One spice with 3,500 years of cultural history could be your best weapon against depression. It’s been used as a fragrance and dye, as well as a seasoning. It’s been used by ancient Sumerian kingdoms, inhabitants of the island of Crete, and American’s Pennsylvania Dutch.
Now studies show this seductive spice is as effective in fighting depression as prescription drugs… without the harsh side effects.
Dr. Ahmad Ali Noorbala’s research proves it. He’s a professor at the School of Medicine at Tehran University of Medical Sciences. He’s an MD at Roozbeh Hospital in Tehran. He’s written over 40 peer-reviewed articles. He specializes in psychiatry. And he’s the director of the Association for Support of Psychiatric Patients.
Natural Remedy vs. Prescription Drug
Dr. Noorbala’s study directly compared an extract of the spice to fluoxetine. Fluoxetine is a drug used to treat major depression. You know it as Prozac.
The study followed 40 adult outpatients for six weeks. They all met criteria for mild to moderate depression. Group one took 30-mg capsules of the spice extract daily. Group two took 20 mg of fluoxetine daily.
How did the natural remedy hold up against the FDA-approved drug?
“[The extract] at this dose was found to be effective similar to fluoxetine in the treatment of mild to moderate depression,” reported Dr. Noorbala.
But fluoxetine comes with adverse effects. The most common is sexual dysfunction. Others include nausea, insomnia, and anxiety.
Problems with Prozac
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression affects 121 million worldwide. 40 million of them are on Prozac. But the effectiveness of that drug has come into question.
A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that antidepressants worked no better than the placebo.
Professor Irving Kirsch led the study. He’s from the department of psychology at Hull University. He says, “Given the results, there seems little reason to prescribe antidepressant medication to any but the most severely depressed patients, unless alternative treatments have failed.”
If you’re taking these drugs, the side effects can be almost as upsetting as depression itself. Two studies on fluoxetine have shown sexual dysfunction to be a common side effect. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) also reports that people taking these drugs may experience insomnia, nervousness, and agitation.
All of that for something that works no better than a placebo?
Imagine weight of depression lifted. Being able to sleep at night. Without nausea or anxiety.
That’s exactly what this all-natural remedy can do.
Cutting Depression Rates by 25%
The spice is saffron. It’s made from the dried stigmas of a purple flower called Crocus sativus.
Dr. Noorbala was involved in two follow-up studies on it. Both were with Shahin Akhondzadeh.
Akhondzadeh is a professor at Tehran University of Medical Sciences. He’s a member of the Psychiatry Department. He has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychopharmacology. And he’s published over 40 peer-reviewed articles.
The first follow-up study found that saffron “produced a significantly better outcome on the Hamilton depression rating scale than the placebo.”
The second follow-up was similar to Dr. Noorbala’s original study. Except outpatients were studied for eight weeks this time. The doses were the same (30 mg saffron and 20 mg fluoxetine). But they were delivered twice daily.
Both treatments showed a remission rate of 25 percent. Saffron was again just as effective as the drug.
How to Add Saffron to Your Diet
Harvesting saffron is very labor-intensive. 75,000 blossoms are required to make one pound. So the spice can range from $50-$300 an ounce.
You can find alternative versions of saffron online and in health food stores. The spice is available in powder, capsule, and extract form – which are much easier on the wallet. A one ounce bottle of saffron extract, for instance, runs about $10.
The recommended dose for help with depression is 30 mg once or twice a day. Which means you can get about 944 doses for 10 bucks.
Take care to know what kind of saffron you’re taking. Pure saffron contains only the dried stigmas of the crocus flower. The highest-grade version of the spice is red and has a distinct aroma. Yellow saffron works, but it’s not as potent.
To your best health,
Managing Editor, NHD “Health Watch”