Treating ADHD With Herbs and Natural Supplements
Treating ADHD with herbs and supplements is controversial. As more medical researcher studies look at the benefits of traditional herbs in treating conditions such as the memory loss in Alzheimer's disease some interesting questions have been raised regarding the benefits of these herbs and supplements in the treatment of the inattention problems in ADHD. The study of complementary medicine has just begun here in the U.S. As native remedies are studied more extensively, we might be surprised to find cures for ADHD growing right in our gardens.
Some herbalists recommend herbal teas for ADHD. Many teas have been recommended but Peony, Bacopa, lemon balm, and ginseng are some that have shown, in medical studies, to perhaps offer some benefits. Adults with ADHD may happily try some of these teas but getting children to try these can be a challenge as some of them taste awful.
The studies linking most of these teas to improvement in attention are limited but there are many positive studies linking Ginseng to positive health outcomes. Positive studies also exist for other products that are referred to as Ginseng but that are really other adoptogens such as Indian Ginseng (Ashwagandha) and Asiatic Ginseng (Rhodiola). All the 'Ginsengs' are adoptogens which seems to help with stress. Stress seems to worsen all brain related problems so Ginseng cannot hurt with the treatment of ADHD.
Daniel Amen, MD, the ADHD physician who diagnosis the different types of ADHD based on SPECT scans, recommends Rhodiola for patients with symptoms of Sluggish Cognitive Tempo and there are, in fact, several studies in the literature indicating that Rhodiola might be useful for symptoms of sluggishness. More than Chinese Ginseng, Rhodiola seems to have some stimulating effects.
The amino acids (Tyrosine, L-Carnitine, and phosphatidylserine) have been studied extensively as treatments for Attention Deficit Disorder in children and adults. They seem to, in many people with ADHD, work for the first few weeks and then stop working. Some scientists believe that you must have the exact amount and combinations of certain vitamins on board for the amino acids to make a difference and if these combinations are missing, the amino acids will have no effect.
Pycnogenol has been studied and seems to help somewhat with memory but not necessarily with ADHD. The Omega-3 fatty acids are supposed to help with brain function and zinc and folate may help with symptoms of ADHD as well. Zinc is a mineral that is helpful for keeping our enzymes in working order and that supports our immune system functions, nerve function and that is also good for our senses and our hair health. Folate is a water-soluble vitamin that belongs in the B vitamin category. It is important because it plays a role in the processing of the amino acids, and also plays roles in many cellular functions in the body. Researchers also believe that it is necessary to maintain healthy levels of calcium, magnesium, iron and choline and that these vitamins and minerals may play a role in managing the symptoms of attention deficit.
Many old herbal remedies have helped with memory and attention. The Ginsengs that I mention above are herbs that have been used for years to enhance memory but there are others such as Rosemary aroma, grape seed oil, onion and garlic that may help as well. The study of complementary medicine is in its infancy here in the U.S. and I believe that as some of these native remedies are studied more extensively, we might find surprising cures growing right in our gardens.
For more information on Primarily Inattentive ADD please visit Tess Messer at http://www.primarilyinattentiveadd.com/2010/02/why-blog.html. There you will find information on ADD symptoms, ADD treatment, alternatives to medications and more Information on ADHD vitamins and supplements. Looking forward to meeting you there!
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