These days, more and more
Canadians are turning naturopathic or herbal therapies. In some cases, patients
seek out alternative medicines only after all of their more conventional options
have failed them. But natural remedies aren’t always a last resort.
Canadians make an estimated 425-million
visits to alternative medical therapy providers every year. Compare that to
just 338-million annual visits to U.S. primary-care physicians, and you’ll
notice a trend. The trend isn’t unique to humans either. More and more pet
owners are choosing herbal and alternative remedies in favor of the more
traditional, and more expensive, Western alternatives.
Take acupuncture for example.
This natural procedure has been helping humans for centuries. When used on
pets, it can help relieve severe pain or alleviate discomfort from arthritis.
Homeopathy also offers healthier alternatives for chronic skin disorders,
without all of the long-term side effects of cortisone.
Specific herbs and alternative
remedies have also been shown to promote better health in everything with a
heartbeat. Some improve vitality, some encourage a healthier immune system,
while others still increase an individual’s resistance to disease. It’s true! The
proper and regular use of holistic or complementary medicines can improve your
pet’s quality of life.
If you’re looking to discover
which holistic options will help your pet the most then you’ve come to the
right place. Below, you’ll find a comprehensive breakdown of the most popular,
and parrot friendly, herbal and alternative remedies on the market today.
TREATMENTS FOR PARROTS
Years ago, only the most progressive
bird keepers used herbal remedies to care for their pets. That’s because, back
then, there were no guidelines or recommended dosages readily available to the
public. But, as time, technology and the herbal medicine market progressed, the
bird community established a reliable system of instructions and dosage levels.
In order to determine the
appropriate dosage for small to medium sized birds, parrot owners used the
recommended dosage for a 10-pound human infant. Using that number as a
base-line, bird keepers went on to calculate one-tenth of an infant’s dosage.
The resulting number went on to determine a single dose for their beloved
Looking for the right herbal
remedy to treat your parrot? The following is a list of other herbs and the conditions for which
they can be used in the treatment of parrots. Please remember to consult your avian veterinarian before administering any of the below herbal remedies as a precaution.
alleviate the symptoms of allergies and arthritis by removing toxins from the
the blood by neutralizing acids.
in the absorption of protein, calcium and other essential dietary nutrients.
applied topically, aloe gel can help heal small cuts, abrasions, and rashes on
capsaicin, which helps stimulate appetite.
natural treatment for sinus congestion in parrots.
used topically, cayenne has potent anti-inflammatory properties.
Parrots love the taste!
heals wounds, abrasions and skin conditions.
for birds who are prone to feather picking.
for birds with skin allergies.
used as an anti-inflammatory.
o One of nature’s
safest (and mildest) sedatives.
o Used to calm birds in
been shown to kill the yeast fungi Candida albicans as
well as certain staph bacteria.
against the fungal effect of candida and other types of yeast,
o Has a
mild, anti-bacterial effect against strep and staph bacteria.
in diseases of the liver and digestive organs.
in the treatment of arthritis.
o Stimulates the immune system.
speed recovery of poxvirus and in debilitated birds.
o Promotes eye health.
A strong eyebright tea can be used as a wash to aid
discomfort from irritated eyes for all pets.
o Powerful anti-oxidant.
anti-parasitic properties used to kill intestinal parasites.
the liver from chemical pollutants in the air, food, and water.
at the University of Cambridge in England found that garlic juice is as strong
as the popular antifungal drugs Amphotericin and
Nystatin, when treating against Candida (a common fungal
problem in parrots).
o Garlic should
be used sparingly, and in the form of fresh garlic slices. Avoid the use of garlic
powder. One or two thin slices once or twice a week is sufficient.
much garlic may cause anemia in some animals if used excessively for a
prolonged period of time.
motion sickness when parrots must travel.
o Add a
few drops of ginger extract to the water, along with slices of fresh ginger the
night before a planned travel.
in treating nausea and regurgitation.
§ KAVA KAVA (member of the pepper family)
o Has mild
sedative and tranquilizing effects.
be used to treat feather plucking and hyperactivity.
with caution: kava kava is quite strong, and therefore must be used sparingly.
been shown to eliminate nervous tension, relieve pain, disinfect the skin,
enhance blood circulation, and treat respiratory problems.
§ MILK THISTLE
contain silymarin, a flavonoid that has been shown to treat liver disorders.
thistle is the main herbal ingredient of Aloe Detox, and the number one herb
for the treatment of all liver problems.
been used to treat liver disorders without side effects for years.
enjoyable for many parrot species.
o Most birds are
also greatly appreciative if a piece of fresh thyme makes it into
their feed bowl. Not only does thyme smell great but it eradicates
worms, helps with diarrhea and has antibacterial properties.
