ADD natural remedies are a rapidly expanding treatment option as sufferers and their families look for safe and effective approaches to relieve Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
The research is clear: Stimulant medications such as Ritalin and Adderall do not work for everyone. They also have many drawbacks including debilitating side effects (nausea, headache, insomnia, etc), the risk of dependence and addiction, and they can lose their effectiveness over time as the body develops tolerance.
As a doctor who specializes in treating ADHD, and as the mother of a son with ADHD, I tried many alternatives and have witnessed positive results with the ADHD natural remedies listed below.
For: Children, teens, or adults with ADHD. Best for mild to moderate cases of ADHD, but I've seen it effective in cases of severe ADHD too.
One of the things that makes ADHD so problematic for ADHD sufferers is that it causes deficits in executive functioning such as the ability to plan work assignments, basic organization skills, planning deadlines, planning for the future, executing a plan, etc.
Many of us take these skills for granted, but without them it is almost impossible to succeed at school, work, maintain peer relationships, etc.
What Focus Formula does is level the playing field by helping to correct all of those imbalances. Its herbal mix contains plants that have been used in traditional and eastern medicine for thousands of years.
Advantages: No side effects, no risk of addiction. Good for those who find stimulant medications ineffective. A great option for those with no health insurance because it is far less expensive than major pharmaceutical offerings (Ritalin, Adderall, etc.).
How It Is Administered: Use the dropper to place drops of Focus Formula into water or juice, let it dissolve, and sip regularly. Or you can drop directly into the mouth with the dropper.
Ingredients: Gingko Biloba, Skullcap, Gotu Kola, and chamomile all increase the flow of oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to the brain. Focus Formula is essentially a super brain booster that enhances one's ability to focus, concentrate, stay on task, reduce hyperactivity, and improve mood.
For: ADHD sufferers of all ages.
Synaptol tackles the three common types of ADHD symptoms: inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. It enhances overall learning ability by helping to focus the brain and relax mental and hyperactive impulses.
Ingredients: Plants and herbs such as Aconitum ferox, Adrenalinum, Aesculus hippocastanum, flos, Apis mellifica, Argentum nitricum, Avena sativa, Baptisia tinctoria, Cochlearia armoracia, Phosphorus, Scleranthus annuus, flos, Scutellaria lateriflora, Sumbul, and Viola odorata.
Pros: Can be used with other medications, no side effects, no risk of dependence,
it tackles ADHD on all fronts.
How To Use: Dissolve drops of Synaptol in water. It tastes slightly tangy. Or you can use the dropper to drop medicine directly in the mouth. Easy to use; just take twice daily.
Bottom Line: In my clinical experience, Synaptol works best for mild to moderate cases of ADHD, but some of my patients with severe ADHD experienced improvement too. It is not intended to replace any medications prescribed by your physician.
For: Children, teens, and adults with ADHD, but mostly intended for children with ADHD.
BrightSpark is unique among ADD natural remedies because it was created by a clinical psychologist and specifically formulated to alleviate symptoms of hyperactivity.
This helps children remain calm in class which increases their ability to focus, concentrate, earn better grades, etc. making Brightspark especially effective for taking tests, working on important projects, etc.
In this regard, BrightSpark is the perfect compliment to Focus Formula.
Ingredients: Herbs such as Hyoscyamus, Arsen iod, and Argent nit help quiet mania, talkativeness, interruptions and involuntary muscle movements. In addition, Verat alb acts as a mood booster that combats the sullenness and mood swings which are also caused by ADHD.
Pros: Alleviates hyperactivity. BrightSpark is gluten-free, non-addictive, vegetarian, does not cause side effects, and contains no artificial colors or preservatives. It is registered with the FDA as an ADD treatment.
How It Is Administered: Chewable tablets. You may also crush and dissolve the tablets in apple sauce, yogurt, or warm water.
