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DOES TURMERIC THIN THE BLOOD? WHAT ABOUT SURGERY?

Turmeric does not ‘thin the blood’ – it can slow clotting (coagulation) time.

Dr. Doug English (Veterinarian): “Turmeric added to food has minimal effects and I don’t worry pre-surgery. Things like aspirin, ibuprofen, alcohol, and sugar have far more potent effects. Most vet practices use a NSAID as a pain killer during surgery without any thoughts on blood clotting and these have a much greater effect! Trillions of Indians have a daily intake of turmeric and nobody worries there.”

Turmeric does not stay in the system past several hours (depending on metabolism). As a precaution, you can cease turmeric powder the day prior to surgery, and all being well, recommence as soon as you are eating again. Turmeric will aid your healing and recovery. Here is an article, written by a sceptical New York surgeon, whose patient was taking home-made turmeric capsules while in hospital.

 

Judith Jeness (critical care nurse): Let me clarify some vocabulary: An anticoagulant substance slows the clotting mechanisms of the blood. Slowing the clotting also increases clotting time. Lots of people still call this “thinning the blood” which strictly speaking, isn’t accurate. It’s common usage, though. Different medications (and foods, herbs and YES, Turmeric) affect coagulation in different ways. Some of them overlap, and some of them are very mild in their effects, and vary between individuals. Some of them can have profound effects.

HERE’S THE TAKEAWAY: In general, if you are already prescribed medications to change the coagulation function of blood in your body, you MUST: A) Be very aware of interactions and that they can exist. B) Work very closely with your physician, NP, vet…whatever prescribing professional you use. C) If you have doubts or questions, then don’t add turmeric to your regimen until you are sure that it is the right, safe thing to do for you specifically.

HOW MUCH GOLDEN PASTE SHOULD I HAVE?

If using the cooked paste, start with 1/4 teaspoon and increase slowly. Remember that smaller amounts, consumed often, are better than a large amount once a day.

Doug English (Vet): “A tablespoon of dry turmeric will have more curcumin than the diluted, cooked powder in the paste – but the curcumin in the cooked turmeric will be better absorbed. As always, the original percentage of curcumin will vary as will absorption, so one can never say accurately that one = x 4 times. There is no need to be pedantic and stress about amounts, because the amount will never be precise (numerous variables, affecting the biochemistry). So, cook it up to make it more absorbable, always use pepper to enhance the effect, and make sure there is an oil/fat to dissolve it (or alcohol, if you must). If you don’t want to cook, then cope with less utilisation.
To increase your turmeric absorption, have it more often, rather than taking single, large doses that cannot be completely absorbed. You should not worry too much about precise doses, as rates of absorption can vary. Simply use it as often as you can.
An analogy: Lycopene compounds from foods like tomatoes - are you getting enough from one or three? How long do you have to cook the tomatoes to increase bioavailability? At what temperature? There is no way that every variable has been, or will be, scientifically measured. Since it's a food, we can consume it moderately and regularly with little concern. Similar with turmeric!”

WHICH IS BEST - RAW TURMERIC OR TURMERIC POWDER?

The answer to this question depends on several factors. Raw turmeric is poorly digested by most mammals (the exception to that is ruminants - cows, goats, sheep, and to some extent, horses). For the rest of us, raw turmeric passes through the intestinal tract without being well-digested (broken down). That means most of the active components, including curcumin, are not available for absorption before the raw turmeric is excreted. Cooking it, as is observed in the traditional diets which use turmeric, allows the fibre to soften and break down so that it will be better digested when we eat it or feed it to our pets.

Therefore, our livestock will generally do well with raw turmeric, but the rest of us need to consume it when it is cooked. Turmeric powder is cooked in the process of making it into powder. However, you can also start with raw turmeric and include it while cooking your favourite recipes.

CAN I MAKE GOLDEN PASTE WITH FRESH TURMERIC RHIZOME INSTEAD OF POWDER?

Yes, but you will need to use more to get the same result (at least 5 times the volume). You will also need to reduce the amount of water to compensate for the moisture in the raw rhizomes. Due to the greater volume of the raw turmeric, you will also need to consume more of it each time. 

 

I HAVE SOME FRESH TURMERIC RHIZOMES – WHAT CAN I DO WITH THEM?

You can slice, shred or chop the fresh rhizomes to add to Indian dishes (or whatever you would like to put turmeric in). If you freeze the rhizomes, thinly slice them first.

To plant the turmeric, put the rhizomes in a 10-12″ diameter pot under 1-1/2 to 2″ of soil. You can plant a whole, small rhizome or cut larger ones up into several pieces with a bud in each piece. Lay each piece horizontally in a pot with at least one bud up, cover with soil and keep moist and warm.

Turmeric Rhizomes are tropical plants, so they need lots of moisture. Keep the soil damp. You should see a shoot coming out of the soil within a couple of weeks. After that, treat them as you would any other tropical plant in terms of heat, light, and moisture conditions. It will go dormant over the winter if the temperature drops below about 65F/18°C, and will probably die at temperatures below 50F/10°C.

