Parrots can safely eat the leaves of the mint plant, cooked or uncooked, to reduce anxiety and ease digestive concerns, benefitting from menthol’s soothing and anti-inflammatory properties.
Mint (Mentha) is an aromatic herb that belongs to the Lamiaceae family, which includes peppermint and spearmint. It’s a good source of vitamins A, B, and C, iron, calcium potassium, and manganese.
Most plants with mint in their name have a similar scent and taste. So, birds will be intrigued by mint’s strong flavor, interesting aroma, and novel texture.
Spearmint leaves taste quite sweet, while the flavor of peppermint is menthol and peppery.
The fresher the leaves, the milder the scent and taste. So, dried mint leaves are 2-3 times more flavorful and stronger-smelling than fresh leaves because the moisture has been removed.
To maintain freshness and flavor, store mint leaves in your refrigerator. If you have dried mint, store it in a jar in a cool, dark part of your home, such as a cupboard or pantry.
Are Parrots Allowed Mint?
About 15-20 different genera of mint are used in commercial products, cooking, and medicine. It’s also a much healthier flavoring than salt (sodium), with various health benefits for pet parrots.
Mint is a herb commonly used to alleviate the following health conditions:
- Anxiety and stress.
- Digestive issues.
- Cognitive issues like dementia.
- Congestion of the respiratory system.
Some of the beneficial things about mint for parrots include:
|Thymol:||Reduces anxiety and digestive issues.|
|Antioxidants and phytonutrients:||Fights free radicals, reducing oxidative stress.|
|Vitamins:||Vitamins A, B, and C.|
|Minerals:||Phosphorus, calcium, iron, potassium, and manganese.|
The menthol in mint is a natural muscle relaxant, soothing nerves, relaxing gastrointestinal muscles, and reducing inflammation.
Parrots are easily startled and prone to destructive behavior when unsettled or upset. If a parrot has recently arrived, is a rescue animal, or is anxious, mint can benefit its well-being.
According to Gastroenterology, menthol improves digestion and relieves stress. So, it’s a good choice for parrots that pluck feathers or pick at their skin due to stress and anxiety.
Due to how a parrot’s digestive system works, some birds struggle with indigestion and digestive issues.
According to The Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, peppermint oil alleviates the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Although more common in humans, it can sometimes affect pet birds.
Menthol relaxes the muscles, making the intestinal tract less likely to cramp or spasm. If a parrot is experiencing digestive issues, it’ll ease the discomfort.
Any member of the mint family can ease indigestion, especially when part of a meal.
According to the Journal of Gastroenterology, food passes through the gut faster when accompanied by peppermint oil. You can get peppermint extract and mix it with food or offer mint leaves to a parrot.
Parrots are intelligent and long-lived birds but many experience cognitive decline with age. Adding mint to a bird’s diet can sharpen its mind because menthol stimulates the hippocampus.
Although this section of the brain differs slightly from mammals, the result is similar. A parrot can benefit from better memory, reaction times, and mental clarity.
According to Lab Animal, parrots have shorter lifespans when exposed to long-term trauma, especially early in life. Mint’s calming effects can help a parrot live a longer, healthier life.
Vitamins And Minerals
The most prominent vitamins and minerals are vitamins A and B12 (folate), calcium, iron, and manganese.
Vitamin A (retinol) is responsible for eye health, while folate is needed for red blood cell creation. This can optimize a parrot’s eyesight while also benefitting from healthier blood and good circulation.
Iron is mainly responsible for creating red blood cells for carrying oxygenated blood. Insufficient iron can lead to anemia, which causes tiredness, weakness, and dizziness.
Manganese plays an important role in calcium absorption, which is essential for strong and healthy bones and feathers. Also, for gravid female parrots, manganese is important for egg formation.
Antioxidants reduce oxidative stress, which makes parrots more vulnerable to degenerative diseases.
The free radicals that cause oxidative stress lead to age-related diseases in birds like Alzheimer’s, dementia, diabetes mellitus, heart disease, and cancer.
Mint is a good source of phytonutrients and antioxidants. According to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, mint has the most beneficial antioxidants of all herbs and spices.
Mint is a good source of rosmarinic acid, which is a polyphenol antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. This is found in several members of the Lamiaceae family, including spearmint and peppermint.
Mint contains carvone and limonene, which have antibacterial properties and can significantly reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses. Of course, you should always be vigilant about removing spoiled food.
Breathing And Congestion
Mint leaves are beneficial for relieving chest congestion, which is helpful if a bird has a respiratory condition, such as blocked nares (nostrils).
Consider how humans add menthol crystals to saunas to remove congestion and make breathing easier. So, the strong smell of mint and its relaxing properties can provide relief for birds with asthma.
Do Parrots Like Mint Leaves?
Mint has an interesting texture, an enticing aroma, and a unique taste.
This is especially true for parrots that show interest in the smell of chewing gum or toothpaste. If a parrot is drawn to these scents, offer it some natural mint leaves.
Of course, some parrots dislike mint and refuse to eat it, while others are unfamiliar with the scent or flavor and are unsure if it’s safe for consumption.
How To Give Peppermint To Parrots
Here are some different ways to encourage parrots to eat mint:
Chop Mint Up
Unlike milder herbs, mint has a strong scent and flavor, so a little goes a long way.
If a parrot is hesitant about mint, reduce the amount you offer. You can chop it into small pieces and mix it with other food, as the other flavors will lessen the strong aroma and taste.
There are 10-15 varieties, the most common being spearmint and peppermint. Spearmint has a refreshing and more subtle taste, while peppermint has a menthol taste with grassy, bitter flavors.
Varying the mint you feed a parrot can keep things new and interesting.
No Mint At Night
The menthol compounds in mint are muscle relaxants. However, mint also has stimulating properties. With its strong odor and taste, it can energize a parrot.
According to Nutrients, ingesting peppermint oil capsules can alleviate fatigue and increase alertness.
Mint is a healthy and nutritious addition to a parrot’s diet, so they benefit from eating fresh mint leaves. Also, dried mint can be added to meals or steeped to make a refreshing tea.