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Table 2 Non-experimental validation of plants used for parasite control in poultry and rabbits in British Columbia

From: Organic parasite control for poultry and rabbits in British Columbia, Canada

Medicinal plant Validation information Reference
Acer macrophyllum Big-leaf maple leaves were used as bedding for poultry & rabbits, but not specifically to control parasites in the litter. The fallen, dried leaves were raked up in the autumn, and were then stored for use over the year. The leaf litter has more Ca, K, Mg, molybdenum (Mo), and zinc (Zn) than other trees. The litter decomposes quickly and has a high pH. The leaves contain tannins. [28, 29]
Ascophyllum nodosum Norwegian sea kelp (Ascophyllum nodosum) was used as a starter ration for chicks that prevented disease. This species, given as a supplement (2% DM) for two weeks prior to slaughter to feedlot steers and heifers (Bos indicus x Bos taurus) decreased the prevalence of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli and it may prevent increases in Salmonella species. Supplementation of Ascophyllum nodosum to a diet of fescue hay enhanced immune function in lambs and protected against prolonged heat-induced oxidative stress. The vitamin content of Ascophyllum nodosum is highest in September and February at 500 mg/kg dry matter. The plant has summer antimicrobial activity but none in spring or winter. Maximal calorific values occur in July in the period of maximum growth. [3032]
Arctium lappa Common burdock whole plant was used for endoparasites in poultry. Traditionally seeds were used to purify the blood. Seeds contain chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, cynarin, lappaol C, arctiin, arctignan E, matareisinol, lappaol A and F and Arctigenin. Arctigenin is a lignan with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. Roots and leaves contain chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, cynarin, quercitrin, arctiin, quercetin and luteolin. [3335]
Artemisia vulgaris Mugwort whole plant was used to treat endoparasites in poultry. 300 mg/kg doses of methanol extracts of the aerial parts of A. vulgaris and A. absinthium were found to reduce the larval form of Trichinella spiralis in rats. Artemisia scoparia flowers and Artemisia pallens essential oil have shown anthelmintic activity. This use is traditional and was part of a compound remedy used to rid the human body of Taenia with Senna, Spigelia marilandica or Artemisia santonica together with pumpkin seeds and slippery elm bark. [3638]
Chenopodium album and Chenopodium ambrosioides Lamb's quarters and epazote whole plants were used for endoparasites in poultry. Chenopodium album possesses anthelmintic activity in vitro and in vivo against mature Haemonchus contortus and its eggs and was slightly less effective than Levamisole. The traditional infusion of Chenopodium ambrosioides used as a vermifuge is safer than using the herb's essential oil. [39, 40]
Cirsium arvense Wild Canada thistle whole plant was used for endoparasites in poultry. This plant contains lignin, callose and silicon. Taraxasterol has moderate anti-inflammatory activity. Tricin-5-0-glucoside, Quercetin-3-O-rhamnoglucoside, Quercetin-3-O-digalactoside, cirsimaritin, pectolinaringen are also found. Some of these compounds have antimicrobial activity [4145]
Echinacea purpurea An Echinacea product (containing Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench 20,000 mg/40 grams) was added to chicks' feed, or, alternatively, Echinacea leaves were chopped and fed to chicks. Echinacea enhances immune function in rats by increasing antigen-specific immunoglobulin production. Streptococcus pyogenes, Hemophilus influenzae and Legionella pneumophila were inactivated by Echinacea. Echinacea aerial and root ethanol extract also reversed the pro-inflammatory responses of Staphylococcus aureus (methicillin-resistant and sensitive strains) and Mycobacterium smegmatis but had a lesser bactericidal effect. [46, 47]
Fucus vesiculosus Kelp meal was added to the chicks' feed bins every two weeks: 2 cups (about 500 ml) for 300 young birds. Soluble fractions of the marine alga Fucus vesiculosus (42.3% yield) are composed of neutral sugars (18.9-48 g/100 g), uronic acids (8.8-52.8 g/100 g), sulfate (2.4-11.5 g/100 g), small amounts of protein (< 1-6.1 g/100 g), and nondialyzable polyphenols (0.1-2.7 g/100 g). The main neutral sugars were fucose, glucose, galactose, and xylose. Sulfated polysaccharides may be natural antioxidants. [48]
