Researchers with the Department of Pharmacology of Government Medical College in Bhavnagar, Gujarat, India performed a study comparing the effects of turmeric (curcumin) and Prozac (fluoxetine). The randomized and controlled clinical study determined turmeric was as effective as Prozac in treating major depressive disorder. Turmeric treatment was also absent of dangerous side effects often found in Prozac use.
The objectives of the trial was to compare the efficacy and safety of curcumin with fluoxetine (Prozac) in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). The study observed 60 patients diagnosed with MDD. Patients were randomized in a 1:1:1 ratio for six weeks in an observer-masked treatment using fluoxetine (20 mg) and curcumin (1000 mg) both individually or in combination. To determine the efficacy of each treatment, the main variable used was response rates according to the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, 17-item version (HAM-D17 ). They also employed a second efficacy variable which examined the mean change in HAM-D17 rating after the six week observation period.
Turmeric is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family. The average person may best recognize turmeric as a spice commonly used in Indian cuisine. The active compound curcumin is known to have a wide range of medicinal benefits including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antitumour, antibacterial, and antiviral activities. In India, turmeric has been used for thousands of years as a remedy for stomach and liver ailments. Turmeric can also be used topically to heal sores due to its antimicrobial properties.