Natural Remedies For ADHD

Dr. Kensington Highlights The Best

I have been experimenting with natural remedies for ADHD ever since my son was diagnosed. 

Like most children first diagnosed with ADHD, my son was prescribed stimulant medications. Over time we tried them all, but he spent the most time taking Ritalin and Adderall.

The problem was that these medications tended to cause some nasty side effects including upset stomach, headaches, insomnia; they sometimes made my son anxious. He lost of lot of weight due to lack of appetite; he looked emaciated.  

We gave the meds sufficient time to work their way into his system so he could develop some tolerance, we dispensed them properly, but the side effects remained. Even worse, they were not that affective in reducing his ADHD symptoms. Whenever we told the prescribing psychiatrist the meds were not working the psychiatrist simply prescribed yet another stimulant medication. 

My son was miserable and we decided that this was no way to live, so we began to examine the alternatives. 

Enter Natural Remedies For ADHD...

Over the years tremendous improvements have occurred in the field of ADHD treatment, particularly when it comes to understanding the brain and how it regulates mood and behavior. 

natural remedies for adhd

We now know that plants and herbs such as gingko biloba, gotu kola, and chamomile help improve focus, improve mood, calm excited brains, etc. They are essentially brain and mood enhancers that have been used in traditional and Chinese medicine for thousands of years.

Thankfully there are now supplements specifically made with these ingredients such as Focus Formula, Brightspark, Synaptol, Listol and Attend. By conveniently combining all of the best herbal medicines, these supplements saved me the trouble of buying all of them separately.

I tried them all with my son, and they all reduced his ADHD symptoms with varying degrees of success. He preferred Focus Formula because it proved best at improving his ability to focus. 

Natural Remedies For ADHD: Dietary Supplements

Dietary supplementation may also help to reduce your child’s ADHD symptoms. Dietary supplements which boost brain activity may be especially helpful. These include:

  • Multivitamins – these are beneficial for overall health, particularly if your child is a picky eater and may not be getting all the nutrients that he or she needs from his/her daily meals.
  • B vitamins – this supplement can help boost brain functioning and may also reduce antisocial behavior and aggression in children who have low levels of vitamin B.
  • Zinc – zinc has a number of beneficial effects for ADHD including increasing melatonin (which helps regulate dopamine), moderating thyroid function, improving production of serotonin, reducing hyperactivity and impulsivity.
  • Fish oil – Insufficient polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as omega-3 fatty acids, may contribute to ADHD. A fish oil supplement that contains a ratio of four to one omega-3 fatty acids (EPA) to omega-6 fatty acids (DHA) is most beneficial. For vegetarians, use Flaxseed oil.

Natural Remedies For ADHD: Herbs

Some parents find that as well as dietary supplements, certain herbs may also help relieve symptoms of ADHD.

  • Ginkgo biloba – this herb is known to reduce symptoms such as anxiety and depression and may help to improve memory function and concentration. 
  • Ginseng – this herb can improve concentration and memory, and reduce irritability.
  • Gotu kola – this herb helps to promote healthy brain functioning and helps with short attention spans and poor memory.
  • Lemon balm – this herb has an overall calming effect, and may reduce symptoms like: anxiety, depression, irritability, insomnia, and pain.

Natural Remedies For ADHD: Essential Oils

Lavender oil is one of the most popular essential oils due to its many beneficial health properties. Its can help calm mood, reduce anxiety, and soothe muscles - a great remedy for hyperactivity. It is also used to treat a variety of skin conditions and is a natural insect repellent. 

You can apply directly to the skin via a relaxing message, or use an aromatherapy diffuser.

Natural Remedies For ADHD: Dietary Changes

Modifying your child’s diet may help alleviate some of the symptoms of ADHD. Some studies suggest that certain food colorings and preservatives can exacerbate the symptoms of ADHD such as hyperactivity. Food additives that you wish to avoid include:

  • FD&C yellow number 5 and number 6
  • FD&C red number 3 and number 40
  • Citrus red number 2
  • FD&C blue number 1 and number 2
  • FD&C green number 3
  • Orange B
  • butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)
  • butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)
  • sodium nitrate
  • tert-Butylhydroquinone (TBHQ)

Although there is currently no definitive study linking ADHD and sugars, it is my anecdotal experience (and many other parents agree) that reducing intake of simple sugars and syrup can reduce hyperactivity significantly. 

Natural Remedies For ADHD: Exercise

Exercise has many benefits for the mind and the body, and this is also the case for children with ADHD. Exercise can help to improve the symptoms of ADHD, such as mood swings and anxiety.

Though pretty much any exercise is helpful, tai chi, chi gong or yoga may be the most beneficial because they incorporate slow breathing, body awareness, and concentration into all aspects of the exercise. Another benefit of these exercises is they can be done just about anywhere. Several studies have shown that exercising outdoors, particularly in green spaces, has many health benefits. 

Natural Remedies For ADHD: Meditation

Meditation and practicing mindfulness can help children with ADHD learn to focus their attention more easily. Mindfulness can be taught through the use of creative visualization and progressive relaxation techniques, where your child learns to relax and focus while listening to a vivid description of a pleasant and soothing scene, or while listening to relaxing music and simultaneously looking at a calming picture.

Natural Remedies For ADHD: Biofeedback

Biofeedback and neurofeedback training can help your child to learn to make his/her brain more active when appropriate, such when working on lessons or homework. During a biofeedback session, your physician will attach a series of sensors to your child’s body then will ask your child to concentrate on certain tasks. The sensors will enable the doctor to monitor your child’s physical reactions to the stimulus. Your child can also monitor their own brain wave patterns at the same time.

Over time, as you child becomes accustomed to seeing their brain activity as they focus on a particular ask, they can learn to control it more efficiently. Therapy session like this can help children with ADHD to learn which methods can help them most. Once they are no longer attached to the sensors, they can use the newly learned strategies to help them concentrate and improve their learning and control.

Natural Remedies For ADHD: Massage

Although it is not completely clear why, studies have shown that massage may be a good therapy for reducing the symptoms of ADHD. Studies have shown that massage can be beneficial in a number of ways including:

  • relaxing the body
  • calming the mind
  • reducing hyperactivity
  • increasing focus
  • improving performance

Don't Give Up...

natural remedies for adhd 2

Remember, if you try something that isn't working, there are lots of other options to try.

Will all of these options work for everyone? Probably not, but I bet that you will find one or most likely some combination of the treatments listed on this page that will help relieve your child's ADHD symptoms. 

If I would have given up when I was most frustrated I would have been unable to enjoy the great relationship with my son that I enjoy today. Keep fighting; the end result is worth it!