CAN I REPLACE FRESHLY CRACKED PEPPER WITH PEPPER POWDER?

NO. Peppercorns contain a substance called 'piperine,' which affects a specific metabolic pathway in the small intestine and liver. This slows the metabolism and excretion of the curcumin, allowing more time for the curcumin to remain in the bloodstream. Piperine is oxidised by exposure to air and is also degraded by light. When it's ground a long time in advance of use, most of the piperine will be lost before it ever gets to the consumer. You need to start with whole peppercorns, and grind them at the time you make your golden paste. If you really need to grind more in advance, you can freeze it for short periods in a well-sealed container.

WHAT ABOUT OTHER KINDS OF PEPPER? CAN I USE HOT PEPPERS?

Piper longa (also known as Long Pepper) is also a good source of piperine, but Piper nigra (the peppercorns in your grocery store) is the easiest to find.

The capsaicin in chili peppers has the same mechanism as the piperine in black pepper, but it is much less potent. In other words, you would need to have much more hot pepper for the same benefit as black pepper.

Please note, Piperine (and to a lesser extent capsaicin) will also slow down excretion of other substances so check with your Doctor/Vet and pharmacist if you use regular medication.

 

IS TURMERIC SAFE DURING PREGNANCY?

Warnings do apply to pregnancy. Since there have been no studies about the effect of turmeric supplements on pregnancy, doctors usually advise their patients to avoid it for this period. However, turmeric plays a significant role in pregnancy and birthing in India. Traditionally, it is believed that having turmeric during pregnancy ensures that the child will always have beautiful skin. Having turmeric during the last two weeks of pregnancy in warm milk is said to help to expedite an easy birth, while increasing the health of the mother and child, as well. Turmeric is also an analgesic (pain reliever) and is sometimes used in natural childbirth to reduce pain. Turmeric has been used in daily cooking for thousands of years, and Asian women have not been told to remove it during pregnancy.

Our recommendation is that if you (or a pregnant animal) have not had turmeric as a regular part of your diet before conception, you should wait until after delivery to include it.

IS TURMERIC SAFE WITH CHEMO? OR FOR THOSE UNDERGOING RADIATION THERAPY?

Turmeric is NOT compatible with some types of chemotherapy, so please check with your doctor or your pet’s oncologist if this applies to you.

Turmeric is not advised if you or your pet is undergoing radiation therapy. Wait until after the radiotherapy is completed before including turmeric. Turmeric has a protective effect against radiation damage – thus undoing the work of the radiation.You will have bloodwork after radiotherapy to see when your white blood cell count has returned to normal. At that time (usually about two weeks) you can start having golden paste in your food again.

WHY USE TURMERIC POWDER WHEN YOU CAN GET SUPPLEMENTS THAT ARE 95% CURCUMIN?

If you buy 95% curcumin, you are buying an extract from turmeric. The body can’t utilise the percentage of curcumin all at once in such a concentrated product. In fact, many supplement companies know that only a small portion of it will be absorbed (which is one reason most of the supplements are "dosed" in very high amounts). In addition, when curcumin is still part of the whole food (turmeric), it works along with the other active constituents to give you a better result than you would get with a single component in isolation. Consume turmeric with oil, pepper and other food, as in golden paste, and you get maximum absorption and maximum health benefits. 

 

CAN YOU USE VEGETABLE OIL / SUNFLOWER OIL / RICE BRAN OIL / COD LIVER OIL / RAPESEED (CANOLA) OIL?

The three recommended oils are there because they are known to be non-inflammatory and because each has health benefits of its own. That does not mean other oils won't work to allow absorption, just that the three oils in our recipe are ones we strongly recommend. Using alternative oils may not be as healthy.

What about butter, or ghee, or a fish oil? Butter and ghee are traditional oils in Indian cuisine and can indeed be used in golden paste, if you prefer. A good quality salmon oil may be appropriate for animals. However, because fish oils will go rancid much more quickly than animal or plant-based oils, you will need to freeze your golden paste in containers holding only a few days worth.

HELP! I HAVE TURMERIC STAINS ON MY CLOTHES / BENCHTOP / CARPET / SKIN / FINGERNAILS. 

Turmeric is oil- and alcohol-soluble but it is NOT soluble in water.  Alcohol (methylated spirits, surgical spirits, or rubbing alcohol) is usually the most effective in removing both dry turmeric powder and golden paste stains. For benchtops, kitchen counters, and plastics, you can try undiluted dishwashing detergent. Rub the detergent in and allow it to sit for 10 minutes, then rinse off.

For clothing, apply detergent and then throw into a cold wash. In the US, the brand "Oxyclean" has given good results. Hang on your washing line to dry, and the sun should take care of the last remains of colour (the dye is not light-fast).

For your hands and fingernails, massage in some baby oil or moisturiser, then wash off with warm, soapy water. If you live where alcohol-based hand sanitizer is easily available, that also works well.

