Most people are familiar with the turmeric spice used in Indian and Asian cooking. Turmeric is a member of the ginger family, a native to middle eastern and southeast Asian countries. It has been used in cooking for thousands of years and has been widely used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for centuries for its many health benefits. The active ingredient is curcumin which is an anti-inflammatory and is therefore a great food additive for pets as well as people.
Curcumin may also help to stimulate bile production which can help the liver to process fats and remove waste from the body. It has shown promising results in studies for cancer and may help to reduce the negative side-effects of chemotherapy.
Turmeric has been used for its ability to purify the blood, for detoxification and as a liver, heart and stomach tonic. It has been used to aid in the healing of wounds, especially when mixed with raw honey, and it is also a powerful antioxidant. (Antioxidants help to neutralize free radicals.)
Turmeric has also been used to help remove parasites when taken internally and may be used externally for ringworm. It may also help to relieve allergy symptoms.
Turmeric is not a ‘cure all’, however it has definite health benefits for people and animals. It is safe to use for dogs, cats and horses. You can use the crushed fresh root or the powder. It is best to purchase a high quality turmeric powder rather than one from a supermarket which may be grown using pesticides and have a lower potency when using for its health benefits.
The ‘downside’ of using turmeric can be that your white dog or cat may end up with an orange moustache! The powder may stain so you will need to be careful when handling it.
It is important to note that the active ingredient in turmeric has bio-availability issues and is therefore not so easily absorbed when taken orally. To further improve the absorption and health benefits when giving turmeric to your animals, combine it with either lecithin and water or use coconut oil and ground black pepper (as in the Turmericle) and combine to make a turmeric paste. Here is a simple recipe that can be made up at home.
HOW TO MAKE TURMERIC PASTE
Place 1 cup of water in a pot. Add 1/2 cup of Greenpet turmeric powder, stir well with a whisk and then simmer on low-medium heat for 7 to 10 minutes until it turns into a paste. Remove from heat, add 1/4 to 1/3 cup of coconut oil, stir well, then add 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper and stir well. Store in a glass jar in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.
To avoid staining white mouths, freeze the paste in ice-cube trays to administer.
Turmeric may be beneficial for diarrhea as it has a binding effect hence it is very important to ensure your animal drinks plenty of water when giving turmeric to avoid constipation.
If your animal has an existing health condition, is taking medication, is pregnant or about to undergo surgery, it is important to check with your vet or qualified animal practitioner before administering turmeric medicinally as it does have some contraindications.