Veterinary Research Communications

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 169–180 | Cite as

Herbal plants and their derivatives as growth and health promoters in animal nutrition

  • Seyed Reza Hashemi
  • Homa DavoodiEmail author
Review Article


The purpose of this review is to summarize the effectiveness, modes of action and commercial application of herbal plants and their derivatives as growth promoters for animal. Feed supplements are a group of feed ingredients that can cause a desired animal response in a non-nutrient role such as pH shift, growth, or metabolic modifier (Hutjens, 1991). Common feed additives used in animal diets include immunostimulators, antimicrobials, antioxidants, pH control agents and enzymes. Herbal plants, are a new class of growth promoters and in recent years this feed additives have gained extensive attention in the feed industry. They are a wide variety of herbs, spices, and products derived thereof, and are mainly essential oils. Although numerous reports have demonstrated antioxidative and antimicrobial and immune stimulation efficacy in vitro, respective experimental in vivo evidence is still quite limited. A limited number of experimental comparisons of herbal plants feed additives with antibiotics or organic acid have suggested similar effects on the animal gut microflora. Gut microflora has significant effects on host nutrition, health, and growth performance by interacting with nutrient utilization and the development of gut system of the host. In addition, some phytogenic compounds seem to promote intestinal mucus production. However, the future of using herbs in animal feeding will in great measure depend on the knowledge of chemical structure, their value and characteristics of practical herbs or their extract physiological needs and well-being of animal, and, above all on consumer’s preferences and expectations.


Antimicrobial Feed additive Phytogenic Herbal plant Poultry 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Animal ScienceGorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural ResourcesGorganIran
  2. 2.Department of MicrobiologyGolestan University of Medical SciencesGolestanIran

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