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Turmeric For Depression: Does It Help Ease The Symptoms? How To Use

A healthy spice, turmeric is touted as the golden spice - and that name is rightfully bestowed upon the spice owing to the numerous health benefits it possesses. Turmeric contains anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, anti-fungal and antibacterial properties, all thanks to curcumin - the compound present in turmeric.

Several studies point out that turmeric may be the most effective nutritional supplement in existence, benefitting us not just physically but also mentally [1]. The uses and benefits of turmeric are no news to Indians, as the herb has been used in India for thousands of years as both a spice and medicinal herb.

Turmeric can be added to the food you eat regularly. Or heat a teaspoon of ghee, then turn off the heat. Add a teaspoon of turmeric to it and then mix it well. Have this along with a cup of lukewarm milk. Studies have also pointed out that consuming ½ to 1 ½ tsp. of turmeric per day should start providing noticeable benefits (such as reduced inflammation, better digestion etc.) after four to eight weeks [2][3].

In addition to all of the benefits mentioned above, turmeric has been linked with depression on a positive note. Many experts claim that turmeric can help ease depression symptoms [4]. Let's take a look.

Turmeric For Depression: How Does It Work?

The compound curcumin in turmeric is responsible for this. Curcumin, packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties holds the potential to improve several health conditions including depression, including mild depression and major depressive disorder (MDD) [5].

Let's take a look at how turmeric can help ease depression:

1. Fights off chronic inflammation: While depression is not an inflammatory disorder, studies have made links between inflammation and depression [6]. Not everyone with depression has inflammatory issues and vice-versa, however, chronic inflammation and depression worsen one another. Curcumin, an antioxidant can help ease symptoms of depression by fighting chronic inflammation [7].

2. Promotes nerve growth: Curcumin is also said to promote nerve growth in certain areas of the brain. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor or BDNF (one of the major neurotrophic factors that play a central role in the maintenance and survival of neurons in the brain), has a direct link to depression, pointing out that people with depression have a reduced BDNF [8]. BDNF is critical for memory and learning, as well as eating and drinking. Studies (animal trials) have shown that curcumin may increase brain levels of BDNF, possible managing brain disorders such as depression.

3. Combination with other herbs: Some studies show that curcumin when used in combination with saffron (another herb), it reduced depression symptoms [9]. One study explored combining piperine (pepper) and curcumin (turmeric) for depression and positive results were acquired.

4. Boosts performance of anti-depressants: Another study showed that curcumin could help antidepressants work better [10]. More studies are required for the same.

Warning: Consult a doctor before using curcumin or turmeric supplements to treat depression.

Note: You should not use turmeric or curcumin instead of prescribed antidepressants.

Note 2: People suffering from bile-duct dysfunction or galls stones may need to avoid turmeric. Even pregnant women may need a doctor's approval to try turmeric.

How To Use Turmeric For Depression?

  • As a supplement: Turmeric supplements are available at most health stores in tincture and extract forms. Make sure you buy supplements with 95 per cent curcumin.
  • Add to foods: Adding turmeric to your foods can also be beneficial. However, more studies are required to understand the same.

Turmeric Lemonade For Depression

  • Ingredients: You will need the juice of an orange, 4 tablespoons of honey, 2 lemons, 4 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of turmeric powder.
  • How to prepare: Blend all the ingredients and drink it once a day for 7 days.

On A Final Note...

When we say turmeric is beneficial for people with depression, it does not state that eating turmeric or drinking turmeric milk would magically cure the mental health condition. It means that the components in turmeric such as curcumin can help, suggesting the use of turmeric-based supplements that has curcumin as the primary element.

Mental Health Helpline Numbers

1. COOJ Mental Health Foundation (COOJ)- Helpline: 0832-2252525 | 01:00 PM - 07:00 PM ( Monday to Friday)

2. Parivarthan- Helpline: +91 7676 602 602 | 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM (Monday to Friday)

3. Connecting Trust- Helpline: +91 992 200 1122 | +91-992 200 4305 | 12:00 PM to 08:00 PM (All days of the week)

4. Roshni Trust- Helpline: 040-66202000, 040-66202001 | 11:00 AM - 09:00 PM (Monday to Sunday)

5. Sahai Helpline: 080-25497777 / Email at - SAHAIHELPLINE@GMAIL.COM | 10 AM- 8 PM (Monday to Saturday)

6. Sumaitri: 011-23389090 / FEELINGSUICIDAL@SUMAITRI.NET |2 PM- 10 PM (Monday To Friday); 10 AM - 10 PM (Saturday and Sunday)

7. Sneha: 044-24640050 (24 HOURS) / 044-24640060 | Email at- HELP@SNEHAINDIA.ORG |8 AM - 10 PM

8. Lifeline: 033-24637401 / 033-24637432 | Email at LIFELINEKOLKATA@GMAIL.COM | 10 AM - 6 PM

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