The potential of Elephantorrhiza elephantina as an anthelminthic in goats

Parasitol Res. 2012 Aug;111(2):881-8. doi: 10.1007/s00436-012-2914-x. Epub 2012 Apr 12.


Elephantorrhiza elephantina Bruch. Skeels. is used by farmers in the Eastern Cape Province to control helminths in goats. An in vitro study revealed efficacy of its fractions against adult Haemonchus contortus. This study was conducted to validate efficacy of fractions in vivo, on gastrointestinal nematodes in naturally infected goats. A total of 36 goats (18 males and 18 females) between ages of 8 and 12 months were used; these were randomly assigned to six treatments (A-F). For treatments A and B, goats received Prodose orange® (Albendazole 1.92 % m/v, closantel 3.94 % mv) at 2 ml/10 kg and distilled water at 0.5 ml/kg per os, respectively, whereas those under treatments C to E received aqueous fractions of E. elephantina at concentrations of 12. 5, 25, 50 and 75 mg/ml, dosed at 2 ml/10 kg. On days 1, 28 and 56, faecal samples were collected for faecal egg counts (FEC) and larval count, blood samples taken for packed cell volume (PCV) and body weights recorded to assess weight changes. The aqueous fraction caused highest the total faecal egg count reductions (TFECR) % of 81.7 %, 96.8 % and 98.6 % at doses of 25, 50 and 75 mg/kg, respectively, on day 56. This was comparable to the commercial drug Prodose orange®, which caused TFECR% of 94.9 % at the same time. The fraction also caused reduction of Haemonchus contortus and strongyloides larvae at all dose levels, but these were not significantly different (P > 0.05) to the negative control. There was an increase in body weights of animals at dose concentrations of 25, 50 and 75 mg/kg. Animals receiving the fraction had weight increases of between 3 and 4 kg by end of experiment (over 56 days), but those drenched with Prodose orange ® gained by less than 2 kg. The fraction also increased PCV levels at all doses on days 28 and 56 and this was comparable to the group on commercial drug. The reductions of FEC and worm larvae, as well as increase in PCVs are indicative that E. elephantina posses some antihelmintic properties against gastrointestinal parasites in goats. With a minimum dose concentration of 25 mg/ml being effective, this means that farmers can use little material. Increase in weight gain revealed in this study may indicate that the plant may have some nutritional value; further study is therefore called for to validate the plant for its nutritive value.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Albendazole
  • Animals
  • Anthelmintics / chemistry
  • Anthelmintics / therapeutic use*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Fabaceae / chemistry*
  • Feces / parasitology
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / parasitology
  • Goat Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Goats
  • Hematocrit
  • Larva
  • Male
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*


  • Anthelmintics
  • Plant Extracts
  • Albendazole