Turmeric paste is also popularly known as “GOLDEN PASTE” and the reason is obvious.
There are so many recipes available to make a golden paste. The paste can prove to be super useful for both pets and humans.
Table of Contents
- What is needed for making the golden paste
- Can I Use Curcumin Instead of Turmeric Powder to Make Golden Paste?
- Does Black pepper In Golden Paste Cause Drug Interactions?
- How does black pepper/piperine increase bioavailability of compounds?
- What is black pepper/piperine’s effect on curcumin’s bioavailability?
- What is the average consumption of black pepper?
- What amount of black pepper is included in Golden Paste?
- Can dietary black pepper interact with your medicine?
- Can I Use Ghee (Clarified Butter) to Make Turmeric / Golden Paste?
- In the end..
What is needed for making the golden paste
- 1/2 cup turmeric powder (125 mls) – Use organic powder. Here are some tips to buy a good one>
- 1 cup water (250 mls)
- 1/2 cup water extra, if needed (125 mls)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper (7.5 mls) – We need this as turmeric is absorbed poorly in the body. Piperine present in black pepper helps in its absorption. Read more here>
- 70 ml cold pressed Olive or Coconut oil – Adding fats is another way to increase the absorption of turmeric in the body. Chose healthy oils such as virgin coconut to virgin olive oil.
The above list of ingredients and measurements are taken from the golden paste recipe by Doug English.
It is extremely easy and quick.
Add turmeric to water in a pan. Heat gently along with stirring. Do this till you get a thick paste.
This can take anything from 6 to 10 min.
If you feel your paste is watery, add some more turmeric if you feel it has become too thick, add some water.
At the end — add the pepper and oil.
Keep stirring to ensure that all ingredients are mixed properly.
Allow it to cool.
One great thing about this paste is you can keep it in a jar and refrigerate it. This will ensure you can make it once and use for a few days.
Opinions vary on how long we can keep the jar, in our opinion, 1-2 weeks is okay. Not more than that.
If while cooking your mix looks watery – you can add some more turmeric. No issues with that at all.
On the other hand, if it’s too thick, add water.
In case you see bubbles in the mix, it means that you have not stirred it enough. But don’t worry – do the stirring and after some time it will be all right.
Note — The texture and “look” of golden paste does not impact its benefits 🙂 So do not worry if it looks a bit wired.
we must warn you that you may not like the taste of golden paste (many do not) but do not worry.
It can be taken in various ways such as – added to smoothies, curries, salads, etc, just to name a few. Here are some more ideas to take golden paste>
By the way, if you are still not aware of what all benefits turmeric has, here is a long list of turmeric benefits for your quick reference.
Here is a quick video about making the golden paste –
Can I Use Curcumin Instead of Turmeric Powder to Make Golden Paste?
The answer is – No, you may not want to use curcumin powder instead of turmeric to prepare Golden paste. The reason is that curcumin has intermediate thermal stability and it may not withstand the heat for the period that involves cooking of the paste. Further, replacing turmeric with curcumin will lead to overdose (typically turmeric has just 3-5% curcumin).
Moreover, turmeric powder has more to offer than just curcumin, and it contains curcumin in its natural state.
Lastly, turmeric is inexpensive in comparison to curcumin powder. However, you can still add curcumin powder to your Golden Paste after it has cooled for that extra punch or for treating chronic conditions.
Here are a few scientific details on curcumin’s thermal stability and how that impacts your choice between turmeric and curcumin for preparing Golden paste.
1. Curcumin has intermediate heat stability
If you have read our post Does Cooking Destroy Health Benefits of Turmeric and Black Pepper? You must be aware that curcumin has intermediate heat stability.
Certain studies show that 85% of curcumin is lost within 15-30 minutes of cooking. Another study suggests that when curcumin is used as a food coloring agent, the temperature should not exceed 190 degree Celsius.
Further, a study using a temperature range of 30-90 degree Celsius found curcumin to have intermediate thermal stability.
Despite the cooking losses, curcumin is still transformed into beneficial therapeutic compounds. But we can aim to minimize such losses.
The Golden Paste recipe is a DIY optimized way of getting the health benefits of turmeric at home. Curcumin has poor solubility in water, and this limits its absorption in the body.
Golden Paste contains black pepper and healthy fats to improve the absorption of turmeric and curcumin. Additionally, the recipe calls for cooking turmeric with water to get a paste of uniform consistency initially.
Cooking or heating turmeric is proven to increase curcumin and turmeric’s solubility in water. However, the cooking involved in Turmeric Paste may not be suitable for curcumin powder; it may degrade under such conditions.
2. Turmeric has more to offer than curcumin
Another reason to use turmeric powder instead of curcumin is that turmeric powder has more to offer than curcumin.
It contains curcumin in its natural ratio with curcuminoids, little amounts of turmeric essential oils and other therapeutic compounds.
Also, organic turmeric is inexpensive in comparison to curcumin powder. We recommend using organic turmeric powder for making Golden paste; you can add curcumin powder to it after it cools.
