Herbs for Attention Deficit Disorder
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Ionni
Posted on: April 6, 1998

Are there any herbs that would help in the treatment of attention deficit disorder (A.D.D. not A.D.H.D.) in adults?

The following information is provided for your research and study. It is not intended as medical advice.

Both ADD and ADHD (where hyperactivity is present) are treated similarly. Hyperactivity diminishes with age, but residual symptoms in adults may be inattention, restlessness, difficulty completing tasks and focusing attention for extended periods. Although there are other causes such as genetics, infections, stressful living conditions and brain damage, in the majority of cases the cause of ADD and ADHD has been linked to diet. Working to eliminate nutritional deficiencies and allergies to food additives has had positive results in solving the underlying problem. A medical practitioner should be consulted to eliminate other causes.

The recommended diet would be low salt, low fat, including mostly natural foods such as fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains, and eliminating coffee, alcohol and foods containing refined wheat and sugar. Because milk products, eggs, chocolate, corn, peanuts and gluten are often implicated in allergies, experimentation should be done to see if their elimination gives positive results.

In additions to dietary changes, general herbal remedies would include chamomile (Matricaria recutita), which is anti-allergy and anti-inflammatory, and garlic, beneficial for allergies and digestion. Clinical studies on the herb Ginkgo biloba show that it increases the blood flow to the brain, improving concentration, intellectual ability, alertness, sociability and memory. (Ginkgo: Elixir of Youth, by Christopher Hobbs, available at Richters) Evening Primrose Oil is a commonly used supplement for ADD. For support and help in developing a diet specific to the patient’s needs, a good naturopath who practices nutritional medicine can point to underlying causes that need attention and specific deficiencies that may require supplementation.

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