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Updated: May 22, 2021

Turmeric supplements in horse feed is popular in equestrian communities. Many horse people supplement turmeric to their horses for a long time and have credited it as a golden herb. There is also a massive debate in equestrian communities about the scientific evidence for turmeric's health benefits. In this article we will find out what all the fuss is about.

To answer different “Turmeric-questions,” I have gathered some scientific evidence and opinions of horse owners. Hopefully, it will clear your confusion about the benefits of turmeric for horses. And don’t forget to check Granola Nuggets-turmeric containing the perfect treat for your horse which are sold at Equestrian Fashion Asia.

Turmeric and Golden Paste

After getting injured, the use of turmeric is common in Asian households as turmeric has properties that are believed to complement medicine's effects. What Indian and Chinese medicine has been using for a long time is now open to the world! Curcumin, the active ingredient of turmeric, has medicinal properties. Scientific research has proved the health benefits of turmeric in humans as an anti-inflammatory andanti-oxidant agent. The potential to prevent arthritis, heart disease, and cancer is also found in turmeric.

Golden Paste: Turmeric paste is a mixture of ground turmeric, black pepper, and coconut oil. Cinnamon and ginger can also be added to complement the effects of turmeric. Golden paste is usually added to the animal feed for pain relief, arthritis, and gastrointestinal health.

Benefits of Turmeric for Horse

There are sufficient valuable recourses that prove the health benefits of turmeric in humans. Clinical trials in humans have revealed that curcumin possesses anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and stress-relieving properties. It can also benefit patients who have arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and heart diseases. However, limited clinical studies are proving the health benefits of turmeric in horses. Some proven health benefits of Turmeric in horses are as follow.

Dietary Turmeric Reduces Inflammation in Horses

Usually, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs relieve pain and inflammation, which comes with their side effects. Gastric ulceration, right dorsal colitis, and renal injuries are some examples. As an alternative treatment, when curcumin was used in horses, it produced anti-inflammatory effects.

The study was designed on six horses with known fetlock joint inflammation. Horses within the group were randomly assigned to give curcumin treatment (0.05gm/kg body weight) or no treatment for ten days.

After ten days, there was a decrease of 5mm in the circumference of treated horses. However, no reduction in the inflammation of the control group was found. Professional handlers also concluded a significant improvement in the mood and mobility of treated horses over ten days.

Turmeric and Equine Gastric Ulcers

Gastric ulceration is a prevalent equine health problem. Training stress, restricted feeding, and low grazing time are significant causes. A recent study in the Journal of Animal Science and Research shows that turmeric helps heal equine gastric ulcers.

Ten horses were studied for a 16-day trial. Using gastroscopy, all horses' gastric ulcer scores were found before, after, and during the treatment. All horses were given the same base diet with 20gm of turmeric in the treatment group.

The study concluded that turmeric supplementation effectively reduces the severity of gastric ulcers in confined horses.

If you want to know more about equine gastric ulcers and their prevention, you can find details here.

Antibacterial Properties of Turmeric

The equine gastrointestinal tract inhabits a complex microflora that helps in the digestion of feed. Any shift in the microbial population leads to GIT infections, inflammation, and colic. Using neutraceuticals like turmeric and cinnamon can be a good idea to maintain a healthy equine gut.

Keeping the anecdotal facts in view, researchers do a preliminary study to find the anti-bacterial properties of turmeric in the equine hindgut. The study revealed that turmeric effectively reduces the anti-bacterial properties of some bacteria (C. perferingens). It also shows that an increase in curcumin dosage linearly reduces the population of some bacteria, respectively.

Researchers concluded that further studies should be conducted to find the anti-bacterial properties of curcumin in horses.

What do horse owners say about turmeric?

The scientist conducted an online survey from Oklahoma State University, USA, Michigan State University, USA, Rutgers University, the USA, and David Marlin Consulting, Cambridge, UK, to respond to horse owners about turmeric use. This survey proves the extensive use of turmeric and associated products by horse owners.

The survey was open for 02 months, and 1010 respondents took part in it. The survey shows that most of the respondents decided to use turmeric in horse feed due to social media or personal recommendations. Turmeric or curcumin is used for a wide range of problems like uveitis, gastric ulcers, arthritis, lameness, respiratory issues, allergies, and stiffness.

Most commonly, it is used for the conditions like arthritis and lameness. Owners shared an effectiveness score of 4.3 and 4.1 out of 5 for arthritis and lameness, respectively.

The average quantity used by horse owners is 25gm for turmeric and 10gm for curcumin. This survey opens up the reality that respondents strongly believe in the effectiveness of turmeric/curcumin. It can also be realized that there is a great need to study this wonder herb's benefits.

Do you know?

Why is black pepper given along with turmeric? Naturally, a meager quantity of curcumin (a bioactive compound in turmeric) is absorbed into the body. Piperine, a compound in black pepper, increases the absorption and absorption of curcumin by 2000% without producing any detrimental effects in humans and animals.

How to feed turmeric to horses?

Turmeric or golden paste can be given to the horse by mixing in the regular feed. There is no proven dose of turmeric/curcumin for the horse; however, 25 gm of turmeric with 3% of curcumin is found effective.

  • The gradual addition of turmeric is advisable, and you should observe the effect of turmeric on your horse's health and mood.

  • Closely monitor for any side effects produced after feeding turmeric to your horse.

  • After starting from one teaspoon, it can be gradually increased up to 1 tablespoon daily.

  • The given quantity should be divided into two doses for giving twice daily.

  • The addition of 5 to 10 ml of coconut oil and 15 grinds of black pepper can significantly increase curcumin absorption.

Due to turmeric's earthy and bitter taste, horses may refuse to take it individually or when mixed in feed. The addition of pepper also makes its taste implacable. Some people add a small quantity of fruit juice, while others add molasses to suppress its bitterness. We add turmeric in our Granola Nuggets and fresh fruits from the local market mixed with high-quality horse feed. It is a homemade horse treat for the love and health of your horse.

In summary, turmeric is a golden herb and has shown proven health benefits for humans. The use of turmeric as a horse feed supplement is also rising due to its health benefits. However, there is an absolute need to study this herb further with respect to animal health and wellness.

Reference and further Readings

Effects of liposomal-curcumin on five opportunistic bacterial strains found in the equine hindgut

Owner-reported experiences of feeding turmeric to horses

Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin

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