Depression is one of the leading mental health issues that is prevalent around the globe. Treating depression can prove to be a little too budget costly with the ongoing and expensive medications along with the monthly doctor visits. In such cases, turmeric is a good alternative to medication used in the management of depression.
Turmeric is a root with potent medicinal values and has been in use since time immemorial. Atypical depression, that is a sub-type of major depression or dysthymic disorder has been found to be associated with high levels of inflammation.
All You Need to Know About Using Turmeric for Depression
Benefits of using turmeric for treating depression
Turmeric contains abundance of polyphenols known as curcumin. Curcumin is very effective in treating depression and certain studies indicate curcumin is more potent than other antidepressants too. Curcumin helps treat depression in the following ways:
- As an antioxidant
- Antioxidants are important to the body as they prevent the body tissues from oxidative damage. If the tissues are damaged then the brain would not receive enough oxygen and glucose thus leading to brain oxidative stress. This highly affects the brain.
- Curcumin helps in increasing the levels of antioxidants in the body and also acts directly on the free radicals to repair the oxidative damage.
- Several patients with depression have low levels of antioxidants and antioxidant enzymes, thus, turmeric potentially helps to increase those levels.
- As antiinflammatory
- Curcumin acts as an effective anti – inflammatory mediator as it effectively inhibits cyclooxygenase – 2 and nuclear factor – kappa B, which contribute to inflammation. Curcumin also blocks the production of inducible nitric oxide synthase and thus decreasing the levels of inflammation causing nitric oxide.
- Controls the levels of neurotransmitters
- Neurotransmitters are the chemicals that transmit signals across the cells. Some of the neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine regulates attentiveness, good sleep and learning while another neurotransmitter, dopamine improves emotions and serotonin regulates memory, appetite and mood.
- Antidepressants work by inhibiting enzymes that breakdown the neurotransmitters. The polyphenol curcumin inhibits monoamine oxidase enzyme and thus potentially regulates the levels of norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin.
- Protects cognition and memory
- Ameliorates sleep deprivation
- Has gastroprotective effect
- Regulates vital protein levels that support brain health
- Promotes boosting of brain cells
- Neurodegeneration, is a condition where the brain neurons start to lose their function and this occurs in depression. There is also reduction in the creation of neurons. Curcumin present in the turmeric promotes boosting of the brain cells.
Turmeric for Depression and Recipes
Turmeric owing to the abundance of polyphenols, curcumin could one day be a mainstream of depression treatment. For now, it is better to consult your doctor and discuss for any side effects. It is not advisable to replace your prescribed medication with turmeric.
Use turmeric as a supplement
Turmeric supplements are available as extract forms or tinctures in local health stores or online. Use those supplements which tell you the percentage of curcumin in them as this is what is essential for you. Using a high percentage supplement of around 95% is ideal. Keep up with the dosage and information on the label and do consult your doctor for any doubts.
Include turmeric in your meals
Adding turmeric to your meals is another method for using it to your benefit. however, the turmeric packets are rarely labelled with the amount of curcumin present, thus the potential effects are unpredictable.
If you do find a high – curcumin turmeric then one teaspoon of turmeric a day is effective.
Include piperine too
Piperine is a compound, that is found in the black pepper. Piperine is believed to enhance the absorption of other compounds during the digestion. Owing to this property, piperine is added to many herb – based supplements including curcumin. According to a 2013 study, it showed that curcumin with piperine was more effective in treating depression than curcumin alone.
About one – fourth of a teaspoon of black pepper (or 20 mg of piperine) should be sufficient.
Recipes involving the use of turmeric as an antidepressant
1. Iced turmeric lemonade recipe
Serving : 4 cups
- 2 cups of water
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1-2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 ½ cups ice
- ½ tsp stevia drops or other natural sweetener of choice
- A pinch of black pepper
- Add all the ingredients in a blender and blend for 60 seconds or until the ice is completely blended.
- Allow it to rest for 30 seconds and then pour it into cups to serve.
- Top off with more ice and consume immediately.
2. Turmeric paste or golden paste
- ½ cup turmeric powder
- 1 cup water
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground black pepper powder
- 70 ml cold compressed olive or coconut oil
- Make a paste by adding water and turmeric to a pan while heating gently along with stirring.
- Do this for 6 – 10 min to get a thick paste.
- Add pepper and oil at the end.
- Keep stirring to ensure all the ingredients have mixed properly.
- Allow to cool.
You can store it in a jar and refrigerate it for up to 1 – 2 weeks.
Start eating this in small doses such as a quarter or half teaspoon and if you see no side effects, increase the dose by 1-4 teaspoon every week until you reach a dose of 1 – 2 teaspoon two – three times a day (or 1 teaspoon for thrice a day).
Turmeric is an age – old herb that has been used for its potential medicinal properties being rich in the polyphenols, curcumin gives it the anti – oxidative and anti – inflammatory properties that are quite effective in treating depression. It also regulates the levels of neurotransmitters, boosts the brain cells, protects cognition and memory, etc.
You can start taking turmeric supplements or add it in your meal to use it to your benefit. you can also drink a very healthy, refreshing drink – iced turmeric lemonade or prepare a golden paste or turmeric paste with turmeric, olive or coconut oil and black pepper.