Galium aparine Cleavers fresh or dried leaves and stems were used for diarrhoea in poultry. This plant has traditionally been used for stomach conditions in North America. The insect antifeedant anthraquinone aldehyde nordamnacanthal (1,3-dihydroxy-anthraquinone-2-al) is found in Galium aparine. [35, 49, 50]
Juniperus sp. (Dermanyssus gallinae) red bird mites in poultry were prevented with cedar shavings in the bedding. The antimycobacterial activity of Juniperus communis roots and aerial parts was attributed to a sesquiterpene (longifolene) and two diterpenes (totarol and trans-communic acid). Trans-communic acid was not a stable compound in this experiment. Juniper leaf essential oil had some effectiveness against Dermanyssus gallinae at 0.14 mg oil/cm(3). [51, 52]
Mentha piperita Peppermint whole plant was used against endoparasites in poultry. Peppermint oil has larvicidal activity against Aedes aegypti, Anopheles stephensi and Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes. Methanolic, dichloromethane and hexanic extracts of Mentha × piperita had activity against Giardia lamblia but an infusion did not. [5355]
Nicotiana rustica A handful of the chopped stems, seed pods and leaves of wild tobacco (Nicotiana rustica L.) (grown on the farm) was added to the bedding in nest boxes to reduce external parasites. Wild tobacco (handful of crumbled dry leaves or decoction) was used for endoparasites in poultry; the chopped dried stems were used for red bird mites. Anthelmintic activity was found in Nicotiana tabacum. Nicotine was used as an insecticide in the past. [56]
Papaver somniferum Farmers in our study used leaves and plants of opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) to treat diarrhoea in their poultry. This implies using the side effects of pain treatment with opioids: hard dry stools and increased gastroesophageal reflux. Activation of mu-opioid receptors by opoids in the gastrointestinal tract is responsible for inhibition of gut motility. [57]
Rubus spectabilis Salmonberry whole plant is eaten by poultry and said to control endoparasites. This is possibly based on traditional knowledge since Rubus trivialis was given for scours in sheep and Rubus strigosus infusion was recommended for diarrhoea. Rubus species berries contain bioactive flavonoids, including anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins that promote health. [35, 58, 59]
Symphytum officinale Comfrey fed fresh or dried leaves were used for diarrhoea and endoparasites in poultry. The plant is mucilaginous and high in protein. Self-medicating birds apparently did not ingest enough pyrrolizidine alkaloids to be harmed and the content of these alkaloids varies from plant to plant. [60, 61]
Taraxacum officinale Common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) was used by the participants in our study to treat endoparasites in poultry, and as food for both poultry and rabbits. Taraxacum officinale pre-treatment (aqueous decoction of dried herb - 10 mg/kg) can reduce the severity of cholecystokinin (CCK)-octapeptide-induced pancreatitis in rats. This plant use is traditional. Many studies conducted on dandelion extracts or its constituents (polyphenolics and sesquiterpenes) from the leaves or roots have shown anti-inflammatory and other activities. [6264]
Thuja plicata Western red-cedar shavings were used to protect poultry against red bird mites. Thuja occidentalis was tested and found to have some effectiveness against the poultry red mite Dermanyssus gallinae. [65]
Thuja plicata Methanol extracts of western red cedar (commonly used for animal bedding) were tested for antimicrobial activity against anaerobic bacteria and yeast. The test microbes included Fusobacterium necrophorum, Clostridium perfringens, Actinomyces bovis and Candida albicans which are found in foot diseases and other infections in animals; the results were not significant. Beta-thujaplicin is a tropolone-related compound purified from the wood of Thuja plicata. All Staphylococcus aureus isolates were inhibited by beta-thujaplicin with MICs of 1.56-3.13 mg/L. However, a paradoxical zone phenomenon occurred, with each isolate producing regrowth at higher beta-thujaplicin concentrations. [66, 67]
Ulmus fulva Slippery elm bark powder is put in the feed for the first two weeks for disease prevention chicks. This use is traditional. [35, 68]
Urtica dioica Urtica dioica was used for endoparasites in poultry in our study. A leaf infusion of Urtica dioica L. (2.5 g dry plant leaves infused in 1 L boiled water) protected rats that were given the chemical carcinogen trichloroacetic acid. [69]