Did You Know.. that turmeric treats depression as effectively as anti-anxiety meds like Prozac?
A culinary spice that flavors curries and other exotic dishes, turmeric has also been used medicinally in India as a remedy for bronchitis… laryngitis… and even diabetes.
Now, a randomized and controlled clinical study published in Phytotherapy Research suggests that its benefits extend to mental health. Findings indicate that turmeric treats depression as effectively as anti-anxiety drugs such as Prozac… without the dangerous side effects!
Could Curcumin Be the Answer to Depression?
Turmeric owes its healing nature to its most active constituent—curcumin! Curcumin is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powerhouse that positively impacts brain health, heart health, and has even shown potential as an anti-cancer agent.
Researchers from the Department of Pharmacology of Government Medical College in India pitted curcumin against Prozac (fluoxetine) to see just how well the spice treated major depressive disorder (MDD). Sixty patients with MDD were separated into three groups:
- 20 patients took a daily dose of 20 mg of fluoxetine
- 20 patients took a daily dose of 1000 mg of curcumin
- 20 patients took a combination of the two
Over the course of six weeks of treatment, researchers assessed the efficacy of curcumin and fluoxetine using the 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, or HAM-D17, a questionnaire that determines the severity of one’s depression. The HAM-D17 looks into symptoms of depression, such as insomnia, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, feelings of guilt, and mood.
The results showed that curcumin was just as effective as Prozac at treating depression! The group receiving Prozac alone showed a 64.7% improvement, patients receiving curcumin alone showed a 62.5% improvement, and those receiving both Prozac and curcumin improved by 77.8%.
This exciting study provides the first clinical evidence for the efficacy of curcumin in treating depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and other psychotic disorders.
Although anti-anxiety medications such as Prozac are designed to treat the symptoms of depression, at best they merely mask the problem and lead to a lifelong dependency on the prescription drug. At worst, they exacerbate the very symptoms they are designed to treat, and have been linked to increased suicidal tendencies, weight gain, and life-threatening changes in blood pressure and heart rate.
Turmeric offers a safer way to heal the mind (and the body while it’s at it) without the threat of developing an overreliance or compromising your health due to various unwanted side effects.