: An exclusive symbiosis. In: Gastrointestinal Microbiology 1. Gastrointestinal Microbes and Host Interactions, (Eds). Mackie RJ, White BA, Issacson RE. Chapman and Hall: New York, USA, 1997, pp. 116-155.

41. Netherwood T; Gilbert HJ; Parker DS; O’Donnell AG. Probiotics shown to change bacterial community structure in the avian gastrointestinal tract. Appl Environ Microbiol. 1999;65:5134-5138.

42. Aparecida da Silva M, Mirelly de Sousa Pessotti B, Freitas Zanini. S,  Luiz Colnago G,  Regina Alves Rodrigues M, de Carvalho Nunes L, Santos Zanini, M,  Vilhena Freire Martins I. Intestinal mucosa structure of broiler chickens infected experimentally with Eimeria tenella and treated with essential oil of oregano. Ciência Rural. 2009: 39:1471-1477.

43. Jang I, Ko YH, Kang SY, Lee CY. Effect of Commercial Essential Oil on Growth Performance, Digestive Enzyme Activity and Intestinal Microflora Population in Broiler Chickens Anim Feed Sci Technol. 2006;134:304-315.

44. Dibner JJ, Richards JD. Antibiotic growth promoters in agriculture: History and mode of action. Poult Sci. 2005;84:634–643.

45. Iscan GN, Kirimer M, Kurkeuglu K, Baser H, Demirci F. Antimicrobial screening of Mentha piperita essential oils. J Agric Food Chem. 2002;50:3943-3946.

46. Mekay DL, Blumberg JB. A review of the bioactivity and potential health benefits of peppermint tea (Mentha piperita L). Phytother Res. 2006;20:619-633.

47. Schuhmacher A, Rrichling J, Schnitzler P. Virucidal effect of peppermint oil on the enveloped viruses, herpes simplex virus type 1 and type 2 in vitro. Phytomedicine 2003;10:504-510.

48. Salari MH, Amine G, Shirazi MH. Antibacterial effects of eucalyptus globules leaf extract on pathogenic bacteria isolated from specimens of patients with respiratory tract disorders. Clin Microbiol Infect. 2006;12:194-196.

49. Lambert RJW, Skandamis PN, Coote P, Nychas GJE. A study of the minimum inhibitory concentration and mode of action of oregano essential oil, thymol and carvacrol. J Appl Microbiol. 2001;91:453–462.

50. Oussalah M, Caillet S, Lacroix M. Mechanism of action of Spanish oregano, Chinese cinnamon, and savory essential oils against cell membranes and walls of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Listeria monocytogenes. J Food Prot. 2006;69:1046–1055.

51. Miron T, Rabinkov A, Mirelman D, Wilckek H, Weiner L. The mode of action of allicin: It's ready permeability through phospholipids membranes may contribute to its biological activity. Biochem Biophys Acta. 2000;1463:20-30.

52. Tschirch H. The Use of Natural Plant Extracts as Production Enhancers in Modern Animal Rearing Practices. Zootechnik, 2000; 376: 25-39. (In Polish).

53. Buddle JR, Bolton J R. The pathophysiology of diarrhoea in pigs. Pigs News Info. 1992;13:41N-45N.

54. Cera KR. Effect of age, weaning and postweaning diet on small intestinal growth and jejunal morphology in young swine. J Anim Sci. 1988;66:574-584.

55. Nabuurs MJA. Microbiological, structural and functional changes of the small intestine of pigs at weaning. Pig News Info. 1995;16:93N-97N.

56. Montagne L, Pluske JR, Hampson DJ. A review of interactions between dietary fiber and the intestinal mucosa, and their consequences on digestive health in young non-ruminant animals. Anim Feed Sci Technol. 2003;108:95–117.

57. Casaschi A, Maiyoh G, Rubio B, Li R, Adeli K, Theriaul, A. The chalconexanthohumol inhibits triglyceride and apolipoprotein B secretion in HepG2 Cell. J Nutr. 2003;134:1340-1346.

58. Wilcox L J, Brradaile NM, de Drean LE, Huff MW. Secretion of hepatocyte apoB is inhibited by the flavonoids, naringenin and hespertin via reduced activity and expression of ACAT2 and MTP. J Lipid Res. 2001;42:725-734.

59. Khovidhunkit W, Kim M, Memon RA, Shigenaga JK, Moser AH, Feinfold K R, Grunfeld C. Thematic review series; the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Effects of infection and inflammation on lipid and lipoprotein metabolism mechanism. J Lipid Res. 2004;45:1169-1196.

60. Platel K, Srinivasan K. Stimulatory influence of select spices on bile secretion in rats. Nutr Res. 2000a;20:1493–1503.

61. De Rodas BZ, Gilliand SE, Maxwell CV. Hypocholesterolemic action of Lactobacillus acidophilus AT CC 43121 and calcium in swine with hypercholesterolemia induced by diet. J Dairy Sci. 1996;79:2121-2128.