Herbs for Tourette’s Syndrome and ADD
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Yrama
Posted on: June 7, 1998

My ten year old grandson has been diagnosed with both ADD and Tourette’s syndrome. Can you recommend any herb or combination of herbs that might be an effective treatment?

Siegfried Gursche, in "Encyclopedia of Natural Healing" (Alive Publishers, Canada, (800) 663-6580 or Natural Life Publishing Inc., U.S. (800) 663-6513) describes Tourette’s syndrome as a neurological disease characterized by involuntary muscular movements, tics and uncontrollable, sometimes inappropriate, vocal sounds. He recommends a diet and herbs which promote a healthy nervous system and muscle control. Foods recommended are those high in B vitamins, such as brown rice, peanuts, milk, fish, poultry and lean meat, and those high in potassium and magnesium required for muscle control such as whole grains and dark green vegetables. Symptoms of ADD may be caused by food or environmental allergies, which should be tested.

Herbal remedies recommended by Gursche include chamomile, hops, skullcap, wood betony or valerian, which are free of side effects, provide vitamins and minerals, and relax muscles and nerves. The herbs can be taken as teas by adding 1 teaspoon of the herb to a cup of boiling water, and steeping in a covered glass or ceramic pot or mug for 15 minutes. Your grandson can take one half cup, three times daily.

Following is previously posted information on ADD: Nutrition is a major factor in ADD & ADHD, since diet can either bring the required nutrients to the brain, or deplete the body of the required nutrients. Sweetened and refined foods should be eliminated from the diet, and replaced with fresh fruit and vegetables and whole grains. Sweet and refined foods deplete the B vitamins, which are necessary for nerve cell function. Food additives, colouring and sweeteners can be toxic to a child’s system. A good breakfast that includes fresh fruit, fruit juice and oatmeal in the form of porridge and a good (i.e. not sugar laden) granola or muesli will give the child a good start to the day. Oats are a good nervous restorative. Fresh fruit and vegetables provide the vitamins necessary to eliminate toxins from the body. Snacks can include fresh fruit, wholemeal bread, fresh raw vegetables such as carrot sticks and broccoli, nuts such as almonds (peanuts may cause allergies) and seeds such as sunflower and pumpkin. Nuts and seeds provide zinc which is necessary for brain function. White flour and sugar products deplete the body’s supply of zinc.

Studies have shown that iron deficiency can cause attentions deficits. Some iron sources are green leafy vegetables, dried fruits, egg yolks and oatmeal.

Food allergies are often implicated in ADD. To test your child for possible allergies, you can keep a diet diary of food and note any changes in your child’s mood, attention span and level of activity. This can lead you to try eliminating any foods that appear to cause an increase in hyperactivity or decrease in attention span. Some of the most common allergens are dairy products, eggs, wheat and oranges.

Daily exercise is important therapy. Exercise improves the circulation so that toxins are eliminated more efficiently and the blood flow is improved to peripheral areas such as the brain.

Herbs that will help to calm a child’s nerves while the diet detoxification process is taking place are calming teas of Lemon Balm, Chamomile or St. John’s Wort. The dosage would be one half teaspoon of one of these herbs (or a mixture of the three) steeped in a cup of boiling water for 15 minutes; take half a cup, three times a day. Ginkgo baloba increases the circulation of blood (i.e. nutrients) to the brain, and can result in increasing the attention span

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