A Natural Hope For ADHD

Maylin Rodriguez-Paez RN

ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is a difficult condition to manage in children.

Treatment can be especially challenging, as the use of psychotropic drugs at such an early age raises a number of questions.

Fortunately, a more gentle and natural approach may be an option, according to the results of a study.

Researchers have discovered that a combination of valerian root and lemon balm may help to alleviate the symptoms of ADHD in children. The results were published in the journal Phytomedicine2.

Valerian Root and Lemon Balm Lessen ADHD Symptoms

Previous studies show lemon balm and valerian root lessen the symptoms of anxiety.1

For the current trial, children with ADHD who didn’t qualify for conventional treatment or didn’t match the diagnostic criteria for ADHD, were recruited for the study.

At the beginning of the trial, the parents reported high levels of impulsiveness, distractibility, hyperactivity, inattentiveness, and restlessness. For a period of seven weeks, the children were given 640 mg of valerian root and 320 mg of lemon balm extracts daily.

Questionnaires were administered to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment and symptoms were tracked.

According to the results of the study, there were significant improvements in sleep, concentration, and behavior.2 The parent burden (meaning the difficulty in interacting with the affected child) decreased from 58% to 18%.

Fifty-eight percent of the parents rated the effectiveness of treatment as good or very good. Focus issues decreased from 75% to 14%, hyperactivity from 61% to 13%, and impulsiveness from 59% to 22%. In addition, the therapy was well tolerated with little-to-no side effects.

Overall, parents ranked the tolerability of the natural treatment at a high 95.1%. There were limitations to the study, such as the lack of a control group, but overall the investigators recommend valerian root and lemon balm as an alternate option, along with education and counseling, for children struggling with ADHD-related symptoms.

The Bottom Line

With the growing incidence of ADHD in the United States, it’s reassuring to know that alternative treatments are effective and available.

Previous studies show a wide range of nutrients may help children with ADHD including fish oil, GLA, and ginkgo.3-5

For more information on this topic, consider reading our detailed ADHD protocol.

References:

  1. Med Sci Monit. 2009 Nov;15(11):RA256-62. 
  2. Phytomedicine. 2014;21(8-9):1098-1103. 
  3. J Atten Disord. 2009;12(5):394–401. 
  4. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2015 May;21(2):61-7. 
  5. Przegl Lek. 2007;64(2):100-2.

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