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Traditional Chinese Medicine for ADHD

Another alternative ADHD treatment you can consider is traditional Chinese medicine.   Like many alternative approaches, Chinese medicine places a lot of importance on individualized treatment plans designed around children's specific symptoms, rather than the one-size-fits-all treatment provided by medications.  The Chinese understanding of ADHD is also rather unique. While Western medicine classifies ADHD into three types (ADHD Inattentive Type, ADHD Hyperactive-Impulsive Type, and ADHD Combination Type), traditional Chinese medicine views ADHD as a problem with specific organs:

  • ADHD Inattentive Type – caused by a deficiency in the heart's and spleen's qi. Symptoms of this include slow response time, inability to concentrate, and poor memory.
  • ADHD Hyperactive-Impulsive Type – caused by a deficiency in the kidney's yin, resulting in symptoms such as loud behavior, irritability, and excitability.
  • ADHD Combination Type – caused by variations of the two patterns mentioned above.
  • The traditional Chinese approach to treating these symptoms involves a combination of herbal remedies, lifestyle changes, and dietary modifications. 

Chinese herbs

Before anything else, it's important for you to know that there is no such thing as an ADHD Chinese Herbal Remedy for children.  The formulation of Chinese herbs is a precise process based on the child's unique set of problems, with different herbs treating different symptoms. As such, a Chinese herbal remedy that works for one child may not work for the other.  For this approach to work, you will need to see a qualified Chinese herbalist who can choose the right ingredients that will help your child recover.  Ask the herbalist to give the remedy in a pill form instead of as bulk herbs. Bulk herbs will require your child to drink them as a tea, and the bitter, often unpleasant taste will make your child resistant to the treatment.


Another treatment that can work is acupressure, which is very similar to acupuncture. They are similar in the sense that they are both based on the same premise: the deficiencies in the organs are actually deficiencies in qi, or life energy.  Something is causing a qi blockage in the meridians or pathways to these organs. Acupressure and acupuncture restore the balance of qi in the body by stimulating certain pressure points along the meridians. The difference is in the approach – acupressure uses massage whereas acupuncture uses very thin needles. Acupressure might be less intimidating for a child, but acupuncture is just as painless and safe. Either approach is a very powerful natural treatment for ADHD.

Martial arts

In China, hyperactive and undisciplined children are sent to study kung fu and other martial arts. Not only do martial arts provide children with a physical outlet for their hyperactivity, but they also teach discipline, impulse control, and mental concentration.  Many parents have reported significant improvement among children with ADHD who take their martial arts classes seriously and regularly. Get your child interested in martial arts by stimulating his or her curiosity. Put on a few martial arts movies in the living room or visit the nearest kung fu studio to inquire about classes.