Yucca schidigera is a medicinal plant native to southwestern United States and northern Mexico which has been used in traditional medicine by Native Americans to treat a variety of ailments. Yucca is one of the richest commercial sources of steroidal saponins and polyphenols such as resveratrol. Yucca is sold commercially as a dietary supplement for humans and animals in the form of a powder, extract, and juice. Some of the beneficial properties of yucca, specific to poultry include:
Antiprotozoal activity. Yucca is as effective as the anti-protozoal drug metronidazole in treating giardiasis and other protozoal diseases in which part of the life cycle occurs in the gastrointestinal tract. The anti-protozoal activity of Yucca is due to the saponins, which act by complexing with cholesterol in protozoal cell membranes, causing damage to the integrity of the membrane, and cell lysis.
There have been numerous studies on the anticoccidial properties related to adding yucca to the diet of chickens. When given as 250 mg/kg of the diet, yucca may influence the immune response of birds challenged with mixed Eimeria oocysts (M Oelschlager et al., 2019). Yucca supplementation helped promote regeneration and reconstitution of the intestinal mucosal layer within the GI tract of infected birds (M Oelschlager et al., 2019).
Ammonia reduction. Yucca can help reduce ammonia concentrations and odor in feces. Adding 100 ppm of yucca to the diet of laying hens, along with removing the manure every other day, helped reduce NH3 generat4ion and emission in laying hen barns (H Chepete et al., 2012).
Anti-arthritic. Yucca is commonly used as a dietary additive in horses, dogs, and humans for the treatment and prevention of arthritis.
Lowering blood cholesterol levels. Dietary yucca extract lowers total and LDL cholesterol levels in hypercholesterolemic humans
Antibacterial. The addition of 20 mg/kg Yucca extract to the diet of laying hens demonstrated positive effects on egg weight and feed efficiency, decreased the serum and yolk cholesterol concentration and reduced the proliferation of Escherichia coli (J Wang et al., 2010).
Nutritional. Yucca may aid in the digestion and absorption of vitamins and minerals in the GI tract.
- Stefanello, C., et al.. "Effects of a proprietary blend of Quillaja and Yucca on growth performance, nutrient digestibility, and intestinal measurements of broiler" Journal of Applied Poultry Research 31.2 (2022)
- Bafundo, K. W., et al. "Concurrent use of saponins and live coccidiosis vaccines: the influence of a quillaja and yucca combination on anticoccidial effects and performance results of coccidia-vaccinated broilers" results of coccidia-vaccinated broilers." (2021)
- Bafundo, K. W., et al. "The effects of a quillaja and yucca combination on performance and carcass traits of coccidia-vaccinated broilers exposed to an enteric disease challenge" Poultry Science 100.10 (2021)
- Alghirani, Mohamed M., et al. "Can Yucca schidigera Be Used to Enhance the Growth Performance, Nutrient Digestibility, Gut Histomorphology, Cecal Microflora, Carcass Characteristic, and Meat Quality of Commercial Broilers Raised under Tropical Conditions?" Animals 11.8 (2021)
- Bafundo, Kenneth W., Klaus Männer, and I. Duerr. "The combination of quillaja and yucca saponins in broilers: effects on performance, nutrient digestibility and ileal morphometrics" British Poultry Science 62.4 (2021)
- Galli, Gabriela M., et al. "Effects of curcumin and yucca extract addition in feed of broilers on microorganism control (anticoccidial and antibacterial), health, performance and meat quality" Research in Veterinary Science 132 (2020)
- Sun, Dengsheng, et al. "Effects of Yucca schidigera extract on growth performance and antioxidative function of small intestine in broilers" Journal of animal physiology and animal nutrition 103.3 (2019)
- Oelschlager, M. L., et al. "Effects of Yucca schidigera-derived saponin supplementation during a mixed Eimeria challenge in broilers" Poultry science 98.8 (2019)
- Ayoub, Mousa M., et al. "Effects of liquid yucca supplementation on nitrogen excretion, intestinal bacteria, biochemical and performance parameters in broilers" Animals 9.12 (2019)
- Saeed, Muhammad, et al.. "Yucca schidigera can mitigate ammonia emissions from manure and promote poultry health and production" Environmental Science and Pollution Research 25.35 (2018)
- Alagawany, M., et al.. "Dietary supplementation of Yucca schidigera extract enhances productive and reproductive performances, blood profile, immune function, and antioxidant status in laying Japanese quails exposed to lead in the die" Poultry science 97.9 (2018)
- Sun, Deng-sheng, et al. "Improved performance and immunological responses as a result of dietary Yucca schidigera extract supplementation in broilers" Italian Journal of Animal Science 17.2 (2018)
- Sun, Dengsheng, et al. "Dietary Yucca schidigera extract improved growth performance and liver antioxidative function in broilers" Italian Journal of Animal Science 16.4 (2017)
- Su, Jun-Ling, et al. "Effects of yucca extract on feed efficiency, immune and antioxidative functions in broilers" Brazilian Archives of Biology and Technology 59 (2016)
- Alagawany, Mahmoud, et al.. "Productive performance, egg quality, blood constituents, immune functions, and antioxidant parameters in laying hens fed diets with different levels of Yucca schidigera extract" Environmental Science and Pollution Research 23.7 (2016)
- Sahoo, Sarada Prasanna, et al. ""Evaluation of Yucca schidigera extract as feed additive on performance of broiler chicks in winter season" Veterinary World 8.4 (2015)
- Gurbuz, Emel, et al.. "Use of yeast cell walls and Yucca schidigera extract in layer hens’ diets" Italian Journal of Animal Science 10.2 (2011)
- Wang, J. P., and I. H. Kim.. ""Effect of caprylic acid and Yucca schidigera extract on production performance, egg quality, blood characteristics, and excreta microflora in laying hens" British poultry science 52.6 (2011)
- Alfaro, D. M., et al.. "Use of Yucca schidigera extract in broiler diets and its effects on performance results obtained with different coccidiosis control methods" Journal of Applied Poultry Research 16.2 (2007)
- Cheeke, P. R., S. Piacente, and W. Oleszek. "Anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic effects of Yucca schidigera: a review" Journal of inflammation 3.1 (2006)
- Nazeer, Muhammad Sajid, et al. "Effect of Yucca saponin on urease activity and development of ascites in broiler chicken" Int. J. Poult. Sci (2002)
- Katsunuma, Yu, et al. "Effect of Yucca shidigera extract and saponins on growth of bacteria isolated from animal intestinal tract" Nihon Chikusan Gakkaiho 71.2 (2000)