Document Type : Original Article


Department of Animal Science, Qaemshahr Branch, Islamic Azad University, Qaemshahr, Iran


Objective: A research was carried out to investigate the effects of nettle (Urtica dioica) powder (NP) and essential oil (NE) on performance, blood metabolites, carcass characteristics and antioxidant stability in broiler chicks. Methods: The treatments were T1: control diet, T2: control diet + 5g/kg NP, T3: control diet + 10 g/kg NP, T4: control diet + 5g/kg NE and T5: control diet + 10 g/kg NE. Blood sampling was performed at 35 days of age to evaluate the blood hepatic enzymes and biochemical parameters. At the end of experiment carcass characteristics were determined. The thigh meat samples were used to evaluate meat oxidative stability. Results: There were no significant differences in broiler performance among the treatments. In contrast, some of the carcass internal organs such as liver, bile sac, gizzard, proventriculus, and lungs weight were affected by the different level of NP and NE (p<0.05). The results of blood metabolites indicated that use of NP and NE decreased AST (IU/L) in birds (P<0.05). However, blood parameters such as ALP, ALT, glucose, cholesterol and triglyceride were not affected by dietary treatments. Thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS), as an indicator for meat lipid oxidation after storage, were not influenced by adding NP and NE in broiler diets. This study concluded that inclusion of 10g/kg nettle (Urtica dioica) essential oil in diet probably can induce a potential toward improve internal organs. However, broilers performance did not altered by dietary nettle supplementation.


