Herbal Remedies for Depression

Having trouble finding happiness in your life? The following remedies may help. This isn't intended as medical advice.

Herbs have been proven to help beat the blues. A few include:

  • Borage (Borago officinalis) Used as a tonic and sedative, borage is available in capsules combined with flaxseed oil, an omega-3 fatty acid found to relieve depression.
  • Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) Commonly prescribed to treat cerebral dysfunction and accompanying depression in older individuals. May cause gastrointestinal upset in some people.
  • St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) Used to treat mild to moderate depression. Generally takes two to 10 weeks to take effect.

Homeopathics are substances given in very small doses to treat disease. More than 250 homeopathics are used for depression, depending on an individual's symptoms. Here are two of the most commonly used:

  • Ignatia amara (St. Ignatius Bean) Used for emotional problems, especially involving sudden trauma, sobbing and insomnia.
  • Pulsatilla (Anemone) For those who are needy and tearful, and whose depression alternates with a mild, pleasant manner.

Flower essences are homeopathic remedies made from flowers and formulated to resolve the underlying emotional issues that lead to mild depression and other illness. Agrimonia (Agrimonia eupatoria, Flos.) For those who cover their emotional suffering with a cheerful facade and may seek to escape their pain through drugs or alcohol.

  • Gorse (Ulex europaeus, Flos.) For feelings of hopelessness.
  • Mustard (Sinapsis arvensis, Flos.) For sudden melancholia that may also lift suddenly.
  • Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum, Flos.) For grief, trauma or loss.
  • Sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa, Flos.) For those who have reached deep despair beyond their level of endurance.
    Source: Natural Healing for Depression: Solutions from the World's Great Health Traditions and Practitioners (Perigree), edited by James Strohecker and Nancy Shaw Strohecker.