Herbs and Herbal Supplements, a Novel Nutritional Approach in Animal Nutrition

Document Type: Review Article


Department of Food Science and Nutrition, Sultan Qaboos University, Al-Koud, Sultanate, Oman


Livestock are an integral part of the agriculture sector and encompass a great impact on the national economy. An eco-friendly alternative to enhance production, prevent and treat disease conditions of animal is a great challenge for animal nutritionists. Keeping farm animals healthy is necessary to obtain healthy animal products. The use of naturally occurring compounds like herbs, herbal preparations and other botanicals are preferred over chemical compounds for enhancement of overall animal health and to satisfy consumer concerns as well. As herbal feed additives may be used drug (finely divided dry medicinal herbal raw materials), herbal extracts or herbal isolate (e.g. essential oil). Herbal drug is a whole or cut up, dry (occasionally raw) part of a plant, algae, fungi or lichen which is used for its medicinal properties. Herbs enhance and add flavors in animal feed and can therefore influence eating patterns, secretion of digestive fluids and total feed intake. The primary site of activity is the digestive tract. Due to the wide variety of active components, different herbs and spices affect digestion processes differently. Herbs, spices and their mixtures are also recognized as anti-inflammatory agents, and also act as antioxidants. Several in-vitro experiments have proved certain plant extract exhibit strong antimicrobial activity against Gram− and Gram+ bacteria. Herbs and their preparation have an affirmative impact on feed intake, growth, meat, milkand egg production. They also have known to enhance the quality and stability of animal products.


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