Turmeric, Nature's Ultimate Anti-Depressant With Recipes!
October 17, 2015
By: RaDonna Fox
M..A. Psychology, Holistic Health Specialist
This Indian herb is quite possibly the Holy Grail of all herbal anti-depressants and anti-inflammatories. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has outstanding MAO-A enzyme inhibiting mechanisms. Elevated levels of MAO-A have been implicated as a causative factor of depression.
You have probably heard of MAOI prescription drugs, and that if you took them you couldn't eat certain foods. Because of the MAOI activities of turmeric many people have wondered if consuming turmeric with foods high in tyramine would create the dreaded hypertensive tyramine crisis.
Tyramine crisis is defined by uncontrollably high blood pressure. There have been no complaints of tyramine crisis with the use of turmeric. The reason behind this is the fact that the early MAOI drugs have what is known as irreversible binding inhibitors. They bind to the inhibited enzyme permanently when consumed with food high in tyramine, creating a tyramine crisis.
Turmeric does not do this, it does not bind to the inhibited enzyme for very long, its properties are reversible. This is believed to the be the reason turmeric is safely consumed with any and all foods including those high in tyramine. Newer MAOI drugs now possess reversible enzyme binding properties and they too do not cause a tyramine interaction.
Not only is it safe, turmeric is also effective! A major study conducted by Department of Pharmacology, Government Medical College, Bhavnagar, Gujarat, India compared the safety and efficacy of Turmeric (curcumin) with that of Prozac (fluoxetine). The randomized controlled study evaluated 60 individuals who had a diagnosis of major depressive disorder. The study lasted six weeks and compared 20mg doses of Prozac with 1000mg doses of turmeric. The results follow: “We observed that curcumin was well tolerated by all the patients. The proportion of responders as measured by the HAM-D17 scale was higher in the combination group (77.8%) than in the fluoxetine [Prozac] (64.7%) and the curcumin (62.5%) groups; however, these data were not statistically significant (P = 0.58).” *It is important to note that the above study did not include the use of black pepper, and because of that this study should be conducted using black pepper.
Turmeric does have a very low bio-availability unless it is taken with black pepper. Without black pepper our bodies simply do not absorb turmeric well, and so it must be taken with black pepper if it is to be effective. Black pepper increases the bio-availability of curcumin by 2000%. The best ratio is 2 parts turmeric to 1 part black pepper, but some people find that to be a little strong, so 4 to 1 is fine if you increase the dose accordingly.
Recipes are great because they can replace dosages.
Turmeric Chai Tea
Delicious Golden Turmeric Rice
2 c. of cooked rice
2 to 3 tbs. of freshly ground ginger
1 tbs. of fresh chopped garlic
4 tbs of turmeric
2 tsps of black pepper
1 tbs of Asian red chili in oil
¼ c. of raisins
2 tbs of oil oil
1 tsp of butter
On a hot griddle or wok add the olive oil and butter. Then add the garlic, ginger, and chili in oil and stir. Add the cooked rice and stir all of the ingredients together. Then add the black pepper, turmeric, and raisins. Stir well, heat thoroughly, and serve immediately. Enjoy!
Should you find yourself suffering from depression, it is a good idea to consult with a qualified psychotherapist regarding your condition. It is also wise to consider talking to a naturopathic doctor, N.D., regarding the use of turmeric for your condition.
*If you are suffering from suicidal thoughts or psychosis do not take turmeric, seek emergency medical treatment at an E.R.