Carpet is a tricky one. If the carpet is light-coloured and stains are easily visible, it may be best to call in a stain specialist. DO NOT use bi-carb (baking soda) as it reacts with turmeric and produces a reddish stain which is very difficult to remove. For wool carpet, try blotting the stain with some warm water, a little dish detergent and some methylated spirits/rubbing alcohol mixed in a bucket. Rinse with clean water and blot dry. Nylon carpet is harder, but blotting with alcohol often works. If you have mostly removed the stain but there is still a faint stain remaining, spritz lightly with a 3% hydrogen peroxide and leave for 24 hours. TEST THIS FIRST on an inconspicuous spot. Even if you can't get all of it out on the first try, ambient light will slowly fade the remainder.

WILL TURMERIC HELP MY HORSE WITH LAMINITIS OR LYMPHANGITIS?

Dr Doug English (Vet): “Of course it does! Turmeric is anti-inflammatory, supports the immune system and promotes good health.”

CAN YOU FEED TURMERIC TO A HEALTHY ANIMAL/PERSON?

Certainly! Turmeric is a food with four thousand years of regular use.  Including it in food every day is most beneficial. It supports the digestive, immune and circulatory systems. It supports organ health. It is antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant – and much more. It is an excellent preventive measure that's safe to consume daily for a lifetime. A healthy person or animal will not require as much as an animal or person using turmeric to combat pain or illness. Click HERE to Read about Turmeric Benefits

WHAT IS THE YOUNGEST YOU CAN FEED TURMERIC TO A DOG?

Doug English (Vet): “As soon as they take solid foods.”


CAN YOU USE THE 95% CURCUMIN TABLETS/CAPSULES FOR ANIMALS?

This website bases its knowledge on the experience of Dr Doug English and his team using turmeric powder. We know it is successful and safe to use with animals. There are few studies about the longterm safety of giving 95% curcumin extracts to animals.

IS BLACK PEPPER GOING TO MAKE MY PET'S GASTRIC UPSET WORSE?

Doug English (Vet):  “Digestion and intestinal health are improved by black pepper. Hydrochloric acid is necessary for digesting proteins and other food components. Most digestive difficulties are the result of a lack of hydrochloric acid rather than too much. Black pepper stimulates the taste buds and alerts the stomach to increase hydrochloric acid secretion, improving digestion. Without adequate amounts, undigested food can sit in the stomach for prolonged periods, leading to heartburn and indigestion. Undigested food may also pass into the intestines where it can become a food source for unfriendly bacteria, producing gas, irritation, diarrhoea or constipation. Black pepper can act as a diuretic, reducing bloating in the intestinal tract where it promotes digestive health through its antioxidant effects. The outer layer of the peppercorn can even stimulate the breakdown of fat cells, releasing energy and keeping you slim. Trial it – with and without. Also, combining turmeric and cardamom would be worth trying.”

The volatile oils of Cardamom have anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic actions, which work together to improve digestion. Cardamom partners well with turmeric, but is not a substitute for the piperine in black pepper.

MY DOG/HORSE SMELLS LIKE CAT PEE

Some dogs and a few horses develop a 'cat pee' odour when they first begin to have golden paste. It often wears off by itself within a couple of weeks, but may persist longer. To counteract the odour, you can add a little Ceylon cinnamon to the golden paste. Make sure it's Ceylon Cinnamon, not one of the other varieties. All cinnamon contains coumarin, a plant-based compound that can cause liver damage in large amounts or as a result of extended use. Ceylon cinnamon has such a negligible amount that it is not an issue even with regular consumption. Most people use about one tablespoon per batch of golden paste, though you can certainly add more if you like the taste.

Click HERE to learn more about possible toxicity issues with your pets.

THE 'WATER TEST' - WHAT DOES IT SHOW ABOUT TURMERIC QUALITY?

Trickle about one teaspoon of turmeric powder onto the top of a glass of cool water. DO NOT STIR. Leave it for at least 10 minutes and let it settle. Turmeric with nothing added to it will give a yellow tinge to the water but the water will still be relatively clear. Some turmeric will be on the bottom of the glass, and some still floating on top. If your glass of water looks murky, then your turmeric may contain additives (such as dye or flour). Here’s an example of some different results. (Photos courtesy of Karen Preece)


The ‘water test’ is NOT an indication of good quality, but only an indication of additives. 


WORRIED ABOUT CALORIES IN THE GOLDEN PASTE?

By Judith Jenness: I’ve fielded a couple questions of late with concerns that the fat in the GP could be a problem for weight loss/gain or intolerance of fats. Here’s the good news…by my calculations, 1 teaspoon of the golden paste has less than 10 calories, all from the oil you use. (I used coconut oil for my calculations…olive oil has 2 calories more per tablespoon than coconut.) So if you are having a moderate amount of the golden paste per day, or giving a moderate amount of it to your animals…you are probably ok. Let me break it down: 1T coconut oil = 117 calories. One recipe of GP requires 1/3 cup or 5.3 T which equals 620 calories. 1T = 3 tsp. One recipe of GP usually ends up making approximately 1.5 cups = 12 oz = 24 T = 72 tsp. 620 calories ÷ 72 tsp = 8.6 calories per teaspoon of the wonderful golden paste.