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ADHD Herbal Remedies: Gotu Kola

Despite the efforts of some conventional medical doctors to discredit non-medical treatments, a growing number of inquisitive parents are looking into herbal remedies that could provide the same calming effects as ADHD medication without the harmful side effects.   One of these herbs is gotu kola, an herb native to Central Asia, Southeast Asia, South Africa, and the southern United States.  A mainstay of Ayurvedic medicine, gotu kola is widely used as an alternative treatment for Alzheimer's disease and other disorders affecting the central nervous system. This is why some people wonder whether it could also benefit individuals suffering from ADHD. 

Gotu kola contains a high concentration of vitamin B1 (thiamin), riboflavin (vitamin B2), and pyridoxine (vitamin B6) – important B vitamins required for proper brain function.  These vitamins are among the herb's active ingredients, which can probably explain why consuming gotu kola seems to help the brain's capacity to process glucose as well as help stabilize blood sugar levels in the body, which in turn prevents hypoglycemia, depression, and mental fatigue.  When used on patients with Alzheimer's disease, it has been suggested that gotu kola helps heighten mental function, enhance learning capabilities, and partially restore some of the memory loss caused by the disease. 

Although no studies have been done to specifically evaluate the effects of gotu kola on symptoms of ADHD, there is some anecdotal evidence suggesting that gotu kola stimulates the central nervous system, enabling individuals to focus better and experience clarity of mind, all the while reducing anxiety. For example, one study performed on children with learning disorders found that those who took the herb showed a significant improvement in attention span and concentration after twelve weeks of supplementation

There are two ways you can include gotu kola in your child's diet: you can include fresh leaves in salads and other dishes, or give the herb as a supplement. Gotu kola food supplement capsules are available in varying strengths. Safe dosages for children have yet to be determined. If you choose to use supplements, it's worth noting that recent advances in manufacturing supplements have allowed for the development of products that provide a balanced mixture of various herbal remedies for ADHD. 

These other herbs include passion flower, gingko biloba, ginseng, and skullcap.  When choosing an herbal supplement to give to your child, make sure that it includes the herbs mentioned above and that it is made by a manufacturer with a reputation for pure ingredients and high quality. One way to ensure its quality is to check whether it is manufactured by a GMP-compliant supplier. These facilities comply with strict regulatory standards when manufacturing vitamins and food supplements.  Make sure that the supplement does not contain any filler additives like starch, sugar, gluten, silica (sand), or artificial coloring. 

Herbal remedies are generally safer than pharmaceutical drugs, but you should always consult your holistic health care professional before giving gotu kola or similar herbs to your child.  While there are no known side effects associated with gotu kola intake, allergic reactions have occurred in very rare cases.