From: Tafline Laylin, Green Prophet
Published December 30, 2012 08:31 AM

Antibiotics or Oregano to Keep Chickens Healthy?

It’s za'atar season in the Middle East and though we don't really need it, there's another reason to love this versatile spice: it could be useful as an alternative to antibiotics. Both a perennial herb and a spice mixed with other ingredients, za’atar livens up a host of dishes throughout the Gulf, Levant and Mediterranean.

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Now a small handful of farmers in the United States are feeding their poultry and livestock an oregano oil mixture in lieu of increasingly ineffective antibiotics, The New York Times reports. And they insist it keeps the animals disease free. Though the numbers are compelling, scientists caution there is insufficient data to substantiate their claims.

Long before pharmaceutical companies got their start, human beings relied on the fruits of nature to stay healthy. We used to know the properties of every shrub and berry in the woods, we knew what to eat and what to leave, and we passed on what we knew to our communities.

But then we stopped trusting anything that isn't backed by an arsenal of scientists and convinced ourselves that corporations would put our health before their capital gain.

Certainly mortality rates are typically lower now than they were in centuries past, but we're beginning to understand that perhaps our ancestors, who treated a host of medical conditions without laboratories stocked with beakers and test tubes, might have been on to something.

Red Chicken photo via Shutterstock.

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