Golden Paste involves cooking turmeric with water on low heat to get a uniform consistency of the paste. This helps to increase the solubility of turmeric in water and enhances absorption. Since the heat is low and time involved in cooking is limited, heat losses are minimized.
However, curcumin has intermediate heat stability. Cooking purified curcumin powder alone may cause it to degrade.
Also, turmeric contains more therapeutic components other than curcumin. It is inexpensive as well.
Therefore it is advised to use organic turmeric powder only for preparing Turmeric Paste. If you have purchased curcumin powder already, you can add it to the paste once it cools down and before consuming it.
Does Black pepper In Golden Paste Cause Drug Interactions?
Piper nigrum or black pepper is a commonly used spice. Its pungency is imparted by the active constituent- piperine.
Piperine constitutes 5-9% of black pepper. BioPerine is a standardized extract of black pepper that contains 95% piperine which is a natural bioavailability enhancer.
Black pepper and its pungent principle-piperine are proven to stimulate gastric secretion and salivary secretion. Orally administered piperine is found to increase bile secretion in the liver.
It is important to note that studies which show that piperine increases the level of digestive and pancreatic enzymes have used piperine at approximately 5 times the average amount included in the human diet.
How does black pepper/piperine increase bioavailability of compounds?
Piperine increases the bioavailability of compounds in the following ways :
• It inhibits the activity of various enzymes that metabolize drugs.
• It stimulates the activity of receptors in the intestine that absorb nutrients and other compounds.
• It inhibits the activity of P-gp, a protein that detoxifies compounds and pumps out drugs from cells.
• It decreases the production of certain metabolizing agents such as glucuronic acid which metabolize and eliminate drugs before absorption.
Bano et. al report that 20mg piperine in combination with propranolol ( a drug used to treat hypertension) and theophylline ( a drug used to treat respiratory disorders) increases their concentration in blood and delays their elimination.
However, it just enhances bioavailability and does not affect the activity of the drug.
Sama et al report the increase in bioavailability of an anti-hyperglycaemic drug by pipeline and this increased concentration potentiates it anti-hyperglycaemic activity without causing any side effects.
In Ayurveda, traditional Indian medicine, black pepper is used to increase the bioavailability of herbal drugs. The first evidence dates back to 1928 in Pharmacopoeia Indica, where it is mentioned that long pepper was used to increase the anti-asthmatic effect of vasaka leaves.
What is black pepper/piperine’s effect on curcumin’s bioavailability?
Shobha et al. have reported that 20mg piperine, when given in combination with curcumin, enhances bioavailability by 2000%. This is why black pepper and turmeric combination is always recommended for oral use. (Read Health Benefits of Turmeric and Black pepper, How to increase bioavailabilty of turmeric)
What is important to note that all these studies have made use of piperine and not dietary black pepper. So would it be appropriate to say that achieve the amount of piperine used in the studies we would have to eat quite a bit of black pepper?
What is the average consumption of black pepper?
Keith Singletary in his paper ‘Black Pepper: Overview Of Health Benefits’ writes that consumption of black pepper in India is 300mg/ day which is similar to the consumption pattern of Americans.
Piperine used in clinical trials is somewhere in the range of 10-20mg per dose. If piperine constitutes 5-9% of black pepper, that would mean consuming more than 200 to 400mg of black pepper per dose or ¼ tsp with every dose.
Considering you need a minimum of two doses a day that would add up to more than daily consumption.
What amount of black pepper is included in Golden Paste?
The Golden Paste recipe utilizes 3.5g for ½ cup of turmeric powder; we consume not more than 1-2 teaspoon of the recipe so the amount of black pepper consumed is far less to cause drug interaction in comparison to the amount used in clinical trials.
Suresh et. al report that 44-63% of the piperine administered is not absorbed by the intestine and only 7-12% reaches the blood; however, piperine is absorbed in a larger amount than curcumin as per their study results.
Both dietary turmeric and black pepper interact with drug metabolizing enzymes an
Can dietary black pepper interact with your medicine?
The only study that would answer this query is ‘Piperine in food: interference in the pharmacokinetics of phenytoin’ by Velpandian et. al. This study had three parts.
In the first part, animals were administered phenytoin, an anti-epileptic drug with or without piperine 0.6mg.
In the second part, six healthy volunteers were given phenytoin 300mg 30 minutes after consuming a soup that contained black pepper. In the third part, phenytoin was administered to animals via injections with or without administering piperine (10mg) orally.
We will focus on the human study. 6 volunteers were asked to fast overnight and then given a breakfast with or without black pepper (1gram).
30 minutes later they were given 3 tablets of phenytoin of 100mg each. This was below the therapeutic value.
2 weeks later similar settings were prepared but this time a breakfast lacking piperine was served. Blood samples were collected both the times.
Piperine content of the test soup provided for breakfast was 44mg (higher than regular dose).
With the piperine, the absorption constant was 1.78 times higher than that without piperine.
