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Uttar Pradesh vets prescribe herbs over antibiotics for animals with diarrhoea

The IVRI experts asked the farmer to cut down on the antibiotic dosage and start administering Ajwain (Ajwain Caraway) to the calves. Much to the man’s surprise, the calves were cured.

lucknow Updated: Dec 17, 2017 07:20 IST
Chandan Kumar
Chandan Kumar
Hindustan Times, Bareilly
Uttar Pradesh,Vets,Antibiotics
The team collected 199 diarrhoea-causing bacterial strains from different sources. The samples were tested in batches with 25 conventional antibiotics and eight herbal medicinal oils. (EPA)

Last year, the owner of a local animal farm had approached the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), Bareilly, for help. Some of the calves at his farm had contacted diarrhoea and were not recovering despite prescribed doses of antibiotics.

The IVRI experts asked the farmer to cut down on the antibiotic dosage and start administering ajwain (Ajwain Caraway) to the calves. Much to the man’s surprise, the calves recovered soon after.

Administering ajwain, a common kitchen remedy, was made by Dr BR Singh, principal scientist (bacteriologist) and head of the epidemiology department at IVRI.

Singh and his team had researched and found several herbal medicinal oils to be effective in combating an array of bacteria.

Their findings are especially heartening in cases where bacterial strains are known to have developed a degree of resistance towards antibiotics.

“The research was aimed at looking for alternative medicines to curb the growth of bacterium rather than relying only on antibiotics,” Singh said.

His team focused on bacteria which cause the most common health disorder that can quickly turn fatal if not treated properly — diarrhoea.

“Diarrhoea is a leading causing of deaths in animal calves. This affects the income of farmers,” said Singh.

According to the research published by IVRI in its annual report, the team collected a total of 199 diarrhoea-causing bacterial strains from different sources. The samples were tested in batches with 25 conventional antibiotics and eight herbal medicinal oils.

“60% of the strains were found resistant towards conventional antibiotics including imipenem, gentamicin and colistin. However, medicinal oils hampered the growth of almost all the strains to varied levels.” Singh said.

He said the most effective was Ajwain essential oil (AEO), extracted from Ajwain, which hindered the growth of almost all the strains, followed by cinnamon essential oil (from cinnamon), which was effective against 96% of the strains. This was followed by the oil of the holy basil (tulsi), which was found to be effective in 92.5% cases. Thyme essential oil (effective in 87.1%), zanthoxylum ricata oil (27.1%) patchauli essential oil (6.6%) were also tested in the study.

In the absence of any established research procedures, the team used one ml of every essential oil. The team has now proposed a dedicated study regarding the amount of essential oils that can be administered to animals to cure ailments without any marked side effects.

“For every medicine we fix the amount that can be used without inducing toxicity to the animal. But due to lack of research, this data is not available for herbal oils. We have now proposed a dedicated research regarding this,” Singh said.

Meanwhile, IVRI experts suggest a ‘phanki’ (5-10 gm) of Ajwain to be administered twice a day to animals suffering from chronic diarrhoea. This dose can be given to the sick animals along with their usual medicines.

First Published: Dec 17, 2017 07:20 IST