Nondrug Options for ADHD

by: Nancy Witting
Boy, Meditation, Yoga

In this article, you will find:

Herbal therapy; vitamins & supplements; homeopathy

Herbal Therapy

Among the herbs suggested for treatment of ADHD are St. John's wort, echinacea, gingko biloba, and ginseng. It is best to undertake herbal therapy under the guidance of a naturopathic physician, since herbs can have their own side effects if misused.

In the system of traditional Chinese medicine, herbal preparations are typically compounded for the individual patient, based on his or her particular symptoms. The Shaanxi College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Xianyang and the Pediatric Dept. of the Affiliated Hospital of Shandong College of TCM in Jinan have reported on the positive effects of two herbal formulas for ADHD treatment. At the Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou College of TCM, a Chinese herbal formula was compared to a western medicine approach (Ritalin)in a side-by-side clinical trial. The herbal formula performed as well as Ritalin in that trial, with fewer side-effects.

Vitamins and Supplements

Research has found that some children with ADHD are deficient in magnesium, iron, zinc, and/or vitamin B6. Megadoses of vitamins are controversial, but a good multiple vitamin is a safe and reasonable approach to treating such deficiencies. There is also a growing body of evidence that omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish and fish oil, can be helpful to children with ADHD (reported in 2007 in the Journal of the Pediatric Clinics of North America).

Homeopathic Remedies

A double-blind study published in the British Homeopathic Journal gave 43 children with ADHD either a homeopathic treatment or a placebo for ten days. Researchers found that those who were given homeopathic medicines showed significantly fewer signs of ADHD behavior than those given placebos. Two months after the study's end, 57 percent of the children who showed improvement with homeopathy had continued to improve, even though they had discontinued the homeopathic medicines; 24 percent relapsed by the time of the follow-up; and the remaining 19 percent continued to experience positive results, but only while taking the homeopathic medicines. The homeopathic medicines found