Apple Turmeric Coterie Recipe Card
two-tumeric-fingers

Turmeric – The Companion Herb

Warm and spicing, popping in vibrancy.  Is that how you think of the turmeric supplement you just swallowed, or fed to your animal?

When were you last enveloped in the sensory experience that is turmeric?

Let me tell you a story of turmeric as a maker of relationship bonds that are full of warmth and spice.  Bonds like these extend the individual augmenting and shaping vitality in companionship.  That is the nature of this herb, Curcuma longa, known to many as turmeric.  Like us with our animals, turmeric needs connection with others to bring out the vibrance and colour in life.

If you want to skip the story and go straight to the recipe, click here.

 

The Companionship Nature of Turmeric

Fadó, long ago, there were three staunch pins in my life holding me in place.  First, Lakota, crazy horse, who taught me the importance of remembering my S-Elf and believing in her own space.  Isabella, the wee fluff ball, taught me how to start to explore those spaces, albeit with some trepidation.  Then Phaeton, a cat whose personality so similar to Lakota’s made me pause on whether I was up for the swathes of chaos that he encapsulated between his paws.  Then, all three were gone.

Existing alone drifting between painful things and the needs and wants in everyday life has come to its bumpy end.  For now.  Even as I explored the depths of feeling alone, there are new animals with me, in the here and now.  Mereenie, the brumby mare, Josie the rambunctious border collie cross and Aoife, a new wee pup recent to our home, have been with me, holding the threads of family, community and home.

My thoughts meandered to find something emblematic of the companionship my family, animals and humans alike, offer me.  Not surprisingly (well for me anyway!), my thoughts found themselves picturing the rhizome of turmeric I harvested a little ago from my garden.

Turmeric is not a herb that can exist alone and do the golden magic that it has come to do.  Neither can we when we choose life with our animal friends.   The golden turmeric that I harvested from our garden came from Keinbah way.  In that place, the herb had been tended and nourished, itself being planted as a piece from a rocky outcrop in Tasmania – both places and time full of stories and magic.  We’ll weave some of the dindshenchas (place lore) of those two farms of companionship and learning another time.  This story is inspired by the companionship formed from the associations that the golden turmeric makes.

The piece of golden turmeric I planted made its home next to the hydrangea, sharing the soil, the wind and the rain.  At the front of our home, it flourished and opened the most breathtaking bloom.

turmeric-flower

As I harvested a rhizome piece from my now established plant, the soil fresh from its skin, it said a deliciously warm and spicy “Hello” to my nose.  The conversation continued with spicy warm aromas permeating our kitchen as I prepared the herb to be added to the pot.  Little bubbly pops left a tangy “Hello” on my tongue from the slice I just had to sample a piece.  The gorgeous, vibrant colour would be right at home on a palette of typical Moroccan colours.

I wondered, as I looked at the colour painted on my hands, where the pieces of herb had marked its path as I held it, moved it, released it: Does it stain the inside of me like it stains the outside of me?

 

Terra merita (Latin), meritorious earth.

From ancient times in India, the original home of the golden herb, to now, the herb has been in use in many cultures.  But, as an outsider, in both time, place and herbal philosophy, the one word I feel reading the potted Ayurvedic history of the use of the herb is protection.  Perhaps, it’s my Scottish influence seeping through, colouring my perspective, thinking of the painted ones of Scottish lands, The Picts.  Their painted bodies, seen and described by their adversaries, were perhaps meant to draw on magic grown from the earth to aid and protect their presence upon their land.  (Yes, I know, the painted hue of the Picts is blue and we are talking about a vibrant golden orange coloured herb.  But, go with me on the body paint and protection connections, will you?)

The colour of the ground dry turmeric herb was seen by the French and English in Medieval times to resemble the meritorious earth, Terra merita (Latin). Thus the modern name of the herb was formed.  Science has subsequently named the yellow orange colour of the herb as the chemical curcumin, a polyphenolic pigment.

And, yes, to answer my own question, the lovely yellow orange pigment probably does stain the insides of us a little as it passes through and out of the body.  That’s because the majority of the pigment is unabsorbed when going solo into the alimentary canal of a body.

Turmeric has the best chance of practicing magic in the body when collaborating with others. Effective partnerships have been forged between the herb and such likes of carbohydrates, proteins, phospholipids and bioactive compounds.  One of those bonds may develop between apples, laden with the bio-active quercetin, and turmeric.

You can explore the companionship of turmeric with your taste buds, if you like, in our recipe for the month, Apple Turmeric Coterie.  The ingredients and servings in the amounts listed are generally safe for healthy dogs and cats, too.

 

Make sure to speak with your veterinary herbalist or treating veterinarian if you have any concerns about the safety of the recipe or the ingredients for your animal.

turmeric-recipe

Apple Turmeric Coterie Recipe Card

Click on the image to download now!

A note on safe use of this herb:

Turmeric is generally reported as being safe for human consumption.  When consumed as part of a normal diet, turmeric has low absorption in the digestive tract.

There are some case reports highlighting idiosyncratic liver effects that were reversed on cessation of the particular curcumin supplement.

Adulteration with other products and chemicals and contamination with heavy metals and/or dyes have also been reported.

This recipe is not safe for humans or animals with kidney dysfunction or cardiovascular issues.

As always, be aware of the sources of the herbs and supplements that you choose to use for yourself and/or your animals.

References:

Ballester P, Cerdá B, Arcusa R, García-Muñoz AM, Marhuenda J, Zafrilla P. Antioxidant Activity in Extracts from Zingiberaceae Family: Cardamom, Turmeric, and Ginger. Molecules. 2023; 28(10):4024. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules28104024

Barbeau-Grégoire, M., Otis, C., Cournoyer, A., Moreau, M., Lussier, B., & Troncy, E. (2022). A 2022 systematic review and meta-analysis of enriched therapeutic diets and nutraceuticals in canine and feline osteoarthritis. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 23(18), 10384.

Soleimani V, Sahebkar A, Hosseinzadeh H. Turmeric (Curcuma longa) and its major constituent (curcumin) as nontoxic and safe substances: Review. Phytother Res. 2018 Jun;32(6):985-995. doi: 10.1002/ptr.6054. Epub 2018 Feb 26. PMID: 29480523.

Therapeutic Goods Administration, (2023). Safety Advisory. Medicines containing turmeric or curcumin – risk of liver injury. Australian Government. Department of Health and Aged Care. Publish date: 15 Aug 23.  Accessed: 10 Sep 23. https://www.tga.gov.au/news/safety-alerts/medicines-containing-turmeric-or-curcumin-risk-liver-injury

UK Committee of Toxicity, (2022), Second draft statement on the potential risk to human health of turmeric and curcumin supplements TOX/2022/68.Last updated 06 Dec 22.  Accessed 10 Sep 23. https://cot.food.gov.uk/Turmeric_Curcumin_Second_draft_statement

Velayudhan, K. C., Dikshit, N., & Nizar, M. A. (2012). Ethnobotany of turmeric (Curcuma longa L.).

Wang, L., Li, W., Cheng, D., Guo, Y., Wu, R., Yin, R., Li, S., Kuo, H. C., Hudlikar, R., Yang, H., Buckley, B., & Kong, A. N. (2020). Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of three oral formulations of curcumin in rats. Journal of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, 47(2), 131–144. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10928-020-09675-3

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