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August 2014

Curcumin Might Reduce Depression Symptoms

A recent study suggests that curcumin might reduce depression symptoms in people with major depression.

Curcumin is the yellow-colored primary active chemical that is derived from turmeric, a spice which comes from the root of the turmeric (Curcuma longa) plant, and is commonly used to color foods and cosmetics. Curcumin has been shown to have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

In a recent study, researchers randomly assigned 56 people with major depression to received 500 milligrams of curcumin twice daily or placebo for 8 weeks. An assessment called the Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology self-rated version (IDS-SR30) was used as the main outcome measure. Other measurements, such as an anxiety assessment, were also evaluated.

The researchers found that while both curcumin and placebo were beneficial during the first 4 weeks of the study, between weeks 4 and 8, curcumin was significantly more beneficial for improving mood and depression scores. Curcumin was also more effective at treating atypical depression, a form of depression that is generally difficult to treat.

The authors concluded that taking curcumin for 4 to 8 weeks might be beneficial for people with major depression. Larger-scale studies are needed to further evaluate these findings.

For information about cucumin, please visit Natural Standard’s Food, Herbs & Supplements Database.

For information about integrative therapies for depression, please visit Natural Standard’s Comparative Effectiveness Database.


  1. Lopresti AL, Maes M, Maker GL, et al. Curcumin for the treatment of major depression: A randomised, double-blind, placebo controlled study. J Affect Disord. 2014 Oct;167:368-75.
  2. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine. 

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