A recent study indicates curcumin may decrease depression symptoms in people suffering from major depression.
Another recent study reports that Ginkgo biloba may interact with a drug used to treat those with HIV.
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The two recent studies were reported by The Natural Standard.
Curcumin is the active chemical that comes from turmeric, the spice which derives from the root of the turmeric, or Curcuma longa plant. It is often used to add color to cosmetics and certain foods.
It has been determined that curcumin contains antioxidant as well as anti-inflammatory properties.
In a recent study, 56 people with major depression were randomly assigned to receive 500 milligrams of curcumin twice a day, or a placebo, for two months. An assessment known as the Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology was used to measure the main outcome. Other measurements, including anxiety assessments, also were evaluated.
Researchers reported that while both curcumin and the placebo produced benefits for subjects during the first month of the study, during the second month curcumin was found to be dramatically more beneficial in improving depression and mood scores. Curcumin also was found to be more effective at treating atypical depression, which is a type of depression that has been found to be more difficult to treat.
Researchers found that taking curcumin for four to eight weeks may help people who suffer from major depression. Officials said larger-scale studies should be performed to further evaluate the results.
In another case, The Standard said a recent report suggests that Ginkgo biloba may interact with Sustiva, a drug used to treat patients who have HIV. Ginkgo biloba has a long medical history.
It has been used medicinally for thousands of years and today is a top-selling herb in America. Ginkgo can be used to treat numerous conditions. Ginkgo for the most part is well-tolerated, but some have said it may hike the risk of bleeding in people who are on blood thinner medications.
In a report received by Health Canada, a 41 year-old man infected with HIV who successfully underwent antiretroviral therapy for a decade experienced an increase in the amount of HIV in his blood.
While he did not skip any medications, he also was taking:
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Vitamin D, flax oil and rutin
- Ginkgo biloba each day for two months
- Horse chestnut
After the Ginkgo biloba and horse chestnut were halted, and antiretroviral therapy continued for a month, the patient’s HIV levels once again declined.
Researchers determined that people with HIV often take natural medicines along with prescribed treatments. Healthcare professionals should remind patients of the potential interactions between natural products and their HIV treatments.
Those with HIV should tell their doctors if they are taking any natural products.