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Poult Sci. 1997 Aug;76(8):1156-63.

Effects of components of Artemisia annua on coccidia infections in chickens.

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USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville, Maryland 20705, USA.


Four experiments were run to test the anticoccidial activity of dried Artemisia annua leaves and several of their chemical constituents for possible use as prophylactic feed additives. When fed over a period of 3 wk at a level of 5%, a dried leaf supplement of A. annua provided significant protection against lesions due to Eimeria tenella but not Eimeria acervulina or Eimeria maxima. When fed over a period of 5 wk at a level of 1% to chicks undergoing immunization with a live vaccine, it provided significant protection in partially immunized chicks against E. acervulina and E. tenella lesions from a dual species challenge infection. It also afforded lower mean lesion scores in challenged chicks immunized over a period of 5 wk. Artemisinin, an antimalarial component of A. annua, was present at a level of 0.034% in the dried leaf preparation. A 5% supplement thus afforded about 17 ppm artemisin. When the pure compound was fed at that level for a period of 3 wk, it protected weight gains and significantly reduced lesion scores attributable to E. tenella but not E. acervulina. Other components of A. annua, camphor and 1,8-cineole, at 119 ppm also protected weight gains, and reduced E. tenella lesion scores. Camphor reduced E. acervulina lesions. Artemisinin fed for 4 wk at levels of 2, 8.5, and 17 ppm significantly reduced oocyst output from separate E. acervulina and E. tenella infections and a dual species infection. Pure artemisinin thus appears to be effective against at least two coccidia species when used as a feed additive, and its activity may depend, in part, on the length of time it is administered before a challenge infection.

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