36 herbs for parrots | Enriching parrot diet

As parrot owners, we’re always looking for ways to enrich our bird’s daily routine and diet. Variety is the spice of life, after all, and this applies to our birds all the same. Did you know there are a bunch of herbs that you might use in your cooking that your parrot can eat? These herbs for parrots are a great way to introduce something new!

Let’s go into 36 herbs for parrots and which one are safe!

Safe & unsafe herbs for parrots

NameIs it safe for parrots?
Anise (Pimpinella anisum)Yes
Basil (Ocimum basilicum)Yes
Laurel (bay leaf; Laurus nobilis)Yes
Bayberry (genus Myrica)Yes
Bee balm (genus Monarda)Yes
Borage* (Borago officinalis)Likely yes
Calendula (genus Calendula)Yes
Caraway (Carum carvi)Seeds yes; flowers likely yes
Catnip (Nepeta cataria)Not sure
Celery leaves (Apium graveolens)Yes
Chamomile (Matricaria recutita & Anthemis nobilis)Yes, as a tea or the flowers
Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium)Yes
Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)No
Coriander (Cilantro; Coriandrum sativum)Yes
Dandelion (genus Taraxacum)Yes
Dill (Anethum graveolens)Yes
Echinacea (genus Echinacea)Likely yes, at least the dried form
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)Yes
Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium)Not sure
Garlic (Allium sativum)No
Ginger (Zingiber officinale)Yes
Ginseng (Panax ginseng)Not sure
Hibiscus (genus hibiscus)Yes
Holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum)Yes
Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana)Yes
Lavender (genus Lavandula)Yes
Lemonbalm (Melissa officinalis)Yes
Lemon verbena (Aloysia citrodora)Not sure
Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)Yes
Liquorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra)No
Marjoram (Origanum majorana)Yes
Milk thistle (Silybum marianum)Use extract or seed
Mint (genus Mentha)Yes
Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)Yes
Nasturtium (watercress; genus Tropaeolum)Yes
Nettle leaf (Urtica dioica)Yes
Oregano (Origanum vulgare)Yes
Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)Yes
Peppermint (Mentha × piperita)Yes
Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus)Yes
Saffron (Crocus sativus)Probably yes
Sage (Salvia officinalis)Yes
Sorrel (genus Rumex)Sources vary
St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum)Yes
Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana)Yes
Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus)Yes
Thyme (genus Thymus)Yes
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)Discuss with your veterinarian
Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)Not sure, topically yes
Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium)No
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)Flowers likely yes
*There is discussion about borage due to it containing pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Borage seed oil should not be used, but feeding a flower here and there shouldn’t do any harm.
36 herbs for parrots

Don’t forget…

Keep in mind that with many of the herbs listed as safe, it’s a good idea to avoid overdoing it. A sprig here and there is fine, but some plants can cause problems if you feed them too often and in large quantities. You don’t need a lot to get the benefits as well as the medicinal effects that some herbs offer.

The above especially applies to the herbs that contain high doses of essential oils, like rosemary, thyme and mint. Your bird might enjoy eating them, but they can upset its stomach in larger quantities. It also obviously applies to herbs with active properties, like milk thistle (to improve liver function), St. John’s Wort, valerian (strong sedative) and the like. This list of herbs for parrots is meant for adding some variety, not a new staple, to your parrot’s diet.

Lastly, don’t forget that any herbs you use should be free of pesticides or pollutants. Grow them yourself or buy the ones suitable for human consumption; don’t pick them from the roadside.

Tip: Want to know more about parrot diet? We have a range of informative articles on what parrots eat.


Parrots can eat many different herbs in fresh or dried form (although most tend to prefer fresh!). Some parrot owners also swear by tinctures, teas and extracts. That being said, it’s very important to remember to do your research first and to avoid overdoing things.

Have an herb to add to the list or want to share your own experiences? Be sure to leave a comment, we love hearing from our readers.

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