Date of Award


Degree Type

Selective Evidence-Based Medicine Review

Degree Name

Master of Science in Health Sciences - Physician Assistant


Physician Assistant Studies

Department Chair

John Cavenagh, MBA, PhD, PA-C


Objective: The objective of this selective EBM review is to determine whether or not curcumin, whether alone or in conjunction with alternative therapy, has an effect on Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).

Study Design: Systematic review of 3 primary studies, published between 2013 and 2016.

Data Sources: Three randomized control trials (RCT), two of which were double blind. These studies were found using Cochrane Systematic Reviews and PubMed.

Outcomes Measured: Outcome for all three articles are symptomatic changes of MDD. The outcomes measured were Patient-Oriented Evidence that Matters (POEMS) and were assessed using various self-rated tools.

Results: All three studies demonstrated an improvement in depressive symptoms compared to placebo or other control groups. In Lopresti, Maes et al., curcumin has a significant effect on symptoms compared to placebo (p=0.045).1 In Sanmukhani et al., an improvement was seen in the group receiving curcumin, although not statistically significant (p=0.58).2 Lastly, Lopresti, Drummond compared placebo to low-dose curcumin, high-dose curcumin, and low-dose curcumin combined with saffron. In this study, drug treatment with curcumin had a positive effect on patients with depression (p=0.012), although there was no difference between the differing curcumin doses or curcumin/saffron combination.3

Conclusions: Curcumin does appear to be safe and effective for adults suffering from MDD. Two out of the three trials included in this systematic review were able to show significant data in support of the positive effects of curcumin. The use of curcumin for symptomatic relief in MDD is promising, however, more RCT must be done to support this.