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Research comment
Medicinal plants – an underestimated option to treat gastrointestinal diseases in pigs?
  1. Niels Grützner
  1. Institute of Agricultural and Nutritional Sciences, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Halle, Germany
  1. email: degruetz{at}web.de

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For hundreds of years, medicinal plants have been used to treat both people and animals.1,2 They can be used to support the immune system, relieve clinical signs or aid healing. However, the use of medicinal plants is often based on traditional knowledge, and the active components of these plants and the pharmacological basis of their actions are often not well characterised.

Clinical trials are useful to characterise a medicinal plant, demonstrate its efficacy and determine whether it can be used safely, but performing such studies is challenging due to the difficulty in achieving uniform plant preparations.3 Despite these challenges, an increasing number of clinical trials have been performed to assess the potential of medicinal plants to be used in human medicine. However, such studies are currently lacking in veterinary medicine.

Much research is currently focused on finding alternatives to antibiotics in animal production systems. To bring together some of this research, a systematic review was recently conducted to …

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