Effects of Silymarin on blood parameters of broilers in an experimental chronic mycotoxicosis

Document Type: Original Articles


1 Poultry Diseases Division, Department of Clinical Sciences, faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Urmia University, Iran

2 Graduated from Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Urmia University, Iran

3 Department of Pathobiology, faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tabriz, Tabriz, Iran


Silymarin, the principal constituent of Silybum marianum, is one of the most commonly
used herbal therapies as a natural antioxidant, hepatoprotector and antihepatotoxic agent,
in counteracting the toxic effects of mycotoxins. To determine the efficacy of Silymarin,
the levels of hematological and serum biochemical parameters of 70 Ross broilers from
35 to 49 days of age in an experimental chronic mycotoxicosis and in the treatment with
Silymarin were evaluated, in seven dietary treatment groups (Aspergillus flavus,
Aspergillus fumigatus, mixed, treatments with Silymarin and control). After culture for
heavy sporulation, harvested spores were suspended in sterile normal saline and poured
on fresh mash feed, incubated and incorporated as 10% of total feed. Hematological and
biochemical values including Albumin, total protein, glucose, creatinine, uric acid, ALT,
ALP, AST, Hb, PCV, RBC, total and differential WBC counts were recorded every 7
days. The analysis of results shows that Silymarin significantly helps to keep the levels of
hematological and serum biochemical parameters in normal range. These findings show
that Silymarin can be used effectively to reduce the toxic and suppressive effects of


1. Alcorn, J.M. 2002. How to carry out a field investigation. Pages 13-42 in Poultry Diseases, 5thedn. F. Jordan and M., Pattison (Eds). W.B. Saunders Company, London, UK.
2. Aravind, K.L., V.S. Patil, G. Devegowda, B. Umakantha, and S.P. Ganpule. 2003. Efficacy of esterified glucomannan to counteract mycotoxicosis in naturally contaminated feed on performance and serum biochemical and hematological parameters in broilers. Poult. Sci. 82:571-6.
3. Bean, P. 2002. The use of alternative medicine in the treatment of hepatitis C. Am. Clin. Lab. 21(4):19-21.
4. Bermudez, A.J. and B. Stewart-Brow. 2003. Principles of disease prevention: Diagnosis and control. Pages 17-55 in Diseases of Poultry, 11th edn.Y.M. Saif (Editor-in-Chief.), Blackwell Publishing Company, Iowa State University Press, Iowa, USA.
5. Campbell, T.W. 1992. Avian Hematology and Cytology. Iowa State Uni. Press, USA. Cutter, C.N. 2000. Antimicrobial effect of herb extracts against Escherichia coli O157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes, and Salmonella typhimurium associated with beef. J. Food Prot. 63(5):601-607.
6. Davis-Searles, R.P., Y. Nakanishi, N.C. Kim, T.N. Graf, N.H. Oberlies, M.C. Wani, M.E. Wall, R. Agarwal and J. Kroll. 2005. Milk Thistle and prostate cancer: Differential effects of pure flavonolignans from silybum marianum on antiproliferative end points in human prostate carcinoma cells. Cancer Res.65(10):4448-4457.
7. Grizzle, J., J. Wiles, and R. Benyard. 2003. In Vitro screening of nutriceuticals for
immunosupport in avian. Annual Reports, Department of Animal Science, Institute of Agriculture, the University of Tennessee, USA.
8. Harvey, R.B., L.F. Kubena, and T.D. Phillips. 1993. Evaluation of aluminosilicate compounds to reduce aflatoxin residues and toxicity to poultry and livestock: a review report. Sci. Total Environ. Suppl. Pt 2:1453-7.
9. He, Q., J. Kim and R.P. sharma. 2004. Silymarin Protects Against Liver Damage in BALB/c Mice Exposed to Fumonisin B1 Despite Increasing Accumulation of Free Sphingoid Bases. Toxicol. Sci. 80: 335-342.
10.Hrubec, T.C., J.M. Whichard, C.T. Larsen, and F.W. Pierson. 2004. Plasma versus serum: specific differences in biochemical analyte values. J. Avian Med. Surg. 16(2), 101-105.
11.Huseini, H.F., B. Larijani, R. Heshmat, H. Fakhrzadeh, B. Radjabipour, T. Toliat and M. Raza. 2006. The efficacy of Silybum marianum (L.) Gaertn. (Silymarin) in the treatment of type II diabetes: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical trial. Phytother Res. 20(12): 1036-1039.
12.Islam, M.S., N.S. Lucky, M.R. Islam, A. Ahmad, B.R. Das, M.M. Rahman, and M.S.I. Siddiui. (2004). Hematological parameters of Fayoumi, Assil and local chickens reared in Sylhet Region in Bangladesh. Int.J.Poult.Sci. 3(2):144-147.
13.Kunkle, A.R. 2003. The fungal diseases. Pages 83-895 in Diseases of Poultry, 11th edn. Y.M. Safe, (Editor-in-Chief.), Blackwell Publishing Company, Iowa State University Press, Iowa, USA.
14.Mills, S., and K. Bone. 2000. Principles and practice of phytotherapy: modern herbal medicine. Churchill Livingstone, New York, NY.

15.Pradhan, S.C. and C. Girish. 2006. Hepatoprotective herbal drug, Silymarin from experimental pharmacology to clinical medicine. Indian J. Med. Res. 124(5): 491-504.
16.Saller, R., R. Meier, and R. Brignoli. 2001. The use of Silymarin in the treatment of liver diseases. Drugs, 61(4): 2035- 63.
17.Skottova, N., R. Vecera, K. Urbanek, P. Vana, D. Walterova, and L. Cvak. 2003. Effects of polyphenolic fractions of Silymarin on lipoprotein profile in rats fed cholesterol-rich diets. Pharmacol. Res., 47:17–26.
18.Tedesco, D., S. Steidler, S. Galletti, M. Tameni, O. Sonzogui, and L. Ravarotto. 2004. Efficacy of Silymarin-Phospholipid complex in reducing the toxicity of aflatoxin B1 in broiler Chicks. Poult. Sci., 83:1839-43.
19.Tittel, G. and H. Wagner. 1978. Hochleistungsflüssigchromatogrphie von Silymarin II. Quantitative bestimmung von Silymarin aus silybum marianum durch
hochleistungsflüssigchromatographie. J. Chromatogr., 153(1): 227-232.
20.Van Erp, N.P.H. van, A.D. Baker, M. Zhao, M. A. Rudek, H.J. Guchelaar, J.W.R. Nortier, A. Sparreboom and H. Gelderblom. 2005. Effect ofMilk Thistle (Silybum marianum) on the Pharmacokinetics of Irinotecan. Clin. Cancer Res. 11(21): 7800-7806.
21.Varghese, L., C. Agarwal, A. Tyagi, R.P. Singh and R. Agarwal. 2005. Silibinin Efficacy against Human Hepatocellular Carcinoma. Clin. Cancer Res. 11(23): 8441-8448.
22.Verma, S. and P.J. Thuluvath. 2007. Complementary and alternative medicine in hepatology: Review of the evidence of efficacy. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. Jan 10: [Epub ahead of print].
23.Wellington, K., and B. Jarvis. 2001. Silymarin: a review of its clinical properties in the management of hepatic disorders. BioDrugs, 15(7):465-89.