Can Parrots Eat Herbs? Explained

Yes, parrots can eat certain herbs, and in fact, some herbs can be a healthy addition to their diet. However, it’s essential to be selective about the herbs you offer and ensure they are safe for your parrot. Read on to find out other things to know.

What are the safe herbs for parrots?

Here are some safe herbs for parrots: 

  1. Parsley

Parsley is a popular herb among parrot owners. It’s rich in vitamin C and can add a fresh flavor to their diet

  1. Cilantro (Coriander)

Cilantro is another herb that parrots often enjoy. It contains essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K, and can be a flavorful addition to their meals. 

  1. Basil

Basil is a safe herb for parrots and can introduce a unique taste to their diet. It also offers some vitamins and antioxidants. 

  1. Dill

Dill is generally safe for parrots and can be provided in moderation. It adds a pleasant taste to their food. 

  1. Mint

Mint leaves, such as spearmint or peppermint, can be given sparingly. Mint can provide a refreshing taste and is known for its potential digestive benefits. 

  1. Oregano

Oregano is safe for parrots and can be sprinkled on their food for added flavor. It contains antioxidants. 

  1. Thyme

Thyme is another herb that is safe for parrots and can contribute a mild, earthy taste to their meals.

  1. Rosemary

Rosemary is a fragrant herb that can be offered in small amounts. It has antioxidants and may add a pleasant flavor to your parrot’s diet. 

  1. Sage

Sage leaves can be provided in moderation. This herb has a distinct flavor and contains essential vitamins like vitamin K. 

  1. Chamomile

Chamomile flowers can be given to parrots as a soothing and calming herb. It’s often used to make herbal tea for humans and can be a gentle addition to your parrot’s diet. However, use it sparingly.

Health benefits of herbs to parrots:

Herbs can offer various health benefits to parrots when included as a part of their balanced diet. Here are some potential advantages: 

  1. Herbs Have a High Nutritional Value

Many herbs are rich in essential vitamins and minerals that can support your parrot’s overall health. For example, parsley is high in vitamin C, while basil contains vitamin K. 

  1. Herbs Have Antioxidant Properties

Herbs like rosemary and oregano possess antioxidant properties that can help protect your parrot’s cells from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals. 

  1. Herbs Offers Digestive Aid

Some herbs, such as dill and cilantro, may aid in digestion and alleviate gastrointestinal discomfort. 

  1. Herbs Help in Stress Reduction

The aroma of certain herbs, like lavender and chamomile, can have a calming effect on parrots, reducing stress and anxiety. 

  1. Herbs Can Help Support Immune System Support

Herbs like echinacea and garlic are believed to have immune-boosting properties, potentially helping your parrot resist infections. 

  1. Herbs Offers Respiratory Health

Mint and thyme herbs may support respiratory health and help alleviate symptoms of respiratory issues. 

  1. Herbs Can Help With Feather Health

Herbs like dandelion and nettle are considered beneficial for maintaining healthy feathers and skin. 

  1. Herbs Offer Variety and Enrichment

Incorporating a variety of herbs into your parrot’s diet can provide mental stimulation and enrichment, which is vital for their well-being. 

  1. Herbs Offer Hydration

Some herbs have a high water content and can contribute to your parrot’s hydration, particularly in species that are prone to dehydration. 

  1. Herbs Help in Appetite Stimulation

The flavors and aromas of herbs can stimulate your parrot’s appetite, encouraging them to eat a balanced diet.

Is garlic safe for parrots?

No, garlic is not safe for parrots. Garlic belongs to the Allium family, which also includes onions and shallots.

These vegetables contain compounds that can be toxic to parrots and other birds. Consumption of garlic can lead to various health issues, including gastrointestinal problems and potential damage to a parrot’s red blood cells.

It’s important to avoid feeding garlic to your parrot and stick to safe and bird-friendly foods for their well-being.

Is turmeric safe for parrots?

Turmeric, in moderation, is generally considered safe for parrots. Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and may offer some health benefits.

What are the unsafe herbs for parrots?

Certain herbs should be avoided when feeding parrots due to potential toxicity or adverse effects. Here are some examples of unsafe herbs for parrots: 

  1. Lavender

Lavender contains compounds like linalool and linalyl acetate, which can be toxic to birds in large quantities. These compounds can irritate a parrot’s digestive system and respiratory tract. 

  1. Mint

While some types of mint, like spearmint or peppermint, may be safe in moderation, other types can contain compounds that are toxic to parrots. Additionally, the strong aroma of mint can be overwhelming for parrots. 

  1. Foxglove

Foxglove contains chemicals called cardiac glycosides, which are highly toxic to both humans and animals, including parrots. Ingesting any part of the plant can lead to serious health issues, including heart problems. 

  1. Tansy

Tansy contains thujone, a compound that can be toxic to birds when consumed in significant amounts. It can lead to neurological symptoms and digestive issues. 

  1. Yarrow

Yarrow may contain alkaloids and other compounds that can be harmful to parrots when ingested. It’s best to avoid this herb in your parrot’s diet. 

  1. Lily of the Valley

This plant contains cardiac glycosides, which are toxic and can cause heart and gastrointestinal problems if ingested by parrots. 

  1. Rhubarb

The leaves of rhubarb contain oxalates, which can lead to calcium oxalate crystal formation in a parrot’s kidneys, potentially causing kidney damage. 

  1. Tomato Leaves

While the red, ripe fruit of tomatoes is generally safe for parrots, the leaves, stems, and unripe green tomatoes contain solanine, a toxic alkaloid. Ingesting these parts can lead to digestive upset and neurological issues. 

