Information about essential oils that may be beneficial for birds.
January 17, 2007
SAFE USE OF THERAPEUTIC GRADE ESSENTIAL OILS FOR BIRDS*
The following is a list of all the therapeutic grade essential oils used by the EssentialBird list owners on their own birds over the past year or so. We are providing this list for educational purposes only. The list is compiled from personal experience; please keep in mind that the authors make no guarantees concerning the safety or effectiveness of any of these essential oils. Before using any of the essential oils mentioned in this list we urge you to first determine the safety of the essential oil or blend for yourself.
Bird Species that have been diffused with some of the essential oils in this list include: finches, canaries, chickens and parrots including budgies, Princess of Wales parakeets, an Eclectus, an Umbrella Cockatoo, a Quaker, and African Greys. As of the date above, no negative reactions have been observed with our own use of these essential oils on our own birds. We invite you to use the other reference materials on this site concerning the safe use of essential oils with birds and to join the EssentialBird list to learn and share information with others.
It is extremely important to only use the highest quality therapeutic grade essential oils. However, many essential oils claim to be therapeutic grade and in fact contain chemicals which can prove fatal to birds. For this reason, we only recommend essential oils from the following companies, all of which are highly reputable and have long track records of safe essential oil use.
Single Essential Oils
Contact any Authorized Young Living Distributor
Original Swiss Aromatics
RAVENSARA (Ravensara aromatica): antiviral, may help support the immune system, may help maintain healthy lung function
LAVENDER (Lavandula angustifolia): gently calming and antimicrobial
LAURUS NOBILIS: also known as Bay Laurel; antibacterial and antiviral, high in antioxidants, may be uplifting and calming, may help support the digestive and respiratory systems
THYME (Thymus vulgaris): broad spectrum antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, a very strong essential oil that should be used conservatively; according to Kurt Schnaubelt, PhD Thymus vulg. thujanol may be effective against chlamydia
GERMAN CHAMOMILE (Matricaria recutita): a calming and anti-inflammatory essential oil that may also be beneficial for the liver; calming effects may help with behavioral issues; anti-inflammatory properties may be helpful for skin irritation andfeather plucking issues
HELICRYSUM (Helichrysum italicum): an anti-inflammatory and extremely effective wound healing essential oil, which may help regenerate tissue; useful for controlling pain and decreasing bruising; also may be used for feather plucking issues
FRANKINCENSE (Boswellia carteri): may help stimulate and elevate the mind; it's comforting properties may help overcome stress and despair; this oil is also known for its ability to reduce or eliminate tumors and to aid in lung conditions (use caution in birds with congestive lung issues as frankincense can be mucolytic)
PALMAROSA (Cymbopogon martini): an essential oil with strong antiviral properties, antiseptic, antifungal, a powerful broad spectrum bactericidal – use Palmarosa in addition to Thieves, Ravensara, or Purification for best results with infections in birds.
YLANG YLANG (Cananga odorata): may be effective in calming and bringing about a sense of relaxation; may help release feelings of anger, tension, and nervous irritability; high in antioxidants
LEMONGRASS (Cymbopogon flexuosus): this oil may be used as an antimicrobial, an anti-inflammatory, an insect repellent, for kidney disorders, to regenerate connective tissue, and as an aid in cancer treatment. I have found that high dilutions of lemongrass can be overly stimulating to birds; therefore I recommend doses of 3 to 5% to be used in a diffuser. Birds seem to tolerate these lower dilutions well. Lemongrass is a strong oil that can cause extreme skin irritation. Use with respect and care.
LEDUM (ledum groenlandicum): Ledum may be helpful for liver and kidney detoxification and may help resolve diseases of the kidneys and liver. It may also be helpful in reducing tumors. Since tumors and kidney/liver diseases can be life threatening, aggressive, topical application may be needed. Please do not attempt this without working under the supervision of someone who has experience with topical EO application in birds.
