Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a herbaceous perennial plant from the family Zingiberaceae. Ginger is from the plant’s rhizome (root) and is used as a snack, food flavoring, and for medical purposes.
For centuries, ginger has been used as a herb for easing and preventing health issues due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antinausea properties. For example, motion sickness.
Ginger has been categorized as safe for human consumption, but many of us wonder if ginger is okay to feed parrots. After all, not all human foods are bird-safe.
Can Parrots Eat Ginger?
Parrots can eat ginger in moderation, but that doesn’t mean they’ll like the taste. Ginger has a sweet and peppery flavor with a spicy smell, which doesn’t appeal to the palette of all birds.
Ginger can be dried, fresh, pickled, crystallized, preserved, candied, and powdered.
Is Ginger Good for Parrots?
Ginger is used in Eastern medicine and is a dietary staple in Asian and Caribbean cuisine.
It contains vitamins B9 (folate) and C and minerals like copper, calcium, iron, phosphorous, manganese, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. However, it’s most valued because it’s high in natural antioxidants.
Ginger has health benefits for parrots, including the following:
Gingerol (found in the roots of ginger) assists with gastric emptying, so the digestive process of parrots isn’t stalled. Ginger has natural laxative properties, promoting regular bowel movements.
Consuming ginger before or after a meal can prevent or resolve certain issues. According to Food Science & Nutrition, ginger has been used for centuries for digestive issues, such as:
- Reduced fermentation.
Efficient digestion means that parrots will feel more energized. It also means that more vitamins and minerals will be extracted from the food parrots consume.
Ginger has properties that relieve nausea caused by motion sickness, surgical procedures, medical treatments, and upset stomachs.
The gingerols and shogaols in rhizomes block the body’s neurotransmitters acetylcholine (controlling involuntary stomach contractions) and serotonin (controlling the vomiting reflex).
Faster gastric emptying and the anti-inflammatory properties of ginger reduce feelings of sickness.
When a pathogen like bacteria or a virus enters the body, the body uses inflammatory cytokines (small proteins that control activity in the immune system and blood cells) to defend itself.
This defense mechanism has an inflammatory response, leading to life-threatening diseases.
Gingerol, shogaol, and paradol (which give rhizomes their spicy flavor) have anti-inflammatory properties with analgesic effects, inhibiting the production of inflammation-causing cytokines.
Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties, which can reduce pain and inflammation throughout the body. People often take ginger to ease pain associated with types of joint pain.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis among birds. However, they can also experience rheumatoid arthritis, septic arthritis, and gout.
Immune System Booster
The National Library of Medicine: National Center for Biotechnology Information stated that birds have immune systems that are very efficient and comparable to that of mammals.
Ginger’s antiviral and antibacterial properties boost the immune system, fighting against upper and lower respiratory illnesses in parrots, like sinusitis and rhinitis.
Ginger has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, leading to a stronger antibody response.
Gingerol, turmeric, and shogaol reduce inflammation, protecting against neurodegenerative diseases. Interestingly, parrots don’t appear to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Increased blood flow to the brain is achieved, removing metabolic waste and toxins. Also, neurotransmitter levels are increased, facilitating well-optimized communication.
These properties improve mental health by enhancing cognition and reducing the risks of mental health disorders like depression and anxiety.
Ginger may reduce a parrot’s LDL cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein) and triglyceride levels while boosting HDL cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein).
Turmeric, notably curcumin, reduces the build-up of plaque in the arteries that increases the risk of developing coronary heart disease.
Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Ginger optimizes blood sugar levels by reducing insulin sensitivity, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Parrots with type 2 diabetes don’t produce sufficient insulin, so glucose builds up in the bloodstream. Ginger promotes glucose absorption into the muscles, so less insulin is required.
Also, better blood sugar regulation is beneficial for weight control and weight loss in birds.
Superior circulation and high antioxidant levels benefit dry, irritated, and damaged skin. Also, the anti-inflammatory effects of ginger expedite healing and recovery from cuts, wounds, and abrasions.
Is Ginger Bad for Parrots?
In small doses, giving parrots ginger is unlikely to have any negative health implications. However, if you overfeed ginger to a parrot, it can have adverse side effects:
- Stomach upsets.
- Oral irritation.
Only give a parrot a small amount of ginger once or twice weekly.
If a parrot is in poor health or on medication, consult a veterinarian before making dietary changes. For example, if a bird takes medication for low or high blood pressure (hypertension).
Ways To Give Ginger Root to Parrots
Here are some ways to introduce ginger to a parrot’s diet:
- Put ginger root in the cage and let the parrot nibble at it.
- Cut the ginger root into small pieces or chunks.
- Grate it and sprinkle ginger on the parrot’s food.
- Make a delicious tea from ginger root.
How To Make Ginger Tea for Parrots
You can make ginger tea by following this simple process:
- Peeling 1 or 2 ginger roots.
- Pouring a cup of boiling water over the peeled and sliced ginger.
- Steeping it for 10-15 minutes.
Ginger tea is ideal for sick parrots who need relief from nausea or stomach upset.
According to the American Federation of Aviculture, mixing ginger tea into baby parrots’ formula with upset stomachs or throwing up their formula can settle their stomachs.
Here are some other teas that are safe for parrots to drink occasionally.
Are Ginger Snacks Bad for Parrots?
You may like eating ginger-flavored cakes and cookies, but these items shouldn’t be fed to parrots.
Ginger products like gingerbread cookies and ginger snaps aren’t healthy snacks for parrots. While they contain small amounts of ginger, saturated fats, refined sugars, and additives are unhealthy.
Feeding parrots foods that are high in sugar and fat can lead to obesity, fatty liver disease, and sugar addiction. Gingerbread cookies and ginger snaps taste good, but they’ll shorten a parrot’s life.
Also, ginger beer shouldn’t be given to parrots because it’s carbonated and contains added sugars. Worse still, some beverages contain artificial sweeteners, like aspartame, which are toxic to pet birds.
Only feed a parrot raw or dried ginger once or twice per week. Either slice up some ginger or add some ground ginger to flavor one or two of the parrot’s meals. Alternatively, give it some ginger tea.
Ginger is healthiest when raw because cooking and heat exposure reduces its nutritional value.