Friday, April 30, 2010 Dr. Paul Gibbons Avian Nutrition

Saturday, June 26, 2010 Cookie Cockatoo’s 77th Bird-day party at Brookfield Zoo

Friday, July 30, 2010 Annual Bird Show-n-Tell

Friday, October 29, 2010 TBD

Saturday, December 11, 2010 Annual Holiday Party  

*Speakers for 2011 and 2012 are booking now. If you are interested in speaking or know someone that you feel may be beneficial to invite to speak at TASC, please email


The Importance of Tea
Benefits for Humans & Other Animals


Karen Shaw Becker, DVM, NMD


Types of teas

n    Green

n    Black

n    White

n    Herbal


Tea plant: Camellia sinensis


n    Small, evergreen shrub

n    Habitat: primarily grown in Japan, China

n    The harvested leaves produce green, black, oolong and white teas

n    Variance in flavors due to processing


What’s the difference?

n    Green: young leaves picked and dried quickly, minimally oxidized then fired

n    Black: complete oxidation of the mature leaf prior to firing

n    Oolong: leaves are rolled after harvesting, allowing the volatile oils to react with air. Very slow oxidation prior to firing

n    White: picked before the leaf buds have opened (buds are covered with short, white hairs), leaves are steamed and dried quickly


Green Tea Health Benefits:


n     Polyphenols (potent antioxidants):

n     scavenge free radicals (20-30 times the potency of vitamin E)

n    Vitamin C: strengthens immune system

n    Lowers LDL cholesterol

n    Increases HDL cholesterol

n    Reduces blood pressure

n    Nutrients: carotene, B1, B2, B6. Folic Acid, Manganese, potassium


Other benefits

n      American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found green tea significantly increased energy expenditure and fat oxidation


n      American Association for Cancer Research found green tea has the ability to prevent gene damage (associated with the onset of cancer)


n      Contains epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) which slows angiogenesis (tumor blood vessel growth)


n      Clinical studies confirm green tea’s role in reducing heart disease, incidence of stroke


Black Tea Health Benefits:


n    Antioxidants keep blood vessels supple, promote healthy blood flow

n    Flavonoids reduce incidence of atherosclerosis (narrowing of arteries)

n    Tannins: Chelate heavy metals, mainly lead and iron (used at Berlin Zoo with rhinos, Ramphastids, mynahs and tanagers for iron flushing)


White Tea Health Benefits:


n    Strongly inhibits mutagenicity (a result of unrepaired DNA damage), potent anti-cancer properties

n    Abundant polyphenols (antioxidants)

n    Aids the body in metabolizing carcinogens



n    Green, black, oolong and white teas must be decaffeinated for birds

n    Purchase teas that are decaffeinated by water and carbon dioxide (to retain the polyphenols) NOT ethyl acetate

n    Herbal teas are naturally caffeine-free


Herbal Teas:

n     Chamomile:

n    Significant increases in urinary hippurate (a breakdown product of polyphenols) which has antibiotic properties

n    Increases in urinary glycine, an amino acid that has been shown to relieve muscle spasms

n    Contains nerve relaxants (acts like a natural calmative/sedative)

n    Beneficial for insomnia (and nightmares), pain, stress, hyperactivity, anxiety

n    Digestive tonic, IBD

Herbal Teas:

n     Rose hips

n    Natural source of vitamin C and bioflavonoids. Potent blood, liver and kidney tonic. Use for fatigue, recovery from illness

n     Peppermint

n    G.I. upset, antiseptic properties, anti-viral

n     Ginger root

n    Improves circulation,  anti-nausea, good for arthritis

n     Anise seed (parsley family)

n    Aids digestion, soothes cough, bronchitis


Herbal teas:


n     St. John’s Wort

n    Mental calmness, anti-anxiety, anti-OCD

n     Raspberry

n    Rich in calcium, magnesium

n    Considered a “female” tonic (used at Berlin Zoo for pregnant Babirusa and other animals to aid in uterine contraction)

n     Echinacea

n    Immune stimulation (interferon and T cell activity)



Herbal Teas:

n     Essiac

n    Founded in 1922 by Canadian nurse Rene Caisse

n    Several herbs, including burdock root, sheep sorrel, slippery elm, Indian rhubarb

n    Used to restore health to thousands of individuals (cancer)

n    Herbs are used to help cleanse the blood, nourish the immune system


Herbal teas:

n     Rooibos (“Red” tea)

n    Grown high in the mountains of South Africa

n    Mineral rich (low tannins)

n    Contains natural anti-spasmodics (helps with colic, indigestion, muscle fatigue)

n    Rich in flavonoids, especially aspalathin, which is anti-allergenic, anti-inflammatory

n    Contains alpha-hydroxy acid, antioxidants and SOD

n    Potent anti-mutagenic components that inhibits chromosomal breakdown

n    Abundant oligosaccharides that are anti-viral




Brewing hints:

n    Use hot, not boiling water to make tea

n    Let the tea cool completely before offering it to your birds

n    Remove the tea bag before serving

n    If your bird is suspicious, steep tea for a shorter period (make tea more dilute)

n    Substitute tea for water when making soft foods, pasta, rice, etc.

n    Never replace water with tea!  Suggests a fresh water source daily.



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