Herbs have many different curative properties and lie at the heart of mainstream pharmacology.
In-vitro research has indicated that medicinal plants can have a range of efficacious effects on human health thanks to, amongst others, their antimicrobial, antiviral, spasmolytic, anti-inflammatory, immune-stimulatory, analgesic, anti-carcinogenic, antacid, and lipolytic action.
What herbs do for animal health is less well-known as they are used primarily as feed supplements or aroma additives.
Promising avenue of research
Today, animal feed systems are under heavy social pressure to dramatically reduce the use of antibiotics, so manufacturers are searching for alternative remedies to combat obdurate animal diseases. Herbal extracts (phytotherapy) may prove one of the most promising avenues of research.
Wageningen Food Safety Research is working with partners inside and outside Wageningen UR to find scientific evidence for the efficacy of herbal remedies in animal feed so that they can play a role in regular animal healthcare.
Wageningen Food Safety Research has published booklets for pig, poultry, dairy cattle, and veal calf breeders which contain guidelines on how natural remedies can be used to enhance animal health and prevent disease. These booklets also inform vets of the potential of natural products and explain the scientific evidence.
The booklets say which remedies to apply for each ailment in order to keep an animal healthy or support recovery.