Quick explanation. An ancient Ayurvedic proverb reads: “When diet is wrong medicine is of no use. When diet is correct medicine is of no need.” Ayurvedic medicine is the traditional medicine of India, originating over 5000 years ago. How is this relevant today? Because it doesn’t just look at the aspect of treatment, it looks at prevention and using elements like nutrition, exercise and lifestyle factors to re-establish balance in the body.
What we eat is a key component of this holistic healing approach.
Spice of Life
OK, back to turmeric. So we know that it’s a spice. It’s orange. We cook Eastern and Asian food with it. But why is it so good for our pets? The bio-active compound (active ingredient or healing properties) of turmeric is “curcumin” (not to be confused with a different spice called cumin). Curcumin is responsible for its bright orange color as well as a host of health benefits. This prime ingredient acts as a spice, but also as a pain reliever. For this reason, it’s a great food additive for pets that suffer from ailments and illnesses which cause pain.
But it’s also beneficial in many other ways! Let’s look a little closer at Eastern medicine to understand how it is used to maintain good health.
Traditional Asian medicine used turmeric for its ability to detoxify the body, purify the blood, stimulate bile production in the liver, disinfect wounds, and as a stomach tonic. In addition, Thais used it to treat diarrhea and other stomach ailments, as well as to eradicate ringworm, a fungal infection. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, turmeric is applied to wounds to cleanse and stimulate recovery, keeping harmful bacteria away.
Anti-EverythingWestern medicine is finally catching up with Eastern practice. Turmeric is now being researched extensively for pharmacological use in treating and/or reducing symptoms related to a wide range of health conditions. The National Institute of Health is conducting 19 clinical trials on turmeric and curcumin. A paper written for the American Academy of Pain Management discusses the health benefits of turmeric.
“Turmeric is one of the most potent natural anti-inflammatories available,”
says Dr. Randy J. Horwitz, the medical director of the Arizona Centre for Integrative Medicine and assistant professor of clinical medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.
Dr. Horwitz also cites a 2006 University of Arizona study that found this potent anti-inflammatory to reduce the symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Clinical studies have shown that curcumin in turmeric is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals which cause the painful inflammation and damage to joints affected by arthritis.
This is pretty significant for our senior K9 friends that may be suffering from the aches and pains associated with arthritis and aging in general.
The anti-inflammatory properties, combined with the fact that turmeric is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, suggests that it’s also useful for disinfecting and treating skin injuries. Research suggests that when using it topically, mix it with honey. This creates a paste that you can easily apply to wounds. We talked about raw honey before, so you probably already know that honey also has high antibacterial properties. Of course, you will have to keep an eye on your furry friend as the combination of turmeric and honey may also be a tasty treat.