By now most of you have probably heard the buzz about turmeric (or curcumin) as a natural alternative for pain relief. You can find a plethora of turmeric supplements in health food and the average grocery store. A quick internet search just brought up a consumer review that claims to have tested 62 different supplement brands to help you find the best one…at a price.
While capsules and tablets may be convenient, their price makes them a bit hard to, ehm, swallow. And depending on your body’s constitution, your diet and metabolism as well as the manufacturing of the pills, they might not completely breakdown into the useable components needed. That would be money pissed away (quite literally). So why not make your own supplement? It’s easy and (relatively) inexpensive!
Golden Paste is just a simplified name for a blend of turmeric, fat, and black pepper. All three work together to allow for absorption of the super-benefits of curcumin. Turmeric is fat-soluble, so without adding fat as a “carrier” it simply passes right through the intestines with very little absorption. The addition of black pepper increases the bioavailability of curcumin by up to 2000%.
There are plenty of blog posts, articles and scientific studies out there touting the many benefits of curcumin so I’m not going to go into detail about them all…I want to get these recipes to you asap…but here’s a shortlist to peruse.
This can be inflammation that causes things from arthritis to colitis. Studies are being conducted that indicates curcumin may be better than NSAIDs and come without the side effects. I was introduced to turmeric as a daily supplement (in the form of Golden Milk, which we’ll get to later) in yoga school. We did 4 hours of yoga asana (poses) as well as 1 hour of seated meditation on a wooden floor daily. Our evening Golden Milk was not just a delicious treat, it helped our bodies with inflammation and pain management from our daily activities.
2- Pain Relief
Black pepper and curcumin have each been shown to provide pain relief through their anti-inflammatory actions. Pain is usually accompanied by inflammation.
3- Possible cancer benefits
Studies are underway, specifically for breast cancer research.
4- Digestive system protection
From helping to reduce to peptic ulcers to supporting healthy gut bacteria, turmeric has a protective component to our digestive system.
5- Anti-oxidant and other benefits
You can simply Google “turmeric” or “Golden Paste/Milk” and find the many ways people and animals are finding relief from various illnesses. Some might not have the science backing up the claims (yet) but it’s clear that there is a wide range of possible benefits from ingesting turmeric on a daily basis.
Important notice: curcumin can interfere with some medicines. Check with your doctor or pharmacist before combining! There’s a fantastic Facebook Group called Turmeric Users Group who can help provide information regarding drug interactions. You should join!
For us to get the benefits, turmeric needs to be cooked. This is not the case for horses. Here’s the ridiculously easy recipe almost anyone can make at home:
Golden Paste Recipe
4 ounces turmeric powder (measured by weight NOT measuring cup)
1-2 cups water
1 tablespoon pippali (or ground pepper)
3/4 cup coconut oil
In a saucepan whisk together turmeric and one cup of water. Place on medium heat and bring to boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for about 7 minutes stirring often to prevent sticking. Add up to one additional cup of water to get the desired thickness (think “paste” similar to smooth peanut butter). Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients. Pour into jars while still warm, seal with a lid and refrigerate.
Can be stored for about 2-3 weeks in a cold fridge.
Dosage: Please do your own research here…I am not an expert. I do not have kids and can’t tell you how much to feed your little ones. From the literature out there it is recommended that adults start with 1/4 tsp twice a day and increase to no more than 3 tsp daily. I personally take 2 teaspoon (or more) in my golden milk in the evening or a teaspoon in my smoothie in the morning. Also, remember, more is not always better. If you get bloating, upset stomach or loose stools cut back. (Why? Well, we’re getting old-er and with farmwork comes some aches and pains. Plus, Golden Paste offers benefits that I can’t argue with…like possible cancer prevention, anti-oxidant action, fighting inflammation and general health.)
