We all need a mood buster from time to time- more so as most countries continue to come to terms with restrictions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s now evident that taking care of our health, including mental health, is paramount since we live in a world of uncertainty. That being the case, what is on your plate and in your cup can significantly impact your mood. Here we look at turmeric for depression.
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a root from the ginger family, mostly used in India, China, and Middle East countries in their delicacies. For decades, People from these countries have been using turmeric to enhance their skin conditions, infection, and relieve stress. Turmeric is powdered into a yellow spice that enhances the taste and color of food.
Turmeric contains curcumin, an active compound that has antioxidants and also prevents inflammation. Due to its anti-inflammation properties, turmeric is believed to have the ability to improve mental health, including reducing symptoms of depression.
How does Turmeric Help with Depression?
As earlier stated, turmeric contains curcumin, an antioxidant that scavenges free radicals that create inflammation. Curcumin also reduces inflammation since it reduces oxidative stress. Depression has been linked with chronic inflammation, though it’s not yet clear if one leads to the other. However, it has been suggested that depression and chronic inflammation aggravate each other.
Since antioxidants such as curcumin can reduce inflammation, it is believed that it can also help with symptoms of depression. There have been many trials to determine whether turmeric can help with symptoms of depression, where most have succeeded, opening doors for further trials.
Can I Use Turmeric or Curcumin?
On its own or with other herbs: You can choose to use turmeric or curcumin on its own or with other herbs. Whichever the case, it will still be effective. You are totally at liberty to choose how you like it.
Alongside prescription: It is believed that curcumin helps antidepressants work better. However, researchers are yet to prove whether curcumin works better when used with antidepressants than on its own.
How to Use Turmeric for Depression
Soon, turmeric, especially curcumin, will be among depression treatments. However, further studies are needed before it is considered as a treatment option. If you are planning to try it at home, ensure first to seek doctors’ opinions to inform you on dos and don’ts. It is also not advisable to use turmeric or curcumin instead of prescribed antidepressants.
Ensure that if you opt to use this herb, do so under the doctor’s supervision and only after completing your medication. Remember that you may not see a change in symptoms right away. Researchers suggest that changes start to be evident after about four weeks of using this herb.
Turmeric for Depression – Use it as a Supplement
Turmeric supplements are available at many local clinics, food stores, or online. You can also find them in the form of extracts or tinctures. How you take your turmeric does not matter, so long as the amount of curcumin is right. The right amount of curcumin you should take should not be below 95%. Ensure that the turmeric supplements you are taking have a stipulation on the amount of curcumin present in them since some supplements have more compounds found in turmeric than curcumin.
Related: LGBTQ and ALL has compiled a list of the most commonly used medications and supplements to treat anxiety and depression.
There are other supplements with 100% pure extracted curcumin. This might be the best option for anyone who wants to use turmeric supplements. You should also understand that supplements are not regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration before purchasing your supplements. Ensure you buy only from manufactures you can trust. Be sure to use the supplements the right way; if you are not sure how to use them, seek a doctor’s advice.
Using Turmeric for Depression – Add to Your Meals
As mentioned, turmeric is best known as a spice. However, it is unclear whether cooking with turmeric or curcumin is the same as taking it as oral supplements. Also, turmeric powder does not stipulate the amount of curcumin in them. If you can find high-curcumin turmeric, one teaspoon of turmeric is enough. Ensure that you use the spice regularly for better outcomes.
Using Turmeric for Depression – Use it with Piperine
This is a compound in black pepper and enhances absorption of other compounds during digestion. Due to this, piperine is the right component to be used with herb-based supplements since it can make them work fast and effectively. Studies have supported researches where piperine has been used alongside other supplements with claims that it can help with depression.
For better results, ensure that you use curcumin supplements alongside piperine. You can choose to take piperine supplements alongside curcumin supplements or use black pepper in your turmeric-enhanced dishes. A ¼ teaspoon of black pepper is enough since it is recommended to use the right quantity or dosage.
Side Effects of Turmeric
Though turmeric and curcumin are safe to ingest, there are always side effects associated with them. They include:
- Stomach upset
To avoid such side effects, start with a small dosage and increase the dosage to aim for the targeted and right dosage. If you are using antidepressants, ensure to consult with a health expert before adding turmeric supplements to your routine, since there is always a possibility of these supplements interacting with your medication.
If you experience any severe symptoms upon using turmeric or curcumin, you should see a doctor immediately, especially if you have replaced your medication with herbs.
Turmeric for Depression – Final Thoughts
As we are currently adjusting to the new normal due to the Covid-19 pandemic, most people are having mental challenges due to isolation and any other challenge that comes with coronavirus. Among the mental challenges that most people are experiencing is depression. Therefore, most people are always open to options that can prevent or reduce symptoms associated with it. If you are wondering what you can try to ease depression symptoms, try turmeric or curcumin. Remember that the herb should not replace antidepressants if you are taking any.