Prova dell’efficacia antielmintica della pianta di neem e di un complesso omeopatico nelle pecore



Anthelmintic efficacy of neem (Azadirachta indica A. Juss) and the

homeopathic product Fator Vermes1 in Morada Nova sheep

A.C.S. Chagas a,*, L.S. Vieira b, A.R. Freitas a, M.R.A. Arau´jo b, J.A. Arau´jo-Filho b,

W.R. Aragua˜o b, A.M.C. Navarro b

a Embrapa Pecua´ria Sudeste, Rod. Washington Luiz, Km 234, Caixa Postal 339, 13560-970 Sa˜o Carlos, Sa˜o Paulo, Brazil

b Embrapa Caprinos, Estrada Sobral/Groaı´ras, Km 4, 62010-970 Sobral, Ceara´, Brazil

Received 14 June 2007; received in revised form 4 October 2007; accepted 4 October 2007


Gastrointestinal nematodes are becoming increasingly resistant to the commercial products used to control them. The cost of

routine vermifuge applications on herds and the problem of residues in animal products and the environment have prompted

research on the anthelmintic activity of plant extracts. This work examines the anthelmintic action of neem and the homeopathic

product Fator Vermes1 in sheep kept in a pasture for 18 months. Forty sheep of the Morada Nova breed were divided into four

treatments and the control, according to the EPG. During the experiment, each animal received 100 g/day of shredded corn and did

not receive protein supplementation. In treatment 1 (control), the animals received only shredded corn. Treatment 2 received 1.6 g/

(animal day) of the homeopathic product mixed with the shredded corn, and treatments 3, 4 and 5 received, respectively, 12.5, 25.0

and 37.5 g/(animal day) of dried Azadirachta indica leaves mixed with the shredded corn. The neem was administered for

alternating 15-day periods and the homeopathic product daily for 18 months. There were 39 fortnightly fecal collections made to

count the EPG, and fecal cultures were performed monthly. The following genera, in percentage, were identified: Haemonchus:

65.58 _ 3.27, Trichostrongylus: 15.92 _ 7.38 and Oesophagostomum: 18.50 _ 6.22. The treatments evaluated were not effective in

controlling gastrointestinal nematodes (P > 0.05), whose mean log10 counts (EPG +1) and standard errors for treatments 1–5 were

respectively 3.55 _ 0.28; 3.48 _ 0.31; 3.90 _ 0.29; 2.78 _ 0.29 and 3.48 _ 0.30. A significant effect (P < 0.0001) was observed

of the periods of the year when the 39 collections occurred. Because of the diet deficient in raw protein, the sheep had higher average

EPG counts, for all the treatments, at the end of the dry season, and the opposite occurred in the middle of the rainy season.

# 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Gastrointestinal nematode; Haemonchus contortus; Phytotherapy; Homeopathy; Sheep


1. Introduction

Gastrointestinal nematodes are considered the main

impediment to the raising of small ruminants in Brazil.

Epidemiological studies in various regions of the

country have shown that Haemonchus contortus is

the predominant species in the parasite populations in

these animals (Arosemena et al., 1999; Amarante et al.,

2004; Ramos et al., 2004). Although the development of

parasite resistance is widely known (Ramos et al., 2002;

Melo et al., 2003; Mattos et al., 2004), the main way of

controlling gastrointestinal endoparasites in sheep herds

continues to be through the use of synthetic anthelmintics.

However, access to drugs is often limited by the

low purchasing power of small producers and even of

communities that survive on raising sheep (Githiori

et al., 2004). Besides the high cost of routine vermifuge

applications on herds, other questions, such as residues

in the animal products and environment, have prompted

studies of the anthelmintic activity of plants and plant

extracts (Vieira et al., 1999).

Phytochemical analyses of plants and controlled

experiments, associated with recent knowledge about

parasite control strategies, can offer new alternatives for

effective and economical control of parasite-borne

diseases (Akhtar et al., 2000). Azadirachta indica

(Meliaceae), whose common name is neem, has been

investigated in the control of gastrointestinal nematodes

of ruminants, but its real efficacy is still not well

clarified scientifically. An aqueous extract of A. indica

seeds was found to have low efficacy against sheep

nematodes (Ahmed et al., 1994), while laboratory

studies showed inhibition of 68.3% of larval hatching of

H. contortus with the use of azadirachtin at 1%obtained

from seeds (Pessoa, 2001). In cattle, the consumption of

dried leaves caused a reduction in the number of eggs

per gram of feces (Pietrosemoli et al., 1999). However,

other studies have not found significant results for the

ethanolic seed extract on sheep artificially infected with

H. contortus and Trichostrongylus colubriformis larvae

(Hordegen et al., 2003) and in sheep treated with dried

leaves, in relation to the control group (Githiori et al.,

2004; Costa et al., 2006).

Despite the sale of homeopathic products for control

of gastrointestinal nematodes, particularly for organic

systems, the efficacy of these products still needs

scientific demonstration in Brazil. Homeopathic products,

if effective, could contribute to better animal

health, as well as providing for animal products free of

chemical residues (Cruz et al., 2006).

To obtain more solid data on the use of phytotherapeutics

and homeopathic remedies in sheep raising, his

study examines the anthelmintic activity of neem and

the homeopathic product Fator Vermes1 in sheep kept

in the pasture for a period of 18 months.


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