  1. Chives and Garlic

Both chives and garlic belong to the allium family, which contains compounds that can damage a parrot’s red blood cells and cause anaemia. Even small amounts should be avoided. 

  1. Pesticide-Treated Herbs

Any herbs that have been treated with pesticides or herbicides can carry the risk of chemical contamination. These chemicals can be highly toxic to parrots and should be avoided at all costs.

What are healthier ways to incorporate herbs into your parrot’s diet?

Incorporating herbs into your parrot’s diet can be done in healthier ways, ensuring both their safety and enjoyment. Here are some tips: 

  1. Consult with an Avian Veterinarian

Before introducing any new herbs to your parrot’s diet, consult with an avian veterinarian. They can provide guidance on which herbs are safe for your specific parrot species and any individual health considerations.

  1. Use Fresh Herbs

Opt for fresh, organic herbs whenever possible. These are generally safer and more nutritious than dried herbs, as dried herbs can sometimes contain additives or preservatives. 

  1. Moderation is Key

Even with safe herbs, moderation is essential. Offer herbs as an occasional treat or part of a varied diet, rather than a primary food source. 

  1. Variety is Important

Rotate the herbs you offer to provide variety in flavors and nutrients. This can also keep your parrot engaged and interested in their diet. 

  1. Fresh and Organic

Ensure that the herbs are free from pesticides, herbicides, or any chemicals. Wash them thoroughly before serving. 

  1. Watch for Allergies

Keep an eye out for any adverse reactions when introducing a new herb. Allergic reactions can vary from bird to bird, so be cautious. 

  1. Offer Herbs as Enrichment

Hide herbs within toys, foraging devices, or puzzle feeders to encourage mental stimulation and physical activity while enjoying their food. 

  1. Chop or Grind

Depending on your parrot’s size, you may need to chop or grind herbs into smaller pieces for easier consumption. 

  1. Mix with Other Foods

Mix herbs with other bird-safe fruits, vegetables, or grains to create flavorful and nutritionally balanced meals. 

  1. Observation

Always observe your parrot when introducing a new herb. If you notice any signs of discomfort, digestive issues, or allergies, remove the herb from your diet immediately. 

  1. Rotate and Experiment

Herbs can have various health benefits. Experiment with different safe herbs and observe how your parrot responds. Some herbs may have calming effects, while others can boost the immune system.

Are there risk factors to feeding herbs to your parrots?

Yes, there are some risk factors to consider when feeding herbs to your parrots. These factors include: 

  1. Allergic Reactions

Some parrots may have allergies or sensitivities to certain herbs. It’s essential to introduce new herbs gradually and observe your parrot for any adverse reactions like itching, sneezing, or digestive issues. 

  1. Herb Toxicity

Not all herbs are safe for parrots. Some herbs can be toxic to birds, causing harm to their digestive system, liver, or other organs. It’s crucial to research and ensure the safety of each herb before offering it to your parrot. 

  1. Pesticides and Contaminants

Herbs that are not organically grown may contain pesticides or other chemical contaminants. Thoroughly wash and, if possible, buy organic herbs to reduce this risk. 

  1. Digestive Issues

Excessive consumption of certain herbs can lead to digestive problems in parrots. Always offer herbs in moderation to prevent digestive upset. 

  1. Herb Interactions

Some herbs may interact with medications your parrot is taking or with other foods in their diet. Consult with an avian veterinarian to ensure there are no negative interactions. 

  1. Physical Hazards

Herbs with sharp thorns, prickles, or tough stems can pose physical hazards to your parrot’s beak, mouth, or digestive tract. Remove any inedible parts and ensure the herbs are prepared safely. 

  1. Quality Control

Ensure the herbs you provide are fresh, free from mold or rot, and stored properly to prevent contamination.


In conclusion, herbs can be a flavorful and potentially beneficial addition to your parrot’s diet when chosen and offered with care. They can provide variety, enrichment, and even some health advantages for your feathered companion.

However, it’s crucial to be selective and informed about the herbs you choose, ensuring they are safe and appropriate for your specific parrot species.

Always introduce new herbs gradually, monitor your parrot’s reactions, and consult with an avian veterinarian for guidance on incorporating herbs into your parrot’s diet safely.

With responsible research and attention, herbs can be a delightful and healthful treat for your beloved parrot.

Frequently asked questions:

Can all herbs be safely fed to parrots? 

Not all herbs are safe for parrots. Some can be toxic to them, so it’s crucial to research each herb thoroughly before offering it to your bird. 

How should I introduce herbs into my parrot’s diet? 

Start by offering small amounts of herbs and observe how your parrot responds. Gradually incorporate them into their regular diet. 

Are dried herbs safe for parrots? 

Dried herbs can be safe for parrots, but they should be free of additives like salt or preservatives. Offer them in moderation, as some dried herbs can be more concentrated. 

Can herbs replace other dietary components for my parrot? 

Herbs should complement your parrot’s diet, not replace essential components like pellets, fresh fruits, and vegetables. 

Are there herbs that can help with specific parrot health issues? 

Yes, some herbs are believed to have specific health benefits for parrots. For instance, ginger may help with digestive issues, and echinacea is thought to boost the immune system. 

Can parrots eat herbs from the garden or outdoor environment? 

It’s generally safer to offer commercially sourced herbs for parrots, as those from outdoor environments might contain pesticides, contaminants, or be toxic. 

How can I dry and store herbs for my parrot’s use? 

If you want to dry herbs for your parrot, ensure they are free of pesticides and contaminants. Hang them in a dry, well-ventilated area, and store them in airtight containers once dry to maintain freshness.

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