Herbs for ADHD: Help Your Child Thrive Naturally
by DK Kara MD on Oct 19, 2021
You get another note from your child’s teacher today. He’s having a hard time focusing and staying on track. Again.
And it’s not just you. Your friend recently shared that her daughter has had trouble sitting still and paying attention long enough to do her homework.
ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is a disorder that makes it very hard to concentrate for long periods of time. In other words, it can be explained as “not paying attention long enough because you’re too busy moving, thinking, talking, etc”.
According to a 2016 survey (1), the number of children diagnosed with ADHD around the world is 6.1 million. Boys tend to be diagnosed more than girls, and overall numbers are steadily rising over time.
Is this a new problem? It’s hard to say. Many things have changed in recent decades – increased technology, artificial flavors (2) and processed foods, inadequate exercise, and overstimulation could all be contributing to the growing number of ADHD diagnoses in kids, especially in the United States.
Conventional medicine offers an array of options. Unfortunately, side effects can make the solution worse than the problem.
Is there a natural way to help your kids focus?
Diet goes a long way. Eating lots of vegetables, fruits, lean meat, and omega-3s all work together to support both brain and body alike.
In addition to food, herbs can help with many functions, including concentration and focus. Let’s look at 7 of the best herbs that can help improve symptoms of ADHD.
Pine Bark Extract
If you’ve ever gone for a walk in the woods, the sound of the wind blowing through the pines is sure to produce a sense of awe. And for children that struggle with ADHD, there is help here too.
One study (3) found that the extract of the French maritime pine helped improve attention spans, concentration, and lower hyperactivity in children.
Part of the mint family, lemon balm is a wonderful plant that can be used to help promote a calm sense of well-being.
Studies have been done to see how effective lemon balm is in helping children focus better and feel calmer. When paired with valerian, children who suffered from milder cases (4) of hyperactivity or insomnia felt calmer and more in control.
In the marsh wetlands of India, this plant grows and thrives. Also known as water hyssop, the stem and leaves are dried and used to make an herbal powder. For many years, it’s been used to help improve memory and overall brain function.
Studies have mixed results, but one positive study (4) involved 31 children between the ages of 6-12. When the children took 225mg of Brahmi orally every day for 6 months, researchers found that 85% of the children had a decrease in ADHD symptoms like impulsiveness, restlessness, and poor self-control.
The ancient Chinese have used many trees, shrubs, and other plants for medicinal purposes. One such tree is the ginkgo biloba tree, or the maidenhair. It’s one of the oldest known tree species. The fan shaped leaves are harvested and used for memory support.
The effectiveness of this herb seems to be mixed, but one promising study (7) involved children that took 240 mg of ginkgo biloba by mouth every day for 3-5 weeks. By the end of the study, the children’s ADHD symptoms were reduced without any harmful side effects.
The rosemary bush is one that can offer many benefits. You can add a sprig to a crockpot recipe, or you can diffuse an essential oil to help lower the feeling of restlessness.
One study explored the effects of a particular compound found in rosemary, called 1,8-cineole. People who had high levels of this compound were found to be more content (5). This can be incredibly helpful with feelings of hyperactivity.
One of Asia’s most popular herbs, ginseng has been used for centuries. It’s a great choice for improving brain function and energy. It can also help with ADHD in terms of social interaction and anxiety levels.
With the “red ginseng” type, one study (6) tested a group of 18 children between the ages of 6-14 years old. Each were given 1,000 mg of ginseng by mouth every day for 2 months. By the end of the study, the children were noticeably less anxious, more social.
This small plant grows in Europe and is used for both natural and conventional medicine. When it comes to helping ADHD, valerian shows promise.
Researchers took a group of 30 children between the ages of 5-11 years old. A valerian tincture was given to each child by mouth three times per day for 14 days. By the end of the study (8), there was a noticeable improvement in attention and/or impulsive behaviors.
Being able to sit still, focus, and concentrate seems to be a growing problem for many children. ADHD is a disorder that affects the brain, and while no one knows for sure why it happens, many things come to question.
Pharmaceutical companies have developed medications to help treat and manage ADHD, but the side effects can make it not worth the effort. Thankfully, there are natural options.
A good diet, along with certain natural remedies, can help bring balance to your child’s brain. They can help him or her regain focus, concentrate for longer periods of time, reduce anxiety, and promote calmness. Many of the herbs listed are tolerated well with little to no side effects.
Do you know a parent who has a child with ADHD? Encourage them with these natural options today.
References & Disclaimers
✝✝This noted statement is based on independent research and is not necessarily the opinion of the author