Tumeric was used as a dye in India for as long as 2500 years ago. It was later used as a spice and has been used in Ayurvedic medicine as early as 250 BC to treat inflammatory diseases. We know turmeric as Indian curry and it contains curcumin.
It’s taken us in the west a little longer-over 2000 years-to discover the benefits of this spice. One day sitting in the vet’s office I happened upon a short blurb in a dog magazine about the benefits of tumeric on arthritis. Once I got home additional research revealed a recent study at the University of Arizona College of Medicine on the benefits of tumeric used in traditional Asian medicine. In the U. of AZ study, Dr Janet Funk states that tumeric completely inhibited the onset of rheumatoid arthritis. Her research also suggests help with other inflammatory diseases such as asthma, multiple sclerosis, and inflammatory bowel disease. This study will lead to further research on the effects of tumeric on arthritis and other diseases.
The current treatments for arthritis are the NSAID’s (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug). Drugs such as Rimadyl, Deramax, Metacam, Zubrin, and Etogesics are often effective in reducing inflammation and pain. But these drugs come with serious side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Gastrointestinal ulcers, perforations, and liver and kidney toxicity can also develop.
One of my old dogs with arthritis in his feet can’t tolerate the NSAID’s and I never found the glucosamine/chondroitin recommendations to be very beneficial for him. Acupuncture has real benefit and is effective but we don’t all live near an acupuncturist and charges vary widely; a friend pays $40 a visit where she lives, but in our over-inflated Charlottesville an acupuncture session is $80. When I need to take a dog for up to 6 or 8 weekly visits that becomes expensive, even when I know it helps.
Encouraged by the results of the Arizona study, I decided to try tumeric on Coal, who was increasingly reluctant to go on walks or go up stairs because of the pain. I began giving him tumeric in his food, 1 teaspoon in his breakfast and 1 teaspoon in his dinner. I wasn’t expecting to see a cure but hoped for some improvement. After a week or so I noticed he was willing to take longer walks and walk up the stairs. After a couple of weeks there was marked improvement in his willingness to get around.
Give it a try and see if it helps. You can buy tumeric at the Indian Food stores in large bags for a very reasonable price, compared to the spice shelf at the grocery store, or you can find it as tumeric or curcumin at the health food store. Caution—tumeric stains yellow, it was used as a substitute for saffron as a dye, so if you are adding it loose to food rather than in a capsule, it can stain. I’ve seen no side effects and definite improvement in Coal. If you try it let us know what happens!