This rise in phenytoin levels could be due to inhibition of metabolism at intestines and liver. However, the rise in concentration was below the therapeutic range to cause the anti-convulsive effect.
According to the researchers, with reference to epileptic patients who have a steady concentration of phenytoin in blood, pepper consumption could lead to increased concentrations of the drug and this may predispose patients to drug toxicity at therapeutic levels of phenytoin.
Not to miss this point, the researchers do mention that the amount of piperine is slightly more than normal consumption.
All in all dietary black pepper taken at a dose of 1g per serving ( higher than normal consumption) can increase the concentration of certain drugs in the blood.
What does this mean?
Dietary black pepper is likely to work as a bioavailability enhancer but that is dependant on the amount you consume. Studies that show that black pepper and its active constituent piperine cause drug interactions use amounts higher than that taken in regular diet.
The amount of black pepper you would get from 1 teaspoon of Golden Paste would be far less than what is used in clinical trials and most of it is either not absorbed by intestine and whatever is absorbed works towards boosting curcumin’s bioavailability.
The black pepper in Golden Paste may increase the therapeutic effect of a drug consumed right after it. It would be best to avoid taking drugs at least at a 2-4 hour interval from when you consume Golden Paste.
The amount of black pepper in The Golden Paste is unlikely to cause any drug interaction, but dietary black pepper can still enhance the bioavailability of concomitantly consumed drugs.
It’s best to avoid consuming any drugs immediately or at least till a 2-4 hour gap since you consumed the Golden Paste.
Can I Use Ghee (Clarified Butter) to Make Turmeric / Golden Paste?
YES, ghee or clarified butter can be used to make the golden paste as it contains healthy fats. Ghee enhances the absorption of turmeric and has other health benefits compared to some vegetable oils.
What is Ghee?
Ghee or clarified butter is a popular alternative to using cooking oil in many parts of the world. It is very popular in India. Turmeric has been used with ghee in many ways in India – Ghee is put in curries along with turmeric, ghee is also added to milk along with turmeric and so on.
Ghee can be a great healthy alternative to oil which is used in Turmeric Paste to enhance its otherwise low absorption. (Read: How to increase Turmeric’s absorption)
Now, let us discover the scientific aspect of why ghee can help in golden paste the same way as oil does.
Why Ghee is a Great Alternative to Oil in Turmeric Paste
Ghee can be used because it’s not only healthy as healthy oils but helps in enhancing Turmeric’s absorption in the same way as oils do.
1. Ghee can improve the availability of turmeric
The primary benefits obtained from turmeric are attributed to the presence of the active ingredient Curcumin. It is a known fact that turmeric and curcumin have poor bioavailability and fewer amounts of turmeric that is consumed is actually absorbed and utilized by the body. 
To overcome this problem, turmeric is consumed with certain bioenhancers and compounds which can increase the availability of turmeric.
Turmeric is poorly soluble in water but is soluble in lipids . Therefore, it is advised to consume it with healthy fats and oils. These fats and oils also serve as a base for the golden paste and facilitate its intake.
In Ayurvedic system of medicine, it is usually recommended to consume turmeric with milk and fats like ghee. These combinations have been used for a long time to treat various ailments. 
Some studies have used turmeric with ghee, to enhance its bioavailability and assist in the treatment of health conditions.
In one such study, curcumin milk consumed with ghee resulted in elevated plasma concentrations of curcumin and enhanced bioavailability. This, in turn, increased the therapeutic effect and the anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic activity. 
Another study discovered the potential of using turmeric with traditional lipid vehicles like ghee (clarified butter) and milk. Clarified butter was found to increase the permeability of curcumin by about 10%. 
Thus, it can be said that consumption of ghee or clarified butter may facilitate turmeric absorption.
2. Ghee has healthy fats
Although turmeric is recommended to be consumed with lipids and fats for better utilisation, it is essential to determine the type of fats and oils used.
This is because several fats and oils contain high levels of cholesterol and unhealthy fatty acids which can disrupt the lipid profile.
They can raise the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the body. High levels of these lipids are usually associated with diseases like obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, atherosclerosis, and other cardiovascular ailments.
Also, it is best to limit its intake and consume only in required amounts as increased intake of fats even from ghee can increase the risk of cardiovascular ailments. 
Oils like olive oil and coconut oil are also healthy alternatives as they mostly contain saturated fatty acids, beneficial for health.
In the end..
One of the best ways to use turmeric is to make Golden Paste, one can make it using both powder and raw turmeric (recipe here).
How much to take?
You can start with 1/4 tsp of turmeric powder to start with and then slowly increase it to 1-1.5 tsp per day.
Which Brands are good?
You can buy any trustworthy powder brand (spice). Just make sure it does not have heavy metals and other possible contaminations. If you are confused, here is a list of recommended brands from our side.
Feel free to ask any queries on turmeric through the comments section below. Do not forget to share your experience of using turmeric with Ghee or otherwise. !
Do share your experience with preparing and using golden paste by commenting or emailing us!