§ PASSION FLOWER
incarnata, often referred to as Maypop, acts as a gentle sedative.
of the best natural parrot tranquilizers.
parrots, or those with compulsive behavior patterns like feather destruction,
may benefit from Passion Flower.
§ PAU D’ARCO (a.k.a. Taheebo)
Effective against candida and intestinal parasites
in both humans and parrots.
Considered a “miracle bark”.
§ ST. JOHN’S WORT
hypericum, which has anti-depressant properties.
used as a natural substitute for Haloperidol in some feather-plucking parrots.
St. John’s Wort could cause problem for parrots that live outside with access
to direct sunlight. A study of sheep that ingested extremely large
quantities of pure hypericum-perforatum and died of phototoxicity. This may or
may not apply to parrots. To date, there have been no studies published on the
use of St. John’s Wort in parrots.
§ SEAWEEDS (Kelp, Wakame, Undaria, Kombu, Nori, etc.)
parrots from gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria known to potentiate
anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-tumor properties.
promote a strong immune system.
§ SLIPPERY ELM
o Used topically
to treat wounds, burns, rashes, abscesses,
boils, or insect bites.
o Used internally
to treat lungs complications, coughing, and
as a sedative and pain reliever.
than most other herbal sedatives.
only be used after consulting an experienced herbalist.
topically in a spray, it has astringent and healing properties.
to relieve itching.
be used in addition to or as an alternative to aloe vera spray I nthe treatment
of itchy skin.
CAUTION: Witch hazel is preserved with alcohol, so
it should not be sprayed near the face of a parrot.
HERBAL PRODUCTS TO AVOID
toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids.
o Can cause
severe liver toxicity.
toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids.
cause a dangerous increase in heart rate and blood pressure.
cause liver toxicity.
sodium and water retention.
the depletion of potassium.
§ MA HUANG
caused heart attacks, seizures, psychotic episodes and death in humans.
§ LIFE ROOT
cause liver toxicity.
§ LOBELIA (a.k.a. Indian Tobacco)
Can cause vomiting, convulsions, coma and death.
oil is highly toxic to the liver and can lead to blood clotting.
some look to Yohimbe bark as a possible aphrodisiac for non-producing, mature breeding
parrots, the herb is currently is on the USFDA
unsafe herb list as of March 1977.
is no proof of effectiveness in animal or human studies.
is a powerful drug which can cause the dilation of blood vessels in both animals
can cause weakness, paralysis, gastrointestinal
problems and even psychosis in humans.
Experimentation using this herb with parrots could be
It’s important to note that medicinal herbs
contain powerful, pharmacologically active compounds — in other words, herbs
contain drugs. Like drugs, herbal remedies
should be used with caution.
There is also very little government or
industry oversight or regulation in the sale or medical use of herbs. Which can
make things difficult for bird owners seeking out the best natural remedies for
their pets. Unfortunately, it’s up to us bird-keepers to learn as much as
possible on our own.
Thankfully you don’t have to navigate the
complicated world of natural remedies on your own. Through exhaustive
research and invaluable consultations with veterinarians and herbologists, The
Parrot Shop has developed our very own line of parrot herbals, finely crafted
to increase your pet’s quality of life! Take a look, and if you have any
questions about any of the products below, shoot us a line at [email protected]
Calming Herb Blend
This fragrant blend of chamomile, lavender and
passion flower is designed promote relaxation, and is especially useful in calming
your bird during high hormone season. The Parrot Shop’s Calming Herb Blend is
recommended for birds who are prone to feather picking, screaming or suffer
from high anxiety.
Glowing and Gorgeous Feathers Blend
This all-natural blend relies on a combination
of chamomile, calendula, rose petals and lavender to promote healthy skin. The
Parrot Shop’s Glowing and Gorgeous Feathers Blend is great for restoring
feathers and skin back to bright and beautiful.
Liver Detox Blend
The Liver Detox Blend features Milk Thistle,
Dandelion, Burdock Root, Organic Oregano, Hibiscus and Rose Petals, and enjoys
the countless liver-healing properties. Highly recommended for birds who are
transitioning away from a fully seed-based diet or have a history of liver problems.
Liver Detox Powder Blend
Made from Milk Thistle, Dandelion and Burdock
Root, this blend uses all-natural ingredients and enjoys many healing
properties. The powder can easily be dissolved in your Parrot’s water dish, for
more accurate dosage control. Great for birds who were previously on an all
seed-based diet and/or experiencing liver issues.
This fragrant blend of Marigold, Rose Petals,
Rose Hips, Hibiscus, Chamomile, Calendula and Lavender is a treat for
birds that crave edible flowers. Flowers have natural healing properties and
are a great addition to your bird’s diet. The Parrot Shop’s Botanical Blend is particularly
beneficial for Lorikeets.