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what herbs can parrots eat

17 Herbs Parrots Can Eat Safely

Not all herbs are safe for parrots to eat, and kitchen varieties sometimes contain toxins or compounds that can build up in a parrot’s digestive system. However, certain herbs are healthy for parrots to eat.

Parrots can eat coriander, dill, parsley, basil, star anise, oregano, peppermint, rosemary, ginger, Ceylon cinnamon, dandelion leaf, thyme, bay leaf, St. John’s Wort, cloves, lemongrass, and lavender.

Note that herbs from the allium family are considered unsafe for parrots.

Best Herbs For Parrots

There are dozens of herbs that are known to be safe for parrots. You can give your parrot the following herbs:

1/ Coriander

Coriander, also known as cilantro or Chinese parsley, has an interesting lemon-like taste that can add variety to your parrot’s meals.

It’s packed with vitamins and minerals, including:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K

What’s more, coriander is known to have strong antibacterial properties. If your parrot has a bacterial infection, add coriander to its meals.

2/ Dill

Dill is an herb with leaves that are long and stringy. When offering this herb, it’s best to thread it through your parrot’s cage bars. Not only will the parrot get a nutritious snack, but lots of exercise too.

Dill contains nutrients such as:

  • Vitamin C
  • Manganese
  • Vitamin A

However, what makes dill special is its high levels of antioxidants.

According to the International Journal of Food Properties, researchers determined that dill leaf extract can be an effective antioxidant supplement.

safe herbs for parrots

3/ Parsley

Parsley contains vitamins and minerals and offers a flavorful taste to keep parrots engaged.

Opt for fresh over dried parsley, as it contains more nutrients. If possible, consider the curly variety, as this texture is more likely to interest your parrot.

When feeding parsley, do so in moderation because parsley contains high amounts of oxalic acid.

Oxalic acid is an anti-nutrient, which prevents the absorption of certain nutrients in the digestive system. It does this by binding to compounds, like calcium, turning it into a form that the body cannot use. Additionally, oxalic acid has been linked to the development of kidney stones.

4/ Basil

Basil is known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, making it ideal for parrots that are sick or those with a weak immune system.

Basil includes the following:

  • Manganese
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C

Basil also comes in many varieties. Most parrots will love sweet basil, which is the most common type. It has licorice with mint, but try Thai basil for a more pronounced licorice flavor.

If your parrot likes a variety of textures, try lettuce leaf basil. As the name implies, this basil has huge, lettuce-like leaves, and it has a milder taste and is highly aromatic compared to other varieties.

5/ Star Anise

Star anise is a less common herb that’s often sold as seed pods in the shape of a star. Inside the pods are seeds that your parrot is sure to enjoy foraging.

Some pet shops may sell star anise as treats for birds, but this herb can be found in the Asian aisle of many supermarkets. Star anise has a licorice flavor and is extremely aromatic.

Aside from its interesting taste, it also contains high amounts of antioxidants.

6/ Oregano

A member of the mint family, the name oregano has been used as a medicinal herb for centuries. Its name comes from the word ganos, which means joy.

Oregano has been linked to various health benefits. It contains high amounts of antioxidants, which prevent oxidative stress. According to Food Science and Biotechnology, the most potent benefit is its antibacterial properties.

For this reason, oregano can be added to your bird’s meals to prevent spoilage.

7/ Peppermint

Because it is a member of the mint family, peppermint is safe for your parrot to eat. This herb is a hybrid between spearmint and water mint. Compared to other herbs in the mint family, peppermint has a stronger taste and aroma.

Peppermint contains the same nutrients and health benefits as regular mint, containing more calories and vitamin C. For parrots that like a stronger taste in their food, consider adding peppermint.

8/ Dandelion Leaf

Dandelions are considered weeds, but they’re super healthy for parrots. The most common use for dandelion leaves is relieving digestive issues, like indigestion and stomach cramps.

This is because dandelions contain high levels of prebiotic fiber that’s known to prevent constipation. If your parrot is prone to digestive problems, consider adding some dandelion leaf to its chop.

Dandelions are also linked to weight loss. Obesity can be fatal to parrots, leading to various diseases. Consider adding dandelion leaves as a supplement for overweight birds.

9/ Rosemary

Rosemary is known for its warm, bitter taste. Aside from tasting great, it packs a nutritious punch.

It contains the following:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B6
  • Iron

Rosemary is rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

If your parrot has an upset stomach, consider giving it some rosemary. It has been traditionally used to treat digestive issues like heartburn and appetite loss.

10/ Thyme

Thyme is beneficial for parrots with respiratory issues due to the essential oil thymol present in the plant.

11/ Bay Leaf

Bay leaf often refers to laurel leaf, which comes from the sweet bay tree.

You’ll often find this leaf dried and used to flavor food. There are many varieties of bay leaf, the most common being the Turkish bay leaf. Its taste is warm and bitter, with hints of mint.

Bay leaf contains many nutrients:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B6
  • Zinc
  • Calcium
  • Irion
  • Manganese
can parrots eat fresh herbs?

12/ Ginger

Ginger is a staple in many cuisines because of its rich, spicy flavor and aromatic smell. This herb is often used as a natural remedy to digestive issues in birds.

This herb is also known for easing nausea. If your parrot is about to travel, consider adding ginger to its chop or giving it ginger tea.

Like most herbs, ginger should only be given in moderation. Too much can make your parrot gassy and may even cause stomach problems.

13/ Ceylon Cinnamon

There are two common types of cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon is completely safe, but Chinese cinnamon isn’t.

Unfortunately, Chinese cinnamon is more common. If you find cinnamon and it doesn’t specify what type it is, it is likely to be Chinese cinnamon. Only get cinnamon labeled Ceylon cinnamon, or true cinnamon, for your parrot.

14/ St John’s Wort

St. John’s Wort is another herb that has been used as medicine since antiquity.

In the modern-day, St. John’s Wort is known as a natural anti-depressant because of the hypericum present in the plant, making it a possible supplement for parrots that are stressed.

15/ Cloves

The herb clove is often found as a dried flower bud of the clove tree. It has a sweet, spicy taste and a strong aromatic smell.

Cloves are packed with nutrients such as:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin K
  • Manganese

Cloves have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Notably, cloves are rich in antioxidants.

16/ Lemongrass

Lemongrass is most commonly found in Asian cuisine, often a garnish on top of food. This herb comes in the form of long, stiff stalks that can reach up to four feet in height.

Lemongrass has a lemony taste and has a floral, aromatic scent. Feed it to your parrot fresh.

17/ Lavender

Lavender is a relative of mint, so both the leaves and flowers can be safely eaten.

Sometimes dubbed ‘the herb of love,’ lavender has been used in antiquity as a way to clean and purify. Its name comes from the Latin verb that means ‘to wash.’ This herb is known for its soft, fragrant smell and bitter flavor.

Lavender is rich in nutrients, like most herbs, but its most common medicinal use is alleviating stress. If your parrot is stressed, consider giving it lavender with its food or as a tea.