Macaw parrot eating herbs in the wild

Healthy Herbs For Parrots And Their Benefits

Parrots get most of their nutrition from pellets, fruits, and vegetables. Unlike us, parrots do not need additional flavoring and aroma in their food that spices or herbs are commonly used for. 

Including herbs in your parrot’s diet goes beyond the question of food variety. Herbs provide a multitude of benefits that are supplemental to a nutritionally complete parrot diet. 

They provide unique benefits like, diabetes prevention, protection from free radicals, reduction of inflammation, and also help in fighting infections and boost immunity. 

Most herbs and spices are perfectly safe for parrots. These herbs not only contribute to the variety of flavors in their diet but also the variety of nutrients. Many herbs have medicinal properties aiding in alleviating stomach discomfort and also preventing certain infections. 

Herbs That Are Safe For Parrots

Both dried and fresh herbs can be good for parrots. Each of them has their own uses and should be served mindfully. Here’s a list of herbs and spices that are healthy for your parrot:


Basil is a culinary herb that is rich in antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties. It can help relieve the discomfort of arthritis which can be useful for an arthritic or an elder bird. It also calms the parrot’s mind and makes them relax. You can serve basil leaves directly to your parrot or chop them and add them to their meal. 

Keep in mind, that some varieties of basil can smell with an unpleasant odor. This might not be a problem for your parrot but it can bother you. Basil usually has a sweet aroma which can be intense or weak.


Most herbs including mint have a pleasant aroma that enriches not only food but also oral health. Mint can remedy bad breath in parrots. If your parrot has a bad breath problem, give it a couple of leaves. 

Besides this, mint is packed with antioxidants, which protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Mint can also soothe stomach issues in parrots.


Peppermint is a naturally sweet herb which makes its more likable with parrot. Peppermint tea is sweet and naturally caffeine free, so you can offer some to your parrot occasionally for them to reap its nutrirtional benefits. It is often used to soothe upset stomachs, reduce nausea, and help with motion sickness. 


Rosemary is another incredible herb with medicinal properties.With a abundance of nutrients and medicina properties, it strengthens your parrot’s overall health. It’s known to work for preventing heart disease and improve  digestive health. Studies suggest that it may even help in the fighting cancer. Rosemary overall boosts immune health in parrots.


Coriander, also known as cilantro, is a herb awash with nutrients. Iron, potassium, magnesium, vitamin C, and calcium are some of the essential nutrients found in coriander. It’s noted to alleviate nausea, promote good digestive function, and fix other GI issues. 

Lemon Grass

Lemon grass can be used to reduce the chances of being reinfected during the recovery period. It is a common ingredient in many anti-tick bird baths and can be used to prevent mites and lice in parrots. 


Ginger root is something we commonly use in food recipes for its spicy flavor and rejuvenating aroma. This herb has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that help combat bacteria and infections. It is also useful in soothing nausea if your parrot feels motion sickness. Parrots can feel nauseated quite commonly when traveling. 


Turmeric is a root of a plant from the ginger family. Turmeric has been used as traditional medicine in Indian and Chinese cultures for hundreds of years. It contains potent phytonutrients that protect the body from free radicals. Turmeric’s active compound, curcumin, along with anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties boost immunity in parrots. 


Chamomile has been used for thousands of years for its medicinal properties. It’s a calming herb that can relieve stress and anxiety in parrots. It can also reduce inflammation and speed up recovery. Parrots can benefit from having some chamomile occasionally in the form of herbal tea or as a fresh herb. It is also useful if your parrot has digestive issues or is constipated. 


Cloves are a dried herb made from the flowers of the clove tree. Cloves actually contain the highest amount of antioxidant content of any herb. (Source) They contain a compound called eugenol, which acts as a natural antioxidant. This herb has also been shown to kill bacteria and prevent infections. 


Fresh dill is good for healthy digestion and can fix a stomach upset. It is also a good source of several vitamins and minerals. Dill can be added to their chop or you can even mix it with a herbal drink.  


