Chinese Herbs as Natural ADHD Remedy?

Attention-Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) is a mental disorder characterized by a pattern of inattentiveness, hyperactivity and/or impulsiveness. For children, ADHD interferes with a child’s natural growth and development and this makes identifying and administering the right treatment very crucial. Symptoms of ADHD vary from one person to the next. Some are affected by lack of attention while others suffer from hyperactivity. Others are affected by all these conditions. Most kids with ADHD suffer from the combined type.

ADHD is fast becoming a common childhood disorder. A study by the National Institute of Health estimates that about 5% of children the world over have been diagnosed with some form of ADHD. Boys suffer from ADHD more than girls with four times as many boys as girls suffering from this disorder. The number may seem small but these are millions of kids whose lives could be greatly improved with effective treatments.

ADHD has traditionally been treated using prescription drugs such as methylphenidate (Ritalin). Ritalin is stimulant that reportedly functions to activate the brain cells that are responsible for attention, focus and alertness. This may temporarily improve a child’s attention and focus but such drugs are not without their side effects and potential for long term consequences.

One common reported long term side effect of using such drugs is personality change. These drugs have also been found to be addictive and many find it difficult to quit using them. Other side effects include mood swings, suicidal thoughts and developmental delays in children. There are also questions as to the potential negative effects of longterm psychotropic drugs on the developing child's brain.

All these concerns have made people question the use of prescription drugs in treating ADHD. Many are now seeking a natural ADHD remedy to support healthy attention levels in those with ADHD, especially children. Natural methods include acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, which many find to be calming and soothing and without the side effects of pharmaceutical treatments. The effectiveness of each of these treatment methods varies with some studies finding Chinese herbal medicine much more effective in treating ADHD than acupuncture alone.

Chinese herbal medicine can be quite effective in increasing one’s ability to focus and think clearly, as well as calming anxiety and settling emotions. Each of the following herbs below has been used as a natural ADHD remedy to ameliorate the symptoms of ADHD in both children and adults.

1. Thorowax Root (Chai Hu)


This herb possesses cell-simulating, sedative and anti-inflammatory effects. Its sedative effect calms agitation, hyperactivity and controls impulsive behavior in the patients. The sedative effects are mild and this makes it safe for both children and adults without the experience of personality changes of the person taking the herb.

2. Oriental Ginseng (You Ji Hong Ren Shen)


Ginseng is known for its concentration boosting abilities and that is why it is used to make most soft drinks and memory-boosting supplements. Ginseng increases blood flow to the brain and the increased supply of oxygen to the brain encourages brain development. This way it increases brain activity and enhances work performance. Children with ADHD lag behind other kids when it comes to growthand development, and ginseng helps address this problem. 

3. Skullcap Root (Huang Qin)


Skullcap root is a Chinese herb that protects the nervous system by maintaining the balance of chemicals within the brain. The chemical imbalance in the brain of people with ADHD is what causes restlessness and hyperactivity. This herb restores the chemical balance in the brain and in the process calms down the agitated child and prevents hyperactivity.

4.Red Jujube (Da Zao Hei)


The jujube is a sweet herb that has been used to treat anxiety, insomnia and weak memory.  It settles the nerves and this helps to calm down an overwhelmed child. Users of this herb benefit from peace of mind and the ability to think clearly.

5. Poria (Fu Ling)

Poria is a traditional Chinese herb that has been used since the ancient times to treat a variety of ailments. Specific to ADHD, Poria is used to improve digestion within the gut and soothe the nerves. By soothing the nerves, it brings about a calming effect and this prevents hyperactivity and restlessness in children. It eliminates harmful toxins from the digestive tract contribute to the escalation of the symptoms of ADHD

6. Ginkgo Biloba


Ginkgo Biloba increases blood flow to the brain and this increases brain activity, growth and development. It also boosts the level of amine neurotransmitter substances within the brain making it easier for the brain to process information. Continued use of this herb brings about a calming and soothing effect to the users keeping hyperactivity and restlessness at bay.


Studies on the use of Chinese herbal medicine for ADHD.
In 1990, the Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou College of TCM examined the effectiveness of Chinese herbs in treating ADHD. 100 children with ADHD were divided into two groups of 80 and 20 children with the group of 80 children being treated with traditional Chinese herbs and the group of 20 given western medication.

After 3 months, 23 of the children treated with the natural ADHD remedy were completely cured of the disease, 46 showed great improvement and 10 children registered higher IQ scores.

Another study in 1994 conducted by the Shaanxi College of Traditional Chinese Medicine examined the efficiency of Chinese herbs in treating ADHD. Of the 66 children who were involved in the study, 85% showed great improvement.

The Affiliated Hospital of Shandong College of TCM conducted a study a year later, in which 100 children with ADHD were treated  with Chinese herbs. At the end of the study, 94% of the children posted better grades in school and had better concentration.

Traditional Chinese herbs are demonstrating the potential to provide a more safe and gentle remedy for the symptoms of ADHD than the available pharmaceutical solutions.

This article is for informational use only and not intended to replace the advice of a licensed medical professional.



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