A magic ingredient that is worth every dog lover's attention
I am super excited to share facts about turmeric with you. In fact, if I were sent to a remote island I would make sure that I took a turmeric root with me. In today's article, my goal is to tell you about the amazing properties of turmeric. However, I want to share with you why drug companies may not like the discoveries around this natural medicine powerhouse.
Turmeric has several other names. My favourite names are Indian Safron or Nisha, which are much less known.
Most people know the name curmin or curcuma which comes from the Latin Curcumae Longa. It is also called pian jiang huan in Chinese.
Turmeric may be one of the oldest medicinal plants and is native to Southern India. It loves high rainfall and temperatures between 20 to 30C (68 to 86F). It is mainly used in curries and gives Indian meals their specific yellow colour.
I love the plant in medicine so much that I have included turmeric in SoulFood (certified organic multi-vitamin for dogs).
There are many reasons why turmeric has been catching the attention of dog lovers and holistic and natural practitioners. In fact, if I listed them all, this article would be pages long. Instead, I decided to share with you the most impressive characteristics of this amazing plant.
After many years of using it in my practice, I have seen no side-effects and many positive outcomes.
Top 10 reasons why turmeric should be in your dog's health and longevity program
1. Turmeric has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects.
Scientists confirmed turmeric is a natural antibiotic in 1949. In addition, it has also been clinically proven to be an anti-inflammatory and has anti-parasitical properties, which, in traditional medicine, has been known for millennia. (1)
2. Turmeric has been proven to be effective for plaque buildup and gingivitis.
This is really exciting news because so many dogs suffer from gingivitis (gum inflammation) and the most commonly used rinse, Chlorhexidine, is toxic.
3. Turmeric is good for the heart.
Scientists have now confirmed that curcumin protects the heart from myocardial infarction. The cardiac muscle is one of the most hard-working muscles in the body and protecting it from unnecessary inflammation is the key to good health and longevity. (2)
4. Turmeric appears to help in the prevention of diabetes.
This one may be a real surprise for many. In my mind, diabetes is often triggered by a carbohydrate-based diet and getting rid of kibble is the most important step. However, if your dog's blood sugar levels have been close to abnormal or your dog's breed carries a genetic predisposition, adding turmeric may be beneficial. (3)
5. Turmeric seems to inhibit gastric and duodenal ulcers.
Generally, I am not in favour of animal experimentation, but an experiment with laboratory rats has proven that turmeric can protect them from ulcer formation. This is really exciting because the drug based anti-inflammatories are usually known to cause ulcers. This is one of the biggest reasons why turmeric should always be used in place of chemical, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for pain/arthritis and injuries. (4)
6. Turmeric is known to reduce the chances of colon cancer.
Yes, that is correct! Scientists have confirmed in numerous studies that curcumin provides significant protection against colon cancer, a disease that affects both dogs and people. (5)
7. Turmeric reduces and slows down leukemia.
I have seen quite a few dogs with leukemia in the course of my career. The conventional options of treatment are chemotherapy. If I honestly look at the dramatic drop in quality of life in dogs on chemotherapy, visits, injections, IV's, hospitalization and treatment-related sickness, I would never submit my dog to such treatments.
However, I have personally seen some very promising results of slowing down and reducing the growth of lymphatic cancer, such as leukemia. The fact that curcumin can trigger cancer cell death (apoptosis) has now been confirmed in a study. (6)
8. Turmeric can protect DNA from radiation damage.
This one may have surprised you, but it is great news. At times where radiation release in the environment has been a serious concern, especially after the Fukushima accident.
Scientists have now confirmed that phytochemicals in turmeric can protect cells against radiation-induced damage. (7)
9. Turmeric is great for arthritis and joint pain
Many people now know that turmeric reduces joint inflammation and discomfort. In my mind, arthritis creeps up on dogs as a result of muscle weakness, joint instability, toxin build up and mineral deficiencies.
I mentioned above that pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories cause serious side-effects, such as kidney and liver damage. (8) If you are interested in more information on how to help dogs with arthritis, you can pre-register for a course here. We will let you know as soon as it is available.
10. Turmeric has been shown to have an anti-depressive and anti-suicidal effect!
To be honest, I did not know about this one until I started writing this article. Isn't this absolutely fantastic? This may not be exactly the most common use in dogs, but considering that a large portion of our society is on anti-depressants, this is very promising. (9)
People often ask me why I included turmeric in the SoulFood certified organic multivitamin formula for dogs and I hope that this article answers the question. If you source turmeric on your own from possibly non-organic sources, please note that turmeric is often the subject of adulteration is toxic dyes and colors and you have to take extra precaution.
In comparison with anti-inflammatory drugs and other pharmaceuticals that cause numerous side-effects, turmeric is without a doubt one of the most valuable gifts of nature.
I can only imagine that drug companies would love to license its composition. We all are lucky that they can't!
(1) Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2012 Mar;39(3):283-99. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1681.2011.05648.x.Discovery of curcumin, a component of golden spice, and its miraculous biological activities.Gupta SC1, Patchva S, Koh W, Aggarwal BB.
(2) Am J Cardiol. 2012 Jul 1;110(1):40-4. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2012.02.043. Epub 2012 Apr 3.Effects of curcuminoids on frequency of acute myocardial infarction after coronary artery bypass grafting.Wongcharoen W1, Jai-Aue S, Phrommintikul A, Nawarawong W, Woragidpoonpol S, Tepsuwan T, Sukonthasarn A, Apaijai N, Chattipakorn N.Author information1Department of Internal Medicine, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand.
(3) Diabetes Care. 2012 Nov;35(11):2121-7. doi: 10.2337/dc12-0116. Epub 2012 Jul 6.Curcumin extract for prevention of type 2 diabetes.Chuengsamarn S1, Rattanamongkolgul S, Luechapudiporn R, Phisalaphong C, Jirawatnotai S.
(4) J Ethnopharmacol. 1990 Apr;29(1):25-34.Evaluation of turmeric (Curcuma longa) for gastric and duodenal antiulcer activity in rats.Rafatullah S1, Tariq M, Al-Yahya MA, Mossa JS, Ageel AM.
(5) Carcinogenesis. 1993 Nov;14(11):2219-25.Inhibition by dietary curcumin of azoxymethane-induced ornithine decarboxylase, tyrosine protein kinase, arachidonic acid metabolism and aberrant crypt foci formation in the rat colon.Rao CV1, Simi B, Reddy BS.
(6) Biochim Biophys Acta. 1996 Nov 15;1317(2):95-100.Curcumin, an antioxidant and anti-tumor promoter, induces apoptosis in human leukemia cells.Kuo ML1, Huang TS, Lin JK.
(7) Anticancer Res. 1998 Sep-Oct;18(5A):3263-6.Protective action of plant polyphenols on radiation-induced chromatid breaks in cultured human cells.Parshad R1, Sanford KK, Price FM, Steele VE, Tarone RE, Kelloff GJ, Boone CW.
(8) A commercialized dietary supplement alleviates joint pain in community adults: a double-blind, placebo-controlled community trial.Nieman DC1, Shanely RA, Luo B, Dew D, Meaney MP, Sha W.
(9) Phytother Res. 2014 Apr;28(4):579-85. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5025. Epub 2013 Jul 6.Efficacy and safety of curcumin in major depressive disorder: a randomized controlled trial.Sanmukhani J1, Satodia V, Trivedi J, Patel T, Tiwari D, Panchal B, Goel A, Tripathi CB.