Our Dogs: Nellie (under 10 pounds) 1/8th tsp daily (Why? she suffers from PATELLAR LUXATION or knee cap slippage)
Happy & Benny (over 40 pounds each) 1/2 tsp daily (Why? Benny has been showing signs of hip pain…possibly dysplasia…since he was 2. Happy appears healthy in most regards other than possible PTSD from his rough start on the reservation)
Our Cats: 1/8th tsp daily (Why? Miso is about 10 years old and can’t get around as she used to…she’s also borderline obese despite a reduced diet. Linda is healthy so it’s more of a preventative)
Our mini-horse, donkey and burro: 1 tsp daily ( Why? Hank the little burro is 35+ years old and has stiff joints, bad teeth, and curiously scarred hooves from an old injury. Margarita appears healthy but donkeys are stoic. She has had issues with flies causing skin irritations and had a bout of thrush. Maggie had a bad case of thrush with lameness. All are well now.)
Our goats: 1/2 tsp daily (Why? Dot and Buster are healthy but they’re also goats. Buster had a crazy horn that curved during growth and was headed toward his head. We tried to saw it off but the horn popped off during the procedure and left his nub raw and sore. Mostly for general support.)
Our pot-belly pig: 1/2 tsp daily (Why? Fletcher is healthy but pigs tend to suffer from dry, itchy skin, eye infections, and sore joints.)
Our chickens/turkey: 1 tablespoon in their daily feed…we have 13 eating out of this. (Why? Preventative for skin issues as well as general health. It seems if birds get ill they can downhill faster than you have time to figure it out.)
How to consume:
For us humans we have choices. You can add your dose on top of your rice bowl or in your veggies or even into a smoothie. I’ve made banana soft serve “ice cream” (just frozen bananas blended smooth) and mixed my golden paste in it for a tasty treat. You can mix it in yogurt or make a traditional Golden Milk but simply heating up the milk of your choice (cow, goat, almond, cashew, etc) and mixing in a spoonful of golden paste add in a dash of cinnamon, ginger and/or cardamom. Some people poo-poo on adding any kind of sweetener, even honey, as it can be inflammatory and feeds yeasts but it sure is delicious (and how we drank it at yoga school). Find your own way!
For the dogs, I add their dose to dry food and moisten it with warm water so it melts and mixes into the food. Some people make little treats or stuff store-bought treats with the paste but our dogs seem to eat it just fine when we wet their food.
For the cats, I mix their dose into their wet food.
For the pig and chickens, I ferment their food by placing a serving of their grains in a bucket and covering with water. I add a splash of whey or kefir and allow it to sit overnight or 12 hours, then I stir in their dose of golden paste. Super simple.
For the horse, donkey, and goats, well, talk about tricky! Our barnyard friends are on pretty strict diets because they’re chunky…and susceptible to bad things like founder and cushings and other irreversible illnesses. So they don’t really get much more than limited pasture time and a little low sugar hay (in the winter). Hank, who is 35+ years old and needs a little extra nutrition…and is not fat…gets a small amount of low sugar probiotic feed called Safe Conditioner twice a day.
I decided since the Safe Conditioner is low sugar I could make golden paste treats for the equines using it. Here’s how:
Turmeric Horse Treats
3 cups Safe Conditioner feed (or your regular feed like oats)
12 tablespoons turmeric
1-2 apples shredded (or carrots or both)
1-2 soft bananas (I stock up on clearance bananas, peel and freeze them)
about 1/2 cup orange juice or water
1.5 tablespoons ground black pepper
1/4 cup coconut oil or peanut butter
Add everything except water/OJ into a food processor and pulse until combined. Drizzle in just enough liquids to hold together.
I weighed out the contents and figured out that 70 servings would provide the equivalent to ~1/2 tsp per treat. I laid them out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and froze them. Then pop them into a container and keep in the freezer. Each of my equines gets 2 treats per day.
For the goats, I did basically the same thing but using goat pellets and less turmeric…
Turmeric Goatie Treats
3 cups goat feed
6 tablespoons turmeric
2 tsp ground black pepper
2 TBS coconut oil
Mix the same as the horse treats, weigh out and measure 70 treats, freeze and store. Each of these treats will have about 1/4 tsp of turmeric. I give our goats 2 per day.