As we know, depression and mental health are incredibly prevalent and widespread issues in the world today. Clinical depression, as well as mild symptoms of depression are still on the rise. Studies show that depression is at least 20% higher in the past decade alone. Mental health around the world is worse than ever. Yet, medication is more common than ever. As a result, new problems are arising from the side effects without much long-term improvement.
There are dozens of medications that claim to treat depression, yet the problems they cause seem greater than what they fix. Why is that? Why does it seem like the modern paradigm of drug therapy is digging a deeper hole rather than fixing the problem? Should medicine come with a long list of potential side effects? Whatever happened to first do no harm?
Symptoms of Depression
Depression is something that has deeper currents than what is able to be defined verbally. In addition, there is a wide range of severity. Some people have short bouts of depression, while for others it is perpetual and ongoing. Some forms of depression will come and go because of external events, while for others it is constant no matter what. Feeling down constantly, lacking energy, changes in appetite, sleep patterns, low motivation, lacking self-value, thoughts of self-harm, feeling pressure, and more are some of the most common symptoms.
It is important to know that there are no claims being made that these will cure depression, but rather tools to help improve it. Before running to the nearest psychiatrist or doctor to get a prescription, it’s good to explore natural means. Many different spices have powerful medicinal properties that can offer great value to those with depression. Here is a list of some of the most studied spices that may be worth a try.
Saffron is a potent spice with a high price tag, but has good medicinal value. However, saffron is also one of the most knocked off spices in the world. If you can get your hands on some genuine saffron, definitely give it a try. Studies show that it affects several neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin that play a role in depression. An analysis of over 20 studies showed that saffron had positive effects on depression when compared to placebo. As a bonus, saffron may also improve certain symptoms of anxiety as seen in one study.
Dill not only tastes great, but may also help to curb minor blues and depression. The flavonoids and polyphenols impact the mind in a way that is comparable to medication. One study showed that the anagesic and antidepressant effects rivaled that of tramadol and sertraline. While it won’t cure clinical depression, the goal here is to see improvement naturally.
Although turmeric quality can vary quite a bit, pure turmeric helps to stimulate neurotransmitters that are sometimes low in depression. Furthermore, through its MAO inhibiting properties, it has the ability to help these chemicals to not be broken down as quickly. Turmeric also helps to tame inflammation, which can be high at times in the brain of those with depression.
Studies show that rosemary is is one of the best spices for the brain. It enhances circulation and may help to lower cognitive decline associated with aging. For depression, rosemary may be able to slightly lower the severity. In one study, the group that took rosemary saw an improvement from moderate to mild depression.
Although this is not a spice, it has beneficial properties for depression that combine well with the others on this list. Many people enjoy noni because it works on several pathways that help with mood balance. This includes GABA, the calming neurotransmitter, serotonin, and dopamine. These three compounds largely impact mental and emotional health. In addition, noni is a natural MAO-A & B inhibitor, which allows these important compounds to last longer in the brain before being broken down. Clinical studies highlight low levels of MAO in people with depression.
Before running to the doctor to get a script for medication, there is a treasure chest of healthy, natural items that can help. While it may take time to find the right combination, it is worth experimenting with. With the long list of side effects and lack of long-term effectiveness at times, it’s important to try other options first. You may be surprised by combing some of these spices with nutritional therapy.
What Makes Saffron so special?
The way we value anything is largely dependent on the effort we put into getting it. This is especially true of saffron of which is asked why so special. Why is it “one of the most precious spices in the world”? Its highly labor-intensive production is one factor that makes it a most expensive spice.
What is saffron?
It comes from the saffron crocus flower. There are three stigmas in the center of each flower. These must be manually taken out, placed on a sieve to dry over a heat source to enhance the flavor. According to one source, it can take more than 75,000 flowers harvested by hand to make one pound of it. With so much labor going into the production of saffron it must be considered special.
The many uses and health benefits derived from the use of saffron also makes it a special spice. Research suggests that this spice is:
• an aphrodisiac, among the health benefits associated with its use.
• It also offers protection against cancer. Crocin, which it contains has been found to prevent the formation of malignant cells and trigger cell death for different types of human cancer.
• While not affecting normal body cells, it also stimulates immune cells that help destroy cancer cells.
Studies have also shown that crocin is useful for age-related mental problems and is used in treating memory loss, Parkinson’s disease, and inflammation. Saffron is also useful as a stimulant. A pinch in a tablespoon of milk is useful to promote hormone production in underdeveloped girls. As an aphrodisiac, it can be used for low libido to be taken at bedtime. Mixed in licorice and milk, saffron also is an effective topical application to promote hair growth. It is also an effective treatment for cold and fever that gives quick relief.
There are other ways in which this spice is used including it as food additives. It is also a culinary treasure that is used in combination with other condiments, to marinate fish and add color and a rich aroma to cakes and other foods and drinks.
The labor that goes into producing what is saffron and the many ways in which it is useful, makes it an incredibly special spice.
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