This week I am attending EuroTier 2016, and what a great show it is. But, apart from the hullabaloo, dinners, handshaking and old stories with friends, I am managing to do some work as well. And I have a good story for this blog, too.

Not many years ago (after a certain age, we no longer provide exact figures), there used to be one, two, maximum three products that we called essential oils. Do I need to remind anyone about oregano, cinnamon, and for the third, enter your favorite one and you got the short list of commercial products?

A long walk at EuroTier — 2,500 exhibitors, divided by one pair of shoes per 500 exhibitors equals five pairs of good shoes destroyed without being able to list them under “expenses” — revealed that there are not one, not three, not even 10, but almost 20 such commercial products. We now call them phytogenics, or more scientifically, plant secondary compounds, or just botanicals for those lucky enough to have voted for Trump or Clinton — all other U.S. voters decided to call them herbs and spices, as it sounds less egalitarian. But, I digress!

With 20 commercial products of “phyt-anicals” (I have an EU passport, but my first home was in the U.S., so I get to use a combo name), one has a hard time to find the right one — and believe me, they are not all the same. So, what makes a good “phyt-anical,” if you decide to test one under your own conditions? Here’s a short list that I plan on developing in a longer article, but it will suffice for now:

  • Backed up by a reputable organization
  • Backed up by numerous research
  • Works throughout the gut, or at least where it is designed to work
  • Contains a mix of compounds with multiple activities
  • Enhances the activity of organic acids

If you were to ask me, I will take the first four as granted or I will just walk away. I would be really focusing on discussing and getting convinced that the product I find most to my liking works with my blend of organic acids. I keep saying “my” because these products do not work with all feed formulas. So, in closing, keep in mind that even the best need verification at your research farm, using your own formulas.