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Golden Paste? What the heck is Golden Paste?

Golden Paste is a combination of turmeric powder, a non-inflammatory fat such as coconut, olive or flax oil, and freshly ground black pepper. It was developed and perfected by Dr. Doug English, an Australian veterinarian, from various turmeric paste recipes in traditional use.

In Indian cuisine, turmeric has always been used in cooked dishes along with oil and pepper. Golden Paste can be conveniently added to almost any food or beverage to mimic the way it's used in traditional Indian foods.
Please be aware that while all three ingredients of the Golden Paste have therapeutic benefits, we absolutely do not promote it as a medication or as a substitute for any pharmaceutical medication. If you have any concerns about whether its use is appropriate for you or your pet, or if it might interact with any medications you're currently using, or any condition you suffer from, please consult your doctor or vet.
In addition, while adverse reactions to Golden Paste are uncommon, they do occasionally occur. The most common ones result from starting out with too much at one time (see How much to have at one time? for the recommended amounts). Stomach rumbling, bloating, gas, soft or loose bowel movements or even diarrhea can occur if you are not used to eating Indian food regularly, and if you use too much Golden Paste at first.

It's a good idea to consume more water at first. Some people (and some pets) experience increased urination. A headache may also result if you becme partially dehydrated. Turmeric is a vasodilator, and for a few people, that is a headache trigger. It may also make a person feel warmer for a short time after consuming it. The vasodilator effect and the diuretic effect usually fade away after a few weeks.

"Detoxing" or "herx-ing" are common ways of referring to reactions to supplements. It's important to realize, however, that there is no such thing as detoxing, in the way the term is frequently used. Herx-ing refers specifically to the reaction caused by the die-off of large numbers of bacteria (sometimes experienced when antibiotics are taken). This should not occur when you begin to use turmeric in the form of Golden Paste.

Your liver does not store toxins, and does not need to be detoxed. It does filter out compounds that the body can neither store nor use up, yes, but only in order to excrete them (usually via the kidneys). The proper name for these compounds is xenobiotics, but it's common to see them erroneously referred to as toxins. If you have an undesirable reaction to Golden Paste, and you have not exceeded the recommended starting amount, please discontinue using it, or at least reduce the amount before trying again.

How do you make Golden Paste?

It's very easy to make Golden Paste, and illustrated instructions come with every golden paste kit from New Naturals. But here is the condensed version.


Method of Preparation

Image of saucepan and measured ingredientsPut 1 cup (250ml) water in a small saucepan, and set aside another cup in case more is needed.

Image of adding turmeric to the saucepanAdd the powdered turmeric and stir well over low heat.

Image of stirring the turmeric and waterBring to a boil, and then adjust the heat to keep it at a simmer (low boil) for 7-10 minutes. It should not splatter. If it does, turn the heat down some more. It should have a bubble every second or so. Add more water if necessary, to keep the paste from becoming thicker than you want (the consistency is up to you).

Allow the mixture to cool until it's just warm to the touch.

While it's cooling, grind enough peppercorns to make 2-3 tsp ground pepper (about 7 grams), and measure out 1/3 cup (about 70g) oil. Many people use coconut oil, but any culinary oil is acceptable. Ghee is traditional, and olive oil is also popular.

Image of adding the oil and black pepperWhen the turmeric and water mixture has cooled, add the oil and pepper and stir thoroughly. If you don't stir enough, the oil may begin to separate after the paste goes into the refrigerator. If that happens, just stir again before using.

Image of finished golden pasteStore in a food safe container in the refrigerator. It should be good for about two-three weeks. If you don't think you'll use it up within that time frame (and you will not when you first begin to have it), divide it into several smaller containers and freeze all but one.

How much do you have at one time?

Start out with a very small amount, 1/4 tsp or less twice a day, in or at least with food. This is almost always a good starting amount for adult humans and for medium to large dogs. Smaller dogs, cats and other animals of similar size should start with 1/8 tsp or less.

Turmeric aids gut motility (movement). Starting out with too much may provoke very soft bowel movements or even diarrhea. Some people may have stomach rumbling or gas (farting).

Having it in food means that your stomach and intestines are prepared and ready to digest it along with the rest of your meal or beverage. Many people enjoy Golden Paste in coffee or tea, or in smoothies or juice (orange juice and V8 seem to be two favorites). Stir it or swirl the cup or mug while you drink it, so the paste doesn't sink to the bottom.

Golden Paste is tasty in eggs, in pasta or rice dishes, in soups, stews and casseroles. It virtually disappears in more strongly flavored recipes such as chili, spaghetti and lasagna (check out the Recipes section for ideas).

Why add oil and pepper to turmeric?

