As the pressure to scrap the use of antibiotics in animal increases, essential oils are seen as a potential replacement.
The antibiotics have been added to poultry feed or water to inhibit diseases and promote growth.
But calls to ban the use of antibiotics in animals grew as it led to “superbugs” that are becoming increasingly resistant to the drug. This is not good because antibiotics are also used to treat humans.
Scientists found out that antibiotics can be replaced with essential oils like oregano, rosemary, cinnamon or chili peppers. The essential oils are produced through distillation and extraction.
There were reports that various independent studies have shown that chickens fed with oregano had a 59 percent lower mortality rate caused by ascites, a common infection in poultry. Additionally, combination of plant extracts from oregano, cinnamon and chili peppers, changed the gene expression of treated chickens, resulting in weight gain as well as protection against an injected intestinal infection.
Rosemary and oregano oils also resulted in the same amount of growth in chickens as the antibiotic avilamycin.
Meanwhile, salmonella cases in chickens are reduced with the use of essential oils and blend of several oils can limit the spread of salmonella among animals.
Essential oils administered in drinking water significantly reduced Salmonella Heidelberg colonization in crops of challenged birds, lowered the feed conversion ratio and increased weight gain compared with control birds.
These findings opened the door for possible drug-resistant alternatives to control poultry diseases, but results of various studies are still inconclusive.