Med. Weter. 73 (12), 751-755, 2017

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Renata Klebaniuk, Edyta Kowalczuk-Vasilev, Maciej Bąkowski, Grzegorz Rocki, Eugeniusz R. Grela, Bożena Kiczorowska, Jan Matras, Justyna Widz, Katarzyna Kępka
Effectiveness of herbal mixtures in beef cattle feeding
The aim of the study was to evaluate the haematological, biochemical and immunological blood parameters of beef cattle fed diets including a herbal mixture. The study was conducted in a herd of Limousin cattle reared under organic conditions. The study material consisted of 16 selected animals divided into 2 groups: control and experimental (8 animals each). Fattening was conducted from about 100 to about 650 kg body weight. The experimental factor was a certified organic mixture of chopped dried herbs: purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea Moench.), garlic (Allium sativum L.), thyme (Thymus vulgaris), caraway (Carum carvi), licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), fed with a concentrate mixture in an amount of 3% total DM. During the study, at body weights of about 250 and 650 kg, blood samples were taken. In whole blood samples, RBC – red blood cell count, Hb – hemoglobin concentration, Ht – hematocrit and white blood cell count (WBC) and their percentage (leukogram) were determined. The biochemical markers in the plasma were determined by colorimetric methods (TG – triacylglycerols, CHOL – total cholesterol, HDL – high density lipoprotein) and by the kinetic method (enzyme activity: ALT- alanine aminotransferase and AST – aspartate aminotransferase). Immunoglobulin IgG, IgA, and IgM concnetrations in the blood plasma of the animals were determined by the immunoenzymatic (ELISA) method. The results were analyzed statistically with Statistica ver. 13 (StatSoft, 2016), and the significance of differences between the mean values of the tested parameter was determined by the Tukey test (P ≤ 0.05 and P ≤ 0.01). The addition of a mixture of herbs to the diet of fattening cattle caused a positive immunostimulatory effect by modulating the leukocyte count and composition of blood and increasing the concentration of G class immunoglobulin. The herbal mixture used in the experiment demonstrated a hypocholesterolemic effect and enhanced the organism’s defence mechanisms. The addition of the herbal mixture did not adversely affect liver functions, as confirmed by the aspartate and alanine aminotransferase activities....
Key words: beef cattle, organic farming, herbs, blood