As many as 11 percent of children and adolescents aged 4 to 17 had been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as of 2011, according to the
There are alternative treatments for ADHD, but there is limited scientific evidence proving their effectiveness. Special diets say you should eliminate sugary foods, artificial food colorings, and additives, and eat more sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Yoga and meditation may be helpful. Neurofeedback training is yet another option. All of these things can work together to make some difference in ADHD symptoms.
What about herbal supplements? Read more to learn if they could help improve symptoms.
A recent study found that children with ADHD had more problems falling asleep, sleeping soundly, and getting up in the morning. Researchers suggested that additional treatments might be helpful.
Herbal teas that contain chamomile, spearmint, lemon grass, and other herbs and flowers are generally considered to be safe options for children and adults who want to relax. They’re often recommended as a way to encourage rest and sleep. Having a night time ritual at bedtime (for adults too) helps your body better prepare for sleep. These teas may be best used before bedtime.
Ginkgo biloba has long been recommended for improving memory and increasing mental sharpness. Study results on the use of ginkgo in ADHD are mixed.
Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) is also known as water hyssop. It’s a marsh plant that grows wild in India. The herb is made from the leaves and stems of the plant. It has been used for centuries to improve brain function and memory. Studies on humans are mixed, but some have been positive. The herb is often recommended as an alternative treatment for ADHD today. Research is increasing because of earlier studies.
A 2013 study found that adults taking brahmi showed improvements in their ability to retain new information. Another study also found benefits. Participants taking a brahmi extract showed significantly improved performance in their memory and brain function.
Gotu kola (Centella asiatica) grows naturally in Asia, South Africa, and the South Pacific. It’s high in nutrients that are needed for healthy brain function. These include vitamin B1, B2, and B6.
Gotu kola may benefit those with ADHD. It helps enhance mental clarity and reduce anxiety levels. A
Green oats are unripe oats. The product, also known as “wild oat extract,” comes from the crop before it matures. Green oats are sold under the name Avena sativa. They have long been thought to help calm nerves and treat stress and anxiety.
Early studies show that green oat extract may boost attention and concentration. A
Ginseng, an herbal remedy from China, has a reputation for stimulating brain function and increasing energy. The “red ginseng” variety also has some potential to calm symptoms of ADHD.
Pycnogenol is a plant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree. Researchers gave 61 children with ADHD either 1 mg of pycnogenol or a placebo once a day for four weeks in a
Some studies have indicated that combining some of these herbs may produce better results than using one alone. A
There are not many completed studies of the efficacy of herbal ADHD remedies. A
With so many options, your best bet may be to check with your doctor, an herbal specialist, or naturopath for more information. Seek advice on where to buy herbs from companies with good reputations. The FDA does not regulate or monitor the use of herbs and products have been reported tainted, incorrectly labeled, and unsafe.