Alcicek, A., Bozkurt, M. and Cabuk, M. (2004). The effect of a mixture of herbal essential oils, an organic acid or a probiotic on broiler performance. South African Journal of Animal Science. 34, 217-222.
Bedford, M. (2000). Removal of antibiotic growth promoters from poultry diets: implications and strategies to minimize subsequent problems. World Poultry Science Journal. 56, 347–365.
Botsoglou, N.A., Florou-Paner, P., Christaki, E., Fletouris, D.J. and Spais, A.B. (2002). Effect of dietary oregano essential oil on performance of chickens and on iron induced lipid oxidation of breast, thigh and abdominal fat
tissues. British Poultry Science. 43, 223-230.
Chaurasia, N. and Wichtl, M. (1987). Flavonol glycosides aus Urtica Diocia. Planta Medical. 53, 432-434.
Choi, I.H., Park, W.Y. and Kim, Y.J. (2010). Effects of dietary garlic powder and α-tocopherol supplementation on performance, serum cholesterol levels, and meat quality of chicken. Poultry Science. 89,1724–1731.
Daba, M.H. and Abdel-Rahman, M.S. (1998). Hepatoprotective activity of thymoquinone in isolated rat hepatocyte. Toxicology Letters. 95, 23-29.
EL-Ashmawy, I.M., EL-Nahas, A.F. and Salama, O.M. (2005). Protective effect of volatile oil, alcoholic and aqueous extract of Origanum majorana on lead acetate toxicity in mice. B Clininical Pharmacutical Toxicololgy. 97(4), 238-243.
Hanczakowska, E., Wiytkiewicz, M. and Szewczyk, A. (2007). Effect of dietary nettle extract on pig meat quality. Medycyna Weterinary. 63, 525-527.
Jang, A., Liu, X.D., Shin, M.H., Lee, B.D., Lee, S.K., Lee, J.H. and Jo, C. (2008). Antioxidative potential of raw breast meat from broiler chicks fed a dietary medicinal herb extract mix. Poutry Science. 87, 2382–23.
Jamroz, D. and Kamel, C. (2002). Plant extracts enhance broiler performance. In non ruminant nutrition: Antimicrobial agents and plant extracts on immunity, health and performance. Journal of Animal Sciene. 80, (E. Suppl. 1) 41.
Khosravi, A., Boldaji, F., Dastar, B. and, Hasani S. (2008).The use of some feed additives as growth promoter in broilers nutrition. International Journal of Poultry Science. 7(11), 1095-1099.
Kwiecien, M. and Mieczan, W. (2009). Effect of addition of herbs on body weight and assessment of physical and chemical alterations in the tibia bones of broiler chickens. Journal of Elementology. 14, 705-715.
Lee, K.., Everts ,H. and Beyen, A.C. (2003). Dietary carvacrol lowers body gain but improves feed conversion in female broiler chickens. Journal of Applied Poultry Research. 12, 394-399.
Loetscher, Y., Kreuzer, M. and Messikommer, R.E. (2013a). Utility of nettle (urtica dioica) inlayer diets as a natural yellow colorant for egg yolk. Animal Feed Science and Technololgy. 186, 158-168.
Loetscher, Y., Kreuzer, M. and Messikommer, R.E. (2013b). Oxidative stability of the meat of broilers supplemented with rosemary leaves, rosehip fruits,
chokeberry pomace, and entire nettle, and effects on performance and meat quality. Poultry Science. 92, 2938–2948.
Lopez-Bote, C.J., Gray, J.I., Gomma, E.A. and Flegal, C.J. (1998). Effect of dietary administration of oil extracts from rosemary and sage on lipid oxidation in broiler meat. British Poultry Science. 39(2), 235-240.
Mansoub, NH. (2010). Effect of Probiotic Bacteria Utilization on Serum Cholesterol an Triglycrides Contents and Performance of Broiler Chickens. Globaal Veterinaria.5(3), 184-186.
Mehmet, K., Omer, C. and, Mustafa B. (2005). Hepatoprotective effects of Nigella sativa and urtica dioica on lipid peroxidation, antioxidant enzyme systems and liver enzymes in carbon tetrachloride-treated rats.
World Journal of Gastroenterology. 11(42), 6674-6688.
National Research Council. (1994). Nutrient Requirements of Poultry. 9th ed, National Academy Press, Washington, DC, USA.
Nassiri-Asl, M., Zamansoltani, F., Abbasi, E., Daneshi, M.M. and Zangivand, A.A. (2009). Effects of Urtica dioica extract on lipid profile in hypercholesterolemic rats. Journal of Chinese Integegrative Medicine. 7(5), 428-433.
Osman, N.E., Talat, G., Mehmet, C., Bestami, D. and Simsek, U.G. (2005) The effect of an essential oil mix derived from Oregano, Clove and Anise on broiler performance. International Journal of Poultry Science. 4, 879-884.
Ozen, T. and Korkmaz, H. (2003). Modulatory effect of Urtica dioica L. (Urticaceae) leaf extract on biotransformation enzyme systems, antioxidant
enzymes, lactate dehydrogenase and lipid peroxidation in mice. Phytomedicine. 10, 405-41.
Qureshi, A.A., Abuirmeileh, N., Din, Z.Z., Elson, C.E. and Burger, W.C. (1983). Inhibition of cholesterol and fatty acid biosynthesis in liver enzymes and chicken hepatocytes by polar fractions of garlic. Lipids. 18, 343–348.
Rodriguez-Meizoso, I., Marin, F.R., Herrero, M., Senorans, F.J., Reglero, G., Cifuentes, A. and Ibanez, E. (2006). Subcritical water extraction of nutraceuticals with antioxidant activity from oregano: Chemical and
functional characterization. Journal of Pharmacy and Biomededical Analysis. 41(5), 1560-1565.
Safamehr, A., Mirahmadi, M. and Nobakht, A. (2012). Effect of nettle (Urtica dioica) medicinal plant on growth performance, immune responses, and serum biochemical parameters of broiler chickens. International Research
Journal of Applied Basic Science. 3, 721-728.
Sandru, C., Brudasc, F. and Spniu, M. (2007). Vegetal extraction induced innate cell-mediated immune response in vaccinated hens. Luc. Sci. Med. VET. X, 601-605.
Strange, E.D., Benedict, R.C., Smith, J.L. and Swift, C.V. (1977). Evaluation of rapid tests for monitoring alterations in meat quality during storage. Journal of Food Protection. 4, 843-847.
SAS. (1990). Statistical Analytical System user,s guide. (version 6.4th Edn), SAS Institute Inc. North Carolina, USA.
Wenk, C. (2000). Why all the discussion about herbs? Proc. Alltech’s 16th Ann. Symp. Biotechnol. In the Feed Industry, Ed. Lyons, Technology Publication, Nottingham, University Press, Nicholasvile, KY, 79-96.
World Health Organization.(2002). Traditional medicine growing needs and potential. WHO Policy Perspective Medicine, 2, 1-6.
Zhang, K.Y., Yan, F., Keen, C.A. and Waldroup, P.W. (2005). Evaluation of microencapsulated essential oils and organic acids in diets for broiler chickens. International Journal of Poultry Science. 4(9), 612-619