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Herbal Medicine and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)


Herbal medicine is one of many natural treatment options used for treating a range of conditions, including Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).  This is part of a growing trend as people look for natural alternatives to medication with fewer side effects. 

What is ADD?

ADD is a behavioural disorder, though to be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.  Sufferers struggle to deal with an excess of visual or auditory stimulation, and often leads to a range of learning difficulties.

ADD is predominantly observed in children, but some patients are also liable to suffer the condition into adulthood.  Recent research has demonstrated that some people have one element of the condition – either hyperactivity or attention deficit – whilst others have both elements. ADD has traditionally been treated with medication, including drugs like Ritalin; which controversially has been linked with insomnia and a lack of creativity in patients.  Modern treatment typically utilises medication in conjunction with other approaches, including alterations to diet and exercise.

What is Herbal Medicine?

Herbal medicine is an ancient tradition of healing using plants or elements of plants; including the flowers, stems, leaves and roots.  These are typically used fresh, preserved or in the form of a remedy to heal a wide range of conditions.  Some of the most well known proponents of herbal medicine are Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners, as well as the Ayurvedic healing tradition of India.

How Can Herbal Medicine Help ADD?

Herbal remedies are commonly used for ADD due to their sedative or anxiolytic properties as well as their role in enhancing memory and cognition. Consultation with an herbalist will typically involve a holistic assessment of the patient, including information on their medical history and any medication currently being taken. Traditional herbal treatments for ADD that may be prescribed by a herbalist include:

  • Ginkgo biloba: valued for its ability to promote enhanced blood flow in the brain, and its promising effects on adult cognition, concentration, and memory, making it useful for treating ADD.
  • Kava: thought to have anxiolytic, sedative, and muscle relaxant properties without adverse effects on cognitive function or mental acuity. Trials have suggested that kava is helpful for managing anxiety and tension. 
  • Chamomile
  • Rooibos
  • Lemon balm
  • Passion flower
  • Hops 
  • Valerian: and
  • Lobelia

Adequate levels of Vitamin D are also thought to be beneficial for ADD sufferers, which essentially involves ensuring one receives sufficient exposure to the sun. 

Find out about other effecitve natural ADD treatments.


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