Herbal Treatment for ADHD
The study was performed by a Dr. M. Katz and published in the March 2010 edition of the Journal of Attention Disorders. The name of the study A Compound Herbal Preparation (CHP) in the Treatment of Children With ADHD: A Randomized Controlled Trial by Katz M, Levine A.A., Kol-Degani H, Kav-Venaki L.
Let me tell you what is in this product and how the herbs help ADHD, or better said, how they are thought to help ADHD. The active ADHD herbs in Nurture and Clarity include an herb called Brahmi. Bacopa or Brahmi is a very old, often used, trusted and respected herb in ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India. It is used in India by families to help their children excel in school and is often taken as a tea before important exams. It is available on Ebay in a product called Mentat that has been studied extensively in clinical trials in India and found to help with attention. Studies documenting the effectiveness of Mentat for cognitive function can be found on the Himalayan Herbal Site.
Lemon balm was also part of the ADHD herbal medicine. Lemon balm acts as a relaxing or calming agent. It is available in stores as lemon balm tea. Lemon balm works because it is thought to be a potent inhibitor of GABA transaminase. This GABA transaminase has been found to be elevated in people with hyperactive ADHD.
The herbal ADHD supplement in the study also included Paeoniae Alba, or white peony. This is also available as White Peony tea. According to the study Paeoniae Alba works by improving the information transfer function of the cholinergic neuron synapses, and enhancing cerebral oxygenation.
Nurture and Clarity contains Spirulina, also known as blue-green algae. This substance is rich in essential fatty acids, B vitamins, many other vitamins, zinc, and all the essential amino acids. The researchers of the Nurture and Clarity study reported that, " Preliminary evidence supports the idea that supplementation with these nutrients may help to ameliorate ADHD". It is available in stores and can be taken in tablet and powder form.
The other herbs for ADHD in Nurture and Clarity included Centella Asiatica or Gotu Kola. This herb in other studies has demonstrated increased neurite elongation, dendritic growth, and improved learning and memory.
The last main ADHD herb in the product is called Wathania somnifera. It is also known as ashwagandha or Indian Ginseng. This herb has been shown to normalize the HPA axis and the neuroendocrine system and to increase acetylcholine receptor capacity and acetyl cholinesterase (AChE) inhibitory activity according to the Nurture and Clarity study. Remember from the earlier post on cortisol that folks with ADHD may have a faulty neuroendocrine response that may be a cause of ADHD symptoms. It is generally taken in capsules.
The researchers report that children in their study who were hyperactive/impulsive also got additional herbs for this. The Hyperactive/Impulsive ADHD herbal preparation included additional Chamomile, and Passiflora Incarnata or passion flower. Both of these herbs are available as a tea. One product called Relaxing Tea actually has both.
What makes this herbal treatment for ADHD interesting is that the herbs all have a physiological reason to be of use in the treatment of ADHD. If you are interested in trying to treat ADHD symptoms with herbs, please first look at this list of herbs for ADHD and get a sense of what each one of them contributes to ADHD treatment and then, after letting your doctor know, get the herbs at the health food store or on Amazon. Try to buy U.S. made products as they are a bit more regulated and are considered to be safe of contaminants.
Most of these herbs have not been studied in children but most are considered pretty safe. The exception may by the Gotu Kola. Some studies have warned about potential liver toxicity with this herbal preparation. Do not take Gotu Kola if you are pregnant, nursing, or taking other products that are cleared by the liver such as Tylenol.
There are a few additional herbs that are not in this particular herbal treatment for ADHD that may also be helpful. I will write about them in my next post.
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