Essential Oil Blend
THIEVES: a blend of powerful antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral essential oils that may help support the immune system; acts as a gently energetic stimulant in birds and effectively stimulates appetite; contains clove (Syzygium aromaticum), lemon (Citrus limon), cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum), Eucalyptus radiata and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis CT 1,8 cineol)
PURIFICATION: a blend of antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal essential oils that may help purify and cleanse the air and may be effective at controlling mold spores; can be used to disinfect birdrooms; contains citronella (Cymbopogon nardus), lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus), rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), Melaleuca (Melaleuca alternifolia) lavandin (Lavandula x hybrida), and myrtle (Myrtus communis)
JOY: an emotionally uplifting blend which can be used for both human caretakers and their birds; contains bergamot (Citrus bergamia), ylang ylang (Cananga odorata), geranium (Pelargonium graveolens), rosewood (Aniba rosaeodora), lemon (Citrus limon), mandarin (Citrus reticulata), jasmine (Jasminum officinale), Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile),palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii), and rose (Rosa damascena)
PEACE AND CALMING: a calming blend that may promote relaxation and decrease stress; contains tangerine (Citrus nobilis), orange (Citrus aurantium), ylang ylang (Cananga odorata), patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) and blue tansy (Tanacetum annuum)
CITRUS FRESH: rich in the powerful antioxidant d-limonene, this calming blend may support the immune system and overall health while bringing about a sense of well-being; may also be effective as an air purifier; contains orange (Citrus aurantium), tangerine (Citrus nobilis),mandarin (Citrus reticulata), grapefruit (Citrus paradisi), lemon (Citrus limon), and spearmint (Mentha spicata)
TRAUMA LIFE: this blend contains spruce, which is a stimulant, and should only be used short term; may be particularly useful for helping with recovery from sudden traumatic events such as accidents, sudden loss of a partner or companion, death of loved ones, natural disasters, etc; helps the body process shock; I think of this blend as a powerful version of the flower essence formula called Rescue Remedy; contians Valerian (Valeriana officinalis), Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Frankincense (Boswellia carteri), Sandalwood (Santalum album), Rose (Rosa damascena), Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum), Spruce (Picea mariana), Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens), Davana (Artemisia pallens), Citrus hystrix (Citrus hystrix)
All of the above listed essential oils and blends have been used via a diffuser. Please see the article entitled GUIDELINES FOR THE SAFE USE OF ESSENTIAL OIL DIFFUSERS WITH BIRDS for more information on how to use a diffuser. In rare cases, essential oils may need to be applied topically. As topical application carries some risks, we recommend that you consult the EssentialBird list if your bird is seriously ill and may need topical treatment.
Always remember when using essential oils for birds that you must stop using the oil immediately if the bird shows any signs of distress in response to the oil. Also, it is not a good idea to use two blends at the same time as their effects can be counteracted. However, adding a single essential oil to a blend is fine, as long as those oils are compatible. Finally, do not diffuse oils for more than five days in a row without taking a one or two day break to allow the bird’s body to process the essential oils.
Please note that many of the potentially dangerous oils can be recognized by their low prices; please avoid all inexpensive oils as they are most certainly not therapeutic grade and could be dangerous for your birds.
ESSENTIAL OILS THAT MAY BE HELPFUL IN BIRD EMERGENCIES
THIEVES for most types of bacterial, fungal and viral infections
PURIFICATION for most types of infections, especially fungal
RAVENSARA for viral infections (should be added to Thieves or Purification to enhance their effectiveness)
PEACE AND CALMING for stress
HELICRYSUM for healing wounds, to decrease bleeding, reduce swelling, and reduce pain
TRAUMA LIFE for assisting with recovery from physical or emotional trauma and shock (for short term use)
Diffusing can be very effective for emergency situations. Before diffusing any essential oil around your birds, please read the article entitled GUIDELINES FOR THE SAFE USE OF ESSENTIAL OIL DIFFUSERS WITH BIRDS.
Leanne Burton and Lainey Alexander
Disclaimer: *Statements in this document have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. None of the information shared in this document is intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or prescribe for any disease; nor is it intended as a replacement for the services of a qualified practitioner or veterinarian. All information is a result of our personal research and based upon our personal experience. The authors of this document may not be held liable for the use or misuse of any of the information provided and any individual choosing to use this information assumes all responsibility for doing so.