Bottom Line: Hyperactivity must be controlled in order for children to function well. After all, uncontrollable hyperactivity not only results in children repeatedly getting into trouble at school, but it makes it virtually impossible to earn good grades and to maintain friendships. BrightSpark helps remedy those challenges.
Listol employs the use of time-tested botanicals, amino acids, potent neurotransmitter precursors, and specific vitamins and minerals to lessen the various physiological problems commonly occurring in ADHD sufferers.
Listol addresses the many nutrient deficiencies known to contribute to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder while effectively complementing the body’s natural calming and balancing agents (i.e. neurotransmitters). The result is increased focus and longer and improved attention spans.
All of this makes Listol stand out among ADD natural remedies. For more information about this ADHD supplement, read this review of Listol.
Attend is a doctor-formulated homeopathic medicine specifically engineered to help support the function of the Central Nervous System (CNS) in individuals who are inclined to be inattentive, underactive, overactive, and/or learning. This formula empowers the body to balance both neural growth and neurotransmitter production.
The ingredients in Attend naturally support the body's ability to: Support focus and concentration, promote mental alertness, maintain healthy brain and cognitive function, promote a balanced mood, and aid the body to manage frustration, anxiety, and hyperactivity. Among ADD natural remedies, it is growing in popularity. For more information, see this review of Attend.
1. Chamomile is an herb that has been used for thousands of years. It has long been noted for its soothing and calming properties. It is a popular sleep aid and is used to calm mood. As an additional benefit, chamomile is safe and does not result in side effects. In addition, it tastes good and can be ingested in multiple ways. It is easily digestible in tea or capsule form which makes it among the most convenient ADD natural remedies.
2. Red Clover Blossom is a plant that has multiple medicinal applications. It acts as a natural relaxant as well as a detoxifying agent. Another major benefit of this soothing agent is that it does not produce any adverse side effects if used as directed. It is also easily consumable and easily digestible as a supplement or in tea form.
3. Kava Kava is an herb that originates from the Pacific Islands and has been used for various medicinal purposes for thousands of years. It offers natural stress and anxiety relief. In addition, it also aids focus and concentration. It is widely available in easily digestible tea form, which is is the preferred means of ingestion.
4. Bacopa (Brahmi) is an aquatic plant that improves memory, concentration, and ability to manage stress. It has multiple benefits as a brain booster and relaxing agent.
An Australian study of adults aged 18 to 65 indicated that taking 300 mg of Bacopa extract daily for up to 12 weeks revealed that subjects were able to process visual information more quickly, learn faster and consolidate new material into memory more effectively.
Bacopa (Brahmi) has another useful benefit compared to mainstream pharmaceutical stimulants such as Ritalin: it has no side effects if used as directed. Internationally it is prescribed by many doctors to specifically treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
5. Ginkgo Biloba is a very popular supplement with multiple health benefits that has been used successfully for thousands of years. Commonly referred to as a natural "smart" drug, Gingko Biloba increases blood flow to the brain, and increases neurotransmitter levels which can improve focus. It is available in various forms at most supermarkets and health food stores, and is most easily digestible in supplement form.
6. Skullcap is an herb and member of the mint family. It is widely known as a “calming” nerve tonic and sedative used for relieving anxiety and insomnia.
In addition, Skullcap has multiple uses in helping alleviate nervous tension, headaches, agitation, anxiety, insomnia, hysteria, neurasthenia, exhaustion and depression.
It is sold widely in health food stores.
Skullcap also has other uses: is often used to aid withdrawal from prescription tranquilizers and antidepressants. (And historically it was used to treat rabies! Now that is a calming plant!)
7. Gotu Kola is a traditional Chinese medicine that has been shown to reduce anxiety and enhance memory and brain function. Used by natural eastern medicine for millenia, recent research has also suggested that it helps to increase blood flow to the brain and improve general circulation. It is also easy to consume; it is available in easily digestible supplement form.
