Milk thistle and Aloe Vera


charlie red lored amazon
Charlie was diagnosed with Liver disease when he was rescued

“Milk Thistle, sylibum marianum, is a wonderful herb for the liver. It has been shown to protect the liver and heal liver cells. Its active ingredients are found in the fruiting bodies, the seeds, and the entire plant. The content of silymarin is highest in the fruiting body! Although there are fewer liver-healing properties in the seeds, birds will readily eat these tasty millet-size seeds, making milk thistle seeds an excellent addition to the diet for any bird with liver problems.

There is a nutraceutical extract of milk thistle called silymarin, which is a flavonoid having an affinity for the liver. It is used quite commonly in Japan and Europe for acute liver toxicosis. It’s primarily used to regenerate hepatocytes, where it improves the flow of bile and fat to and from the liver. If used in too high a dose, however, it can cause loose stools due to the increase in bile it produces. Milk thistle, or silymarin, is one of the best herbs for liver cirrhosis, hepatitis, acute toxicosis of the liver, and fatty liver disease. It is also beneficial for bile duct inflammation and is a potent anti-oxidant. Glutathione is one of the most important hepatic detoxification pathways of the body, and milk thistle increases glutathione content in the liver by up to 35 percent.” David McCluggage, DVM

We use at the rescue, Milk Thistle seeds for maintaining liver support but when we have a bird with a liver health issue, we use ‘Silamarie’ by Bio-Health. This is Milk Thistle fruits (Silymarin) with no other added ingredients. These are 450mg (powder) per capsule.

Usage: Approximately ¼ of the MT powder, then divide in half (1/8th ) to give each dose per 1 soft hand-feed x twice daily. If feces become too loose, reduce the dose. Warning: it is possible the stools will turn very dark green to black. Don’t be alarmed, as the MT is doing its job, thus cleansing the liver and bile ducts of accumulated rubbish and toxins from the liver. 

Further information on Milk Thistle:


Another additional treatment, alongside Milk Thistle nutraceutical extract for liver (and kidney) disease, is 'Aloe Vera Herbal Detox Formula' by Lily of the Desert

Usage: Aloe detox does not eradicate bacteria like antibiotics so you are not going to need a probiotic to follow the treatment. Dosing: start the bird out on 1 half capful to 1 pint of water. Once the bird is used to the taste, increase it to 1 capful to 1 pint of water. !f the bird is sick or you think he/she may have ingested something toxic, give the formula at 50/50, or stronger, as long as they drink it. Store the opened Aloe Detox bottle in the fridge, as it then has a long shelf-life.

We have successfully used Aloe Vera Herbal Detox Formula alongside the Milk Thistle nutraceutical extract with two parrots here at the rescue. One of the parrots had a severe kidney infection that later compromised the health of his liver. Both birds made a full recovery

Additional supporting links: 

Compiled by Julie Hamilton, New Life Parrot Rescue & Helpline Service (UK) Charity Reg No: 1056409


Author Monika Sangar 

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