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Study: Common Spice Could Be Useful In Fighting Depression

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(credit: INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/Getty Images)

(credit: INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/Getty Images)

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A new study shows that a spice commonly used in many ethnic cuisines may be as beneficial as medication to those with depression — and without the scary side effects.

Researchers at the Department of Pharmacology of Government Medical College in India say that they conducted their research on 60 patients who had been diagnosed with major depressive disorder, or MDD, over a period of six weeks.

The patients were given either fluoxetine (Prozac) or curcumin (turmeric) or a combination of both.

At the end of the test period, the scientists say the turmeric was found to be well-tolerated by all of the patients. They also say that all of the patients’ score changes on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale were comparable, regardless of whether they were taking only turmeric, just Prozac or a combination of both.

“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). Interestingly, the mean change in HAM-D17 score at the end of six weeks was comparable in all three groups (P = 0.77),” they write. “This study provides first clinical evidence that curcumin may be used as an effective and safe modality for treatment in patients with MDD without concurrent suicidal ideation or other psychotic disorders.”

To see the study, click here.

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