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Last updateFri, 13 Mar 2015 4pm

Study finds Turmeric "As Effective" as Prozac for Depression

Extract of Turmeric is equally effective as a treatment for depression as the world's best-selling anti-depressant, new research has found.

The research, published in the medical journal "Phytotherapy Research", reveals that the organic compound "curcumin" found in the popular South Asian spice is both safe and effective in treating serious states of depression.

Curcumin is equally or "significantly more" effective than the widely-used Fluoxetine, known under brand names such as Prozac, Sarafem and others, the research found.

The groundbreaking study was conducted at the Pharmacology Department of the Government Medical College in Gujarat. 

Reports indicate that the entire clinical trial process involved about 60 patients with major depressive disorders. 

The main objective of the experiment was to make a comparison of the safety and efficiency of Curcumin by pitting it against Fluoxetine. 

According to researchers, those patients who were administered Curcumin showed better results and responded more positively towards the treatment. 

The advantages of using Curcumin include preclusion from the toxic side effects often associated with Prozac and the restoration of brain functionality.  The study also indicates that unlike Prozac, Curcumin doesn’t aggravate other psychotic disorders and suicidal tendencies of patients.

Whilst the study was relatively small (the extract was tested on 60 patients) it confirms a sizable body of research indicating that Curcumin is an effective antidepressant in the animal model, but this was not enough to sway most physicians who practice so-called "evidence based medicine" into actually suggesting it to patients as a Prozac or antidepressant alternative.

Experts say while treatment of patients with natural medicines in the West may take time and vast financial resources owing to regulatory hurdles, natural alternatives such as Turmeric in developing regions such as South Asia - where the spice remains in widespread use - may prove to be a blessing.

Previous research has also revealed that Curcumin is an effective treatment of other mental disorders such as Alzheimer's and Dementia. 

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