Plantain (Plantago spp
) are a genus of perennial flowering plants, many of which are considered to be common weeds in many areas. Plantains belong to the Plantaginaceae
family and is native to eastern Asia. Plantain has traditionally been used as a medicinal herb for treatment of many diseases, including liver disease, urinary tract inflammation, digestive aid, upper respiratory support, and topically as a poultice for minor cuts, bruises, site-specific contact dermatitis, and stings. In relation to poultry, plantain has proven to have the following benefits:
- High Nutritional Value: Plantain leaves are edible and contain high amounts of vitamins A and C and is also a rich source of calcium.
- Anticoccidial: Plantain has showed promise as an effective means of controlling invasion by Eimeria tenella, the organism responsible for causing coccidiosis in chickens. A 2016 study revealed that treating 3-day old chickens with 0.1% plantain extract one week prior to exposure to infection with E. tenella had remarkable anticoccidial effects. The positive effects of plantain were assessed by conducting fecal cultures to confirm the number of fecal oocysts shedding, and body weight gain of the birds.
- Immune System: Research conducted on mice found that plantain seeds helped to enhance the immune function of immunosuppressant mice.