Natural Remedies for Depression: Bach Flower Remedies

Determining which of the flower remedies to utilize depends mostly on the specific depression symptoms a person experiences.

Plant compounds from the South African flower species Crinum and Cyrtanthus (related to daffodils) may be useful in treating diseases originating in the brain, including depression.

© Ron Sumners | Dreamstime.com

Scientists at the University of Copenhagen discovered that plant compounds from the South African flower species Crinum and Cyrtanthus (related to daffodils) may be useful in treating diseases originating in the brain, including depression. The study findings show why these plant compounds are so effective—they can cross the brain’s protective blood-brain barrier, something that has proven challenging for many conventional drug treatments.[1]

What Are Bach Flower Remedies?

Healing with flowers is not a new idea as the ancient Egyptians and Romans used flowering plants for medicinal purposes. But, the modern tradition of healing with flowers began in the early 1930’s with physician and bacteriologist, Dr. Edward Bach (pronounced Batch). 

Dr. Bach believed (and modern physicians now agree) that a person’s mental state plays a vital role in physical well-being and the ability to recover from illness and injury. In order to improve his patients’ mental health, Dr. Bach utilized 38 various dilutions of flower essences, termed “Bach Flower Remedies,” as natural remedies for depression and anxiety. Each flower is believed to have very specific qualities, and they can be taken alone, in combination or together with other natural remedies for depression. Determining which of the flower remedies to utilize depends mostly on the specific depression symptoms a person experiences:

  • Gentian – For  people who have depression symptoms of pessimism and discouragement. Gentian is used as one of the natural remedies for depression when a person knows the reason for his or her sadness i.e. loss of a job, death of a close family member or friend, etc.
  • Elm – For people who experience depression symptoms of feeling overwhelmed, anxious and exhausted, typically caused by being overworked or under a tremendous amount of stress.
  • Agrimony – For people who suffer from emotional anguish and constant feelings of despair.
  • Cherry plum – For people who experience fear on a “more-than-normal” basis. This fear can be due to a genuine, real threat (such as an impending loss) or it can be fear caused by a perceived or imaginary danger.
  • Gorse – For people who have overwhelming, persistent feelings of doubt, despair and hopelessness i.e. feeling “nothing can be done to help” or their “fate is sealed”.
  • Sweet chestnut – This is also for people who have persistent feelings of despair and hopelessness.
  • Mustard – For people who experience the depression symptoms of sadness or gloom that have no apparent cause – like “a dark cloud” has blocked out all joy.
  • Willow – For people who are highly critical, hold a grudge, have a tendency to blame others for their problems in life or often experience self-pity.
  • Honeysuckle – For people who constantly focus on past events and have overwhelming inadequacies of being able to “let go” and live in the present.
  • Wild rose – For people with anxiety and depression symptoms of apathy, lack of interest, lethargy or feeling like they are “drifting” from life.
  • Rescue remedy – This is the most popular of the Bach Flower Remedies and is useful to stabilize emotions in a crisis or emergency, shock, stress or acute anxiety episode, that is, a panic attack. (When you’re not sure which remedy to choose, rescue remedy is a good choice initially.)

How to Take the Drops

  1. First, try to find an integrative physician or practitioner who specializes in Bach Flower Remedies. This person can help you determine which remedy or combination of remedies may be most useful for you. If you are taking prescription medications, consultation with an integrative physician is strongly encouraged before beginning Bach Flower Remedies.
  2. You can purchase Bach Flower Remedies online or at your local health food store. There are a variety of manufacturers; therefore, the dosage depends largely on the specific brand of flower essence you purchase. Be sure to follow the directions on the bottle. The typical dose is two to four drops diluted in water four times daily: upon rising, before lunch, before dinner, and before going to bed.

It is important to note that while Bach Flower Remedies are useful in coping with depression symptoms, they will not correct the root cause of your condition.


[1] “South African Daffodils For Depression?” Medical News Today.

Originally published in 2012, this story is regularly updated. 

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