Turmeric is by far one of the most studied and scientifically-backed herbs on the market today. With healing properties rooted in an ability to reduce inflammatory response, turmeric is often recommended as a treatment for osteoarthritis, diabetes and a wide array of other health conditions.
What many people don’t realize is that curcumin, the active compound that gives turmeric its healing properties, can also act as a natural antidepressant. According to Dr. Weil, curcumin may contribute to “enhanced nerve growth in the frontal cortex and hippocampal areas of the brain.” It is indeed contributing to enhanced levels of the neurotransmitters known as serotonin and dopamine. This means you may enjoy lower levels of anxiety, decreased stress and a brighter mood.
Whiles studies on mental health are limited, those that have been done by the NIH show that at the right dose, curcumin can be just as effective as some popular, well-known SSRI drugs. Because there are very few side effects of taking curcumin, this means there is a great alternative available for those who don’t experience much benefit from traditional antidepressant drugs.
Turmeric can be taken in many forms. You can buy turmeric or curcumin supplements in your local health food store. Curcumin sold as a separate compound will have a stronger health benefit than ingesting the full turmeric root. If you do add turmeric to your food, be sure to add black pepper as well. Black pepper extracts, specifically piperine, helps to increase the body’s ability to absorb and properly utilize curcumin.