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Turmeric: More effective than Prozac


A study has revealed that turmeric may be more effective than Prozac when treating Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).

We all feel sad every now and then. These feelings usually go away within a short period of time. But, when these feelings interfere with our everyday life and bring pain to both to ourselves and our loved ones, it is considered a depression.

Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a mental disorder with signs of prevalent and constant depressed mood, low self-esteem and a loss of interest in enjoyable activities.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), depression is the most common illness worldwide and the leading cause of disability. An estimated 350 million people are affected by depression globally, as stated by WHO.

Read more 10 Proven Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin

Fried fish with turmeric

Conventional treatment for depression is prescription drugs such as, Prozac, Tricyclic antidepressant, Serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors etc. However, these drugs are full of side effects and interact with foods we eat. For some patients, the effectiveness of these medications decrease over the course of treatment. The patients are forced to learn to live with their disorder. Therefore, best remedies for depression would be natural medicine.  It is clear that natural sources including foods and herbs can offer similar benefits as prescription drugs without the nasty side effects.

More effective than prozac

Researchers dealing with Phytotherapy have found that curcumin, a compound found in turmeric fights depression by attacking numerous underlying targets.

Read more Can Turmeric Prevent Alzheimer’s?

A recent study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research states that turmeric isn’t only an effective alternative in treating depression, it may treat the condition more efficaciously than some of the most popular anti-depressant drugs available in the market. Hence, the spice may be more effective than Prozac when treating MDD.

Turmeric egg salad

Scientists from the Government Medical College in Gujarat, India performed a research to compare the efficiency and safety of turmeric (curcumin) with Prozac (fluoxetine). They recruited 60 individuals suffering from major depressive disorder (MDD). Previous studies have indicated turmeric’s efficacy in treating serious depression.

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The sixty patients were divided into three groups of twenty patients each. The first group was given 20 mg of antidepressant Prozac (fluoxetine) every morning. For the second group, the researchers supplied 1,000 mg of absorption-enhanced curcumin in 2 equal doses. The third group received both the fluoxetine (once daily) and curcumin (twice daily).

The study determined that turmeric was as effective as Prozac in treating MDD. The turmeric treatment was also free of dangerous side effects often associated with Prozac use.

Read more Turmeric: The Spice With Strong Healing Power

The HAM-D17 (Hamilton Depression Rating Scale) was used to measure the results. They found that all the patients tolerated curcumin. The proportion was the highest in the fluoxetine-curcumin combination group (77.8%). In two other groups – fluoxetine group showed 64.7% and the group receiving curcumin showed 62.5% in the HAM-D17 scale.


The researchers believe that based on the results, curcumin may an efficacious and safe alternative for treatment in individuals with Major Depressive Disorder without simultaneous suicidal thoughts or other mental disorders.

When compared to pharmaceutical drugs, the use of turmeric to treat depression has been shown to be safer and less challenging to the body. No side effects such as, suicidal ideation and/or psychotic disorders which are associated with Prozac were present during turmeric treatment.

Read more Turmeric in combination with fish oil could prevent type-2 diabetes

By the year 2018, the annual profits of the anti-depressant market will reach approximately $13.5 billion. Instead of curing depressions, these pharmaceuticals hide the symptoms and make the patient rely on them for the rest of their lives. Identifying the root cause of depression and using natural treatments and diet is a much more effective approach both in cost and curing patients. Turmeric, a traditional spice used in cooking and as medicinal herb in India and Southeast Asia for thousands of years has been the subject of endless scientific studies in recent years. A growing body of evidence suggests that natural treatments are safer and effective when treating depression, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and many other diseases and disorders.

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Salahuddin Ahmed is a freelance medical writer and blogger, who has been writing about medicine and health for more than a decade. A former New York transplant, he now lives in his native Dhaka. He received a Bachelor's degree from the University of Louisiana and a diploma on eTechnology from NIIT, Dhaka. A voracious eater, Salahuddin only dines at restaurants that offer free refills on rice.