Parrots, birds in fact, do not catch colds. Therefore, any symptoms that would appear to be a cold by human-judged standards is likely to be something else. Because birds have delicate respiratory systems, any wheezing, breathing difficulty or discharge should be looked at by a veterinarian with experience dealing with birds. If, however, you do not have access to a veterinarian and/or conventional medications have not helped, there are some natural remedies that may boost your bird's immune system to help.
Herbal Remedies for Parrots
Aloe detox appears to be an herbal remedy that has gained appreciation from many avian veterinarians across the U.S. This herbal remedy contains aloe vera gel with aloe pulp and a herbal blend of milk thistle, burdock, dandelion, echinacea, green tea, red clover and blue cohash. It can be found at health food stores or at Naturade's website. It has been said to have helped parrots when conventional medicine had failed.
For general immune system boosting, try the herb echinacea. Echinacea possess antibacterial properties. As well, it is believed to speed recovery in some instances of poxvirus. Seaweeeds, too, are immunostimulants with anti-fungal, antiviral, and anti-tumor properties.
Cayenne is used as an appetite stimulator in parrots as well as for treating sinus congestion. Most parrots will like its hot, peppery taste. And because illness often comes with stress, chamomile can be used to de-stress your parrot. Chamomile also kills yeast fungi Candida albicans and some staph bacteria. Cinnamon possesses mild anti-fungal properties, potentially effective against candida, other yeasts, and aspergillus. As well, it acts like a mild anti-bacterial, combating strep and staph bacteria. Pau d'arco is called the "miracle bark" and has anti-fungal properties. It combats candida and intestinal parasites in parrots and humans both. For coughing and vomiting, try slippery elm.
If trying an herbal remedy, be sure to carefully determine the dosage. Dosages for many herbs will be given in terms of a human adult. If the dosage is given for a 10 pound baby, take that dosage and divide it by 10. Then, consider starting with a smaller dose than that, increasing it (if necessary) to the full dose of 1/10th that for a baby.
Herbs to Avoid
While the right herb may help your parrot, the wrong one may prove toxic. If in doubt, check with your veterinarian before giving your parrot any herbs. Herbs to avoid include: borage, calamus, chapparal, coltsfoot, comfrey, ephedra, germander, licorace, life root, lobelia, ma huang, pennyroyal, pokeroot, sassafras and yohimbe.