Monday, 14 February 2011

Milk Thistle Detox

Right now we are having a little detox in our family. It includes taking milk thistle daily. Those detoxing are the budgies and Digby, and I might join in soon too.
For detox I use Milk Thistle tincture, but it has to be glycerine based and not alcohol based. I get mine from HERE

Milk Thistle is quite a safe herb. It can cause allergic reactions in people with allergies to the flowers of the daisy family but that is about the only warning on it, if used correctly.

Milk Thistle has long been known for its liver healing properties. Silymarin, the active compound of milk thistle, protects liver cells from toxic compounds, thus allowing it to restore itself in the meantime. Milk thistle is also used in treatment of diabetes as it helps to control insulin levels. It's been shown to possess anti-cancer properties too. So all in all it is a great herb for humans and animals alike, with no side effects.

When using remedies meant for humans we usually establish the dose for the animals by extrapolating it from the human dosage. It's suggested to use 3ml per day for humans. Considering an average parrot is about 100 times smaller than an average human the dose for a 500g parrot would be 0.03ml. 1ml is about 25 drops. So if you were to give the tincture directly in the beak you would need to give about 0.7 drops, which is practically impossible. So a reasonable thing to do is to add about 3-4 drops per 200ml bowl of water. For smaller birds, like budgies, who are prone to liver disease, milk thistle will be great too. Mine get 1 drop in a 50ml of water
It's obvious the parrot won't drink the whole bowl of water in a day so no way will overdose and should get just about the right amount to give his liver a little helping hand.

I give milk thistle for 6 days and then give them one day rest. The course will continue for about a month or two.

The liver is a vital organ and the one which often suffers in parrots because they have to deal with a huge amount of toxins on a daily basis which come from their food (in a form of residual fertilisers and pesticides), toys and their paints, etc. Inappropriate diet causes a lot of liver problems too. So supporting liver through this natural and safe therapy sounds like a good idea.


  1. my budgies dropping look like they need milk thistle i have ordered a small alchol free shall i put 1 drop in his water does it taste bitter i dont want to put him off his water

  2. I would suggest taking your budgie to an avian vet because there could be an infection going on and that is why the liver is affected. But only a test can tell.
    You can start with 1 drop and if your budgie is ok with it, increase the dose, but to how much depends on how big your water bowl is. Milk thistle is a pretty safe supplement otherwise.


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