Garden sage is packed with essential nutrients and compounds, particularly Vitamin K and Vitamin B6. It is often used sparingly due to its strong aroma. But even in small amounts, it proves incredibly beneficial. 

It is loaded with antioxidants and is also known to manage blood sugar levels. Sage can also be used to control diarrhea in parrots. You can sprinkle sage in your parrot’s meal if you’re using it in the dried form. Otherwise, you can also offer fresh sage to your parrot directly. 


Parsley is a natural diuretic that helps keep blood pressure and kidney health in check. It also has antibacterial properties and fights infammtory dieases.

Parsley is an impressive herb with many health benefits for parrots. However, it should be fed in moderation as it is relatively high in oxalates. (Source: Healthline)


Thyme is a rich source of calcium, magnesium, and vitamins A  and C, which are immunity boosters for parrots. It can be easily served to parrots. You may either add freshly chopped thyme to your parrot’s vegetable mix or leave it in between their cage bar for them to shred and eat.


Fennel is a sweet-tasting root vegetable that is enjoyed by most parrots. This herb belongs to the same family as celery and carrots. It aids digestion in parrots and offers a good amount of nutrients as well as dietary fiber. Fennel is also believed to support kidney health. 

Dandelion Greens

Dandelion greens are one of the healthiest herbs to feed your parrot. They offer a varied mineral and vitamin content that enriches their diet. Also, they have anti-inflammatory properties that reduce pain and inflammation in parrots. Dandelion greens are also known to manage weight and prevent obesity. 


Cinnamon is loaded with antioxidants including polyphenols. It is also shown to manage blood sugar levels. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, cinnamon helps the body be better equipped to fight infections and also supports tissue repair. Cinnamon can be sprinkled on meals for your parrot to get its benefits also enhance the taste of its food. 

Licorice Root

Including licorice root occasionally in meals can be immensely beneficial for parrots. Licorice root has antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties, which support health by fighting and fending off diseases. Licorice root also helps ease inflammation in the stomach and other digestive upsets.

Milk Thistle

Another great flowering herb for parrots is Milk Thistle. It can reduce the risk of heart dieases by lowering bad cholesterol. Milk thistle also promotes liver health and bone health in parrots. Adding this herb in your parrot’s diet can keep its sugar levels in check and lower the risk of obesity.  


Oregano is more famous in its dried herb form which is commonly used in pizza and pasta toppings. However, fresh oregano is more nutritionally dense and versatile as a herb. Oregano has antioxidant properties that act as an immune booster for parrots. It is also anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial, which helps parrots protect against diseases and infections. 


Cumin promotes digestion, aiding in nutrient absorption, and reduces the risk of digestive issues. The iron content in cumin helps maintain good health and metabolism. Cumin is also a blood sugar regulator, aiding in maintaining stable energy levels. You can put cumin seeds in your parrot’s water to help with stomach problems and constipation. 

Herbs That Are Unsafe For Parrots 

Most herbs and spices are safe for parrots to consume. However, there are a few that contain compounds toxic to parrots. It is important to be wary of these herbs so you do not accidentally feed them to your parrot. 

Plants Of The Allium Genus 

All plants of the allium family including onions, garlic, chives scallions, shallot, and leeks are toxic to parrots. They contain a group of sulfur compounds that are oxidizing agents that destroy red blood cells in the parrot’s body. 


Nutmeg is toxic to parrots. Nutmeg contains a hallucinogenic compound called myristicin, which can cause, stomach upset, dizziness, and nausea in parrots. While eating nutmeg in small quantities accidentally may not cause harm, high doses of this herb can prove to be fatal for parrots. 

References and further readings:

Dorson Joseph
Dorson Joseph

I'm Dorson, a bird enthusiast who's had a lifelong fascination for the avian world. I am a parent to my beloved Senegal parrot and budgie, which has deepened my love for avian creatures and taught me a lot over the years. I co-run a bird store and care center with my friends, where we work with experienced professionals to care for our flock. Now, I find great joy in sharing my knowledge with others, hoping to assist fellow bird keepers and enthusiasts in understanding birds and helping them live happy lives.

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