The active compounds in turmeric will not dissolve in water, or water-based fluids like stomach acids. If they are not consumed with some source of fat, most will simply pass on through the intestinal system and be eliminated. So we add an oil or fat when making golden paste. Golden paste can be made with any species-appropriate fat. Ghee is a traditional fat in northern India, whereas an oil is more widely used in the south. Combining turmeric with an oil or fat allows its active components to be absorbed from the small intestine into the bloodstream where it can be transported to all the organs of the body. Many recipes online state that you must use coconut oil. This is not the case, and Dr. English (who developed the golden paste recipe) never made that claim. We do recommend not using inflammatory fat sources such as generic 'vegetable oil,' canola or soybean oils. The reason is twofold: first, they have a poor balance of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids (heavily weighted toward omega 6), and second, they are nearly always grown with a heavy use of pesticides. There are sources of organic soybean and canola oil, but they still are less healthy than coconut, olive or flax oils.

The reason we add pepper is that curcumin (the primary active ingredient in turmeric) is converted rapidly into a form that is not as beneficial. This begins in the small intestine before the curcumin ever gets into the bloodstream. Piperine (the main active ingredient in black pepper) slows down that conversion so more curcumin is available to enter the bloodstream. It also slows curcumin's metabolism in the liver, allowing it to stay active in the body longer. In addition, piperine helps to expand the so-called 'brush border' of the intestinal lining. This is an extremely tiny layer of cells, so small that they can be visualized only under an electron microscope. When they expand, the small intestine's surface area is significantly increased so that more of turmeric's active compounds can be absorbed.

Why does the Golden Paste have to be cooked?

Like other foods with soluble starches, turmeric is not particularly digestible before it's cooked (think rice or tapioca or grits). The starches in turmeric dissolve in water at the boiling point (which is why the recipe says to bring the turmeric/water mixture to a boil). When 'gelatinized' by this process, they break down very quickly in the stomach and small intestine, to release the curcumin and other active compounds. While it's possible to have some benefit from plain turmeric powder, many people have tried both methods, and find that when using the cooked golden paste, much less turmeric is needed for the same results.

Another important point about cooked vs uncooked turmeric powder is that some companies have begun marketing 'raw' turmeric powder, claiming that raw is always best. This simply isn't true in regard to turmeric, however. Completely raw turmeric (or powder that's made from it) is very poorly broken down in the intestinal tract. Without that step, the active compounds aren't available before the digestive system moves the turmeric on out of the small intestine. Fat-soluble compounds are not absorbed from the large intestine. So the user gets minimal benefit, if any at all. Traditionally processed turmeric is simmered for around 45 minutes before it's dehydrated and milled into powder. This step breaks down the starches and allows them to absorb water and form a gel. During dehydration, the rigid matrix of those starches partially re-forms. But it can then be broken down (digested) again with only a short period of cooking (thus the 7-10 minute cooking time in the golden paste recipe). If the turmeric powder you are using is labeled as 'raw,' or the website or Amazon listing states that it's raw, it needs to be cooked for at least 30 minutes, rather than the usual 7-10 minutes. You may need to add more water to maintain the desired consistency.

The turmeric powder from New Naturals is traditionally processed, and does not need any additional cooking time.

Can you put Golden Paste in capsules?

Yes and no. The moisture in the Golden Paste will dissolve both gelatin and vegetable capsules. So it isn't feasible to make capsules with a water-based mixture unless you do one of two things. You can fill a capsule and swallow it immediately before it begins to dissolve. Or you can fill a few capsules and pop them straight into the freezer. But you can also put capsule-sized blobs of the paste on a cookie sheet or plate, and freeze them without filling capsules. Some people freeze Golden Paste in the little trays that other pills come in, and some purchase silicone candy molds and fill those with pill-sized portions of Golden Paste. Feel free to come up with your own variation!

How long does Golden Paste keep?

Golden Paste must be refrigerated, and will keep for approximately two to three weeks in the fridge. If you think you won't use it up by then, you can freeze it in small containers that will hold enough for a week or two. Or follow the suggestions above and freeze in portion size drops or in a mold.

How much Omega 3 is in the oils in your kits?

Our kits come with either coconut or olive oil. Both of those are different from some other oils in that neither is a significant source of omega 3 fatty acid. Coconut oil is not a good source of omega fatty acids at all (it does contain a tiny amount of omega 6 fatty acid). Its benefit is in its medium chain triglycerides. A large percentage of this is lauric acid, the same fatty acid found in human breast milk. Coconut oil is not absorbed through the intestinal wall into the lymph system like oils with predominantly long-chain fatty acids. It goes straight to the liver via the portal vein. While this means some of the curcumin carried with it will undergo second-pass metabolism almost immediately, it also means that the fat itself is mostly metabolized in the liver and does not get stored in the tissues.

Olive oil's fatty acids are primarily omega 9, which is also important in mammalian bodies. Its value in the Mediterranean diet is well established and many people prefer its taste in golden paste. It's also a good alternative to coconut oil if you or your pet is sensitive to the coconut proteins sometimes found in raw coconut oil.

Questions? Feel free to post on our Facebook group,
Turmeric For All or in Doug English's original Facebook group, the Turmeric User Group.

And remember to have your golden paste! Fridge Magnet worded Don't Forget to Have Your Golden Paste!