Curcumin and the potent Mediterranean spice, saffron, have been shown in research to act in a powerful combination to reduce anxiety and also depression.
While there have been previous studies showing the same results, the research has always been criticized for poor design. Here, the researchers Adrian Lopresti and Peter Drummond of Murdoch University, Perth, Australia, set out to overcome those faults with a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. The results were published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, January 1st 2017 (1).
Curcumin has anti-inflammatory and neuro-protective benefits, as well as being able to cross the blood brain barrier and being a powerful anti-oxidant. It is poorly absorbed and should be taken with olive oil and black pepper (although the latter only has small absorption benefits). In a meta-analysis (2), curcumin alone was found to be capable of reducing depression.
In the Australian research saffron improved the benefits of curcumin, but no difference was found in dose amounts. Saffron comes from a species of crocus and by weight is more expensive that gold. On its own it has been shown to have anti-depressive benefits (3). It is very much the spice of Mediterranean Food giving it a distinctive taste ad a bright yellow hue.