Antibiotic resistance is an increasing problem in the field of Veterinary medicine. It causes problems with the treatment of various diseases that affect small animals as well as ruminants and other livestock. With the excessive use of antibiotics, sometimes even unprescribed, the threat is real. Certain pathogenic organisms have developed resistance to antibiotics over the years, and this means that one day, some diseases can no longer be treated with antibiotics because they have lost their effects against the microbes.

What are alternative options for antibiotics?

Before pharmaceuticals even started producing medicine, there were natural remedies for specific diseases even for animals. People from rural areas where herbs and weeds are abundant have been taught by their ancestors as to what to do in certain conditions. For example, for wounds, local farmers who have access to the devil weed (Chromolaena odorata) used the leaves to help the wound heal faster as well as to disinfect it. They use it for themselves as well as animals. Studies have been conducted as to the antiseptic effects of the plant, and it has been proven to be useful for wound healing. With this, more and more studies aimed at studying herbal plants used by people from different cultures and countries as a treatment for various conditions have been started.

Some even aiming to identify plants with #antibiotic effects against certain microorganisms. Although there have been some plants that have already been proven to have antibiotic effects like the guava (Psidium gujava), more plants need to be studies that can be used as an oral medication or even as a disinfectant.

Where could this lead?

If the studies produce an effective #herbal alternative to antibiotics, it could delay the growing antibiotic resistance. Furthermore, it can help local farmers with the treatment of certain diseases especially those who do not have access to veterinary health care. Herbal medicine should be considerably cheaper if unprocessed and if the herbs or weeds are readily available making it a cheaper and safer alternative.

Being a natural remedy, it would also mean that the animal can process the active ingredients with ease. It would be beneficial to the liver since it is not heavy on synthetic chemicals that can be a problem especially with animals suffering a debilitating disease. Often, plants are easier to detoxify from the system because they are made of natural substances that the body can quickly discard.