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Finding Quality Herbal Supplements to Treat ADHD

More parents choose natural treatments for ADHD over medicating their kids because of the harmful and long-lasting side effects of stimulant drugs.  As herbal treatments for ADHD become more popular and publicized, a number of manufacturers have released their own variants of herbal remedies for hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity.  You’d think it would be easy to just choose from the available supplements, but the wide range of options only confuses parents who are new to ADHD.  So how can you tell which supplements work and which ones do not?

In the first place, there is no telling which particular natural remedy will work unless your child tries it out.  Every child has a unique biochemical constitution that might elicit different reactions from different herbs – in other words, a particular herbal remedy will not have the same effect on every child.   Have your child visit a naturopath or herbalist so you can obtain a professional opinion on which herbs are most likely to help your child’s unique set of symptoms and problems. 

Once herbal recommendations have been given, you can shop for supplements with the help of these guidelines:

  1. Do your research and buy only from manufacturers who are GMP compliant. This means that the company adheres to the strict regulatory standards and safest manufacturing processes.  The production of herbal supplements is not legally standardized in the United States, which means cheap supplements might be contaminated by harmful ingredients or make false claims.
  2. Look for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) seal of approval.  This means that the product has been tested for immediate reactions and basic safety.  However, FDA approval does not mean that the remedy will bring the benefits it claims.
  3. The supplement should have standardized extracts so your child can consume the same amount of the herbs’ active ingredients in every capsule.
  4. Examine the ingredients, and look for herbs that have been proven to improve attention span, reduce hyperactivity, and calm the mind: gingko biloba, ginseng, pycnogenol, skullcap, spirulina, and l-theanine.  
  5. Keep an eye out for additives, fillers, or artificial coloring, such as gluten, sugar, rice starch, corn starch, silica, artificial color, artificial flavor, etc. Artificial food additives are known to aggravate ADHD, and it won’t do your child any good if the treatment contains the trigger!

Herbal remedies, no matter how effective they are, cannot cure ADHD without the help of other interventions.  In addition to taking herbal supplements, consider putting your child on an ADHD diet, or removing foods that are known to aggravate ADHD symptoms.  These foods include refined sugar, gluten (from wheat), casein (from dairy), and foods with artificial coloring, flavor, and adjectives.  Fill your supermarket cart with organic vegetables and meats, nuts, and other natural, unprocessed foods.