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
|Name||Is 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|
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.