Friday, April 22, 2016


Turmeric has been getting a lot of press lately for its anti-inflammatory capabilities, but did you know that it can be used as a mild anti-depressant?

This bright yellow powder or mini ginger-like root might as well be the embodiment of sunshine breaking through the clouds. Turmeric is one spice which has brought me so much relief since I discovered what it can do for my physical and emotional states.

Without getting into too much detail, back during a time when the physical, emotional, and financial threats to my being were at an all time high, I sank into a state which my doctor diagnosed as depression. (I’m writing about this because I’m sure it’s something so common that many people have experienced in their own lives, and perhaps you can relate my story to yourself or someone you know. Depression and the usual prescriptions are so common in our society, we need to talk about these things and not be embarrassed about this part of our experience.)

I faithfully took the pills my doctor prescribed me (I can’t remember the name of them now) and I remember feeling spaced out, and as if I was being contained within an emotional straight-jacket.  Maybe during that time I really needed this emotional straight-jacket to get through that period in my life without imploding, but I can’t help but wonder if I could have managed it with turmeric. 

I eventually came off of those pills because I wanted to feel my full range of emotion again, but the throws of life weren’t done with me yet, and circumstances led me to a state of feeling a complete loss of purpose and direction.  That time, depression kept me in bed most of the time, and was seriously sucking away my will to go on. Everything felt hopeless but I really didn’t want to take those pills again, so I searched desperately for something which would give me relief without the side effects. That’s when I found various studies done on turmeric.

The trend I noticed was that studies done on the effects of turmeric alone reported less favorable results than the studies which used turmeric and black pepper together.  Black pepper, it seems is the secret to our bodies actually absorbing the healing agents within turmeric! It turns out that there is a molecule called piperine within black pepper which makes all the difference for the bioavailability of curcumin, the yellow pigment in turmeric.  You can read all about turmeric and also what piperine does in this paper

I took a chance and took my well being into my own hands. I found out that the dose for taking turmeric for mood issues was much smaller (~1/16th tsp with a good crank of pepper) from the amount taken for aches and pains (~1/2 tsp with several cranks of pepper.)  At first, I blended it with warm milk and honey and drank it several times each day.  The drink in itself was like a warm hug coloured like sunshine.  20-30 minutes later, the emotional clouds would lift.

Using turmeric was a great alternative to the pills I had once taken.  Instead of the emotional straight jacket, it was as if the dark cloud over my head would thin enough that I could function for a while.  There was no emotional limitation, only a gentle but profound mood lightening and brightening.  It enabled me to manage my moods well enough to do the mental work required to find purpose and direction again. 

We humans are living in a very stressful ways and we’ve got to discover our own keys to sustaining ourselves so that we can find our way to creating our own individual impact on the world.

I’m going to throw out a disclaimer here and suggest that anything you read on the internet is not a substitute for professional counselling.  If you are seriously struggling, please consider talking to a doctor, a nurse, or a social worker. At the very least, talk to a friend who can support you in getting you to the help you need.

With that said, if you’re like me and searching for a dyi way to manage life’s ups and downs, please try turmeric when you’re stressed or overwhelmed, dealing with pms (it’s so great for aches and pains), are trying to soothe a stressed out child (turmeric milk, pepper & honey!!) or if you have any other reason for needing more yellow in your life.

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