8. Oatstraw. Known scientifically as Avena Sativa, or green oat, Oatstraw is a pale green grass cultivated for its edible grain. Oatstraw has been shown to improve mental function, concentration, as well as sharpen focus. It also reduces stress, exhaustion and nervousness.
Historically, Oatstraw (Avena Sativa) has been used to treat a variety of conditions including panic attacks and calming hyperactive children.
It’s soothing and relaxing agents act as a natural antidepressant and help relieve anxiety. It is available in convenient tea form as the standard means of ingestion.
9. Rooibos is a member of the legume family of plants and is used to make a herbal tea called rooibos tea, or red bush tea. Native to South Africa, this plant boosts brain function, improves memory, and improves circulation to the brain. It also is used to alleviate restlessness and anxiety. It comes in easily digestible tea form.
10. Lemon Balm is an herb belonging to the mint family that has a distinct lemon flavor and aroma. Considered a calming and relaxing herb, it has been used since the Middle Ages to reduce stress and anxiety, promote sleep, improve appetite, and to “lift the spirits.”
Native to Europe, where it is still widely used for various medicinal purposes, Lemon Balm acts as a natural antidepressant.
11. Valerian Root is used for a variety of conditions such as sleep disturbances, anxiety, nervousness, digestive complaints, trembling, tension headaches and heart palpitations. It is a calming root and available in easily digestible supplement or tea form.
12. Hawthorn is a plant in which the berries and flowers are used treat mild-to-moderate heart failure and anxiety. It is another "calming" plant that has been used medicinally for a long time. It is available in an easily digestible supplement form.
13. St. John's Wort is a proven mood and brain enhancer. This plan has been traditionally used for a wide range of medical conditions. One of the most common modern uses for St. John's Wort is as a natural mood enhancer in the treatment of depression. It is often used as an ancillary holistic treatment for those who suffer from mild to moderate cases of depression.
1) Vitamin B-6 boosts the central nervous system. Vitamin B6 is known as an anti-stress vitamin because it is believed to enhance the activity of the immune system and improve the body's ability to manage tension, stress, and anxiety. In general, it is essential for nervous system functioning and brain development which makes it popular among ADD natural remedies.
2) Iron. A 2004 French research study indicated that iron deficiency may contribute to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children, and that children with ADHD who also have iron deficiencies exhibit more severe symptoms.
In fact, the children with the most severe iron deficiencies were also the most inattentive, impulsive, and hyperactive. This led the researchers to conclude that low iron stores may explain as much as 30% of ADHD severity.
In addition, past research has linked iron deficiency in infancy to slower brain development and poorer school performance later in childhood. Animal studies have linked iron deficiency to restlessness. For these reasons, the importance getting the proper amount of iron cannot be underestimated making this an essential ADD natural remedy.
3) Magnesium. Magnesium deficiency has been implicated in ADHD. Individuals with ADHD have lower than normal levels of magnesium inside their blood cells than do individuals without the disorder.
Low magnesium levels can also lead to irritability, hyperactivity, inattention, aggressive behavior, sleep disturbances, and reduced blood flow to the brain, which are all common phenomena frequently seen in brain scans of ADHD individuals.
4) Zinc. Zinc deficiency is associated with severity of ADHD symptoms. It is a natural booster of neurochemicals and neurotransmitters. Also, Zinc may be more effective in treating the hyperactive and impulsive aspects of the disorder rather than symptoms of inattention, but it is still a standout among ADD natural remedies.
5) Glycine and Di-Methyl Glycine (DMG), are used to improve speech and behavior in those suffering from ADHD. They are also used to reduce stress and improve oxygenation of the blood which makes them effective ADD natural remedies.
6) GABA. GABA is a neurotransmitter and amino acid, and GABA pathways in the brain appear to play a role in certain cognitive disorders like ADHD. The short story is that GABA is a super food for the brain; it is a natural calming agent and helps fight anxiety which makes it a stand-out among ADD natural remedies.
7) DMAE or Dimethylaminoethanol is an organic compound and brain booster. It is essential for healthy brain function, which makes it effective at relieving ADHD symptoms. It also enhances mood and alertness. Remember the general rule of thumb is that what is good for the brain is generally beneficial in terms of relieving ADHD symptoms.
8) Omega-3 Fish Oil is gaining increased attention among ADD natural remedies. It is rich in essential fatty acids (EFA's), particularly Omega-3 and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).
Research studies have shown that fish oil improves ADHD symptoms such as inattention, hyperactivity, oppositional and defiant behavior and conduct disorders. Some researchers suggest that children with ADHD may have an Omega-3 deficiency.
Compared with results of studies testing popular and mainstream ADHD medications such as Ritalin and Concerta, they found that fish oil was more effective, highlighting a case where ADD natural remedies were measurably superior to major pharmaceutical drugs.
For more information about the benefits of fish oil, read fish oil benefits.
9) Flaxseed oil, like fish oil, is also rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. It offers much of the same benefits that are found in fish oil. It can improve not only ADHD symptoms such as inattention, hyperactivity, oppositional/defiant behavior and conduct disorders, but also enhances and stabilizes mood.
For this reason, it is also used as an ancillary dietary supplement in the treatment of depression and anxiety. As an added benefit, flax seed oil can be used by vegetarians or folks who do not like fish. It can be taken as a tablet, or as a liquid supplement.
Also, it has no negative side effects when taken as directed, unlike Amphetamine-based stimulant medications such as Ritalin. See this great guide to the benefits of flax seed oil.
2) Cedarwood oil. Another healing oil, Cedarwood stimulates brain function and like all of these oils can be massaged into the skin.
3) Vetiver oil. Less common than the other oils listed, Vetiver oil has a lovely rich, smokey flavor that improves mood.
4) Frankincense has long been used for mental, emotional and spiritual healing and has seen clinical use in treating brain injuries, emotional and physical trauma, and learning challenges. It improves mental function. Although use of Frankincense has been used for thousands of years, it is only now beginning to be researched in alleviating ADHD. It is an up and comer among ADD natural remedies.
5) Peace & Calming oil is a blend of oils developed to combat the effects of ADHD. Has a citrus scent. Good for both children and adults.
6) Clarity oil. Created for students, Clarity contains peppermint and rosemary which have many health benefits, including improving focus.
7) Brain Power oil. Brain Power is a nice mix of frankincense, cedarwood and lavender, which have been shown to relieve brain fog and improve focus.
In my personal and clinical experience, the Total Focus Program is one of the most effective treatments today for children and their parents struggling with ADHD. It is an easy to use program that parents can use in the privacy of their own home without costly psychotherapy.
Created by Dr. Robert Meyers, it teaches parents all about ADHD, how to better understand their ADHD children, how to manage challenging ADHD behaviors, and highlights the best ADHD treatment options. It's a perfect compliment to the ADD natural remedies listed here because ADHD is best tackled on multiple fronts. Price: $149 or 3 payments of $49.99.
How To Conquer ADD is an adult ADHD treatment program developed by an adult with ADHD. He documents exactly what he did to become successful while suffering from ADHD.
It teaches adult ADHD sufferers how to get organized, manage finances, hold a job, maintain a household, solve relationship problems, how to parent children while suffering from ADHD, how to avoid impulsive and addictive behaviors, and more.
Equally important, it provides an insider perspective that only those with ADHD can truly understand and appreciate. Price: $19
ADHD Alternatives: A Natural Approach to Treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a thoughtful and empowering book. It is a guide for parents and educators who are considering more holistic and effective approaches to problems of attention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.
The authors offer insights into various ADD natural remedies and provide inspiring insight about addressing a child's unique needs through nutrition, herbal medicine, love, and understanding that fosters self-esteem, creativity, and confidence.
These themes will touch the hearts of any parent wishing ot help their child who suffers from ADHD.
For more book recommendations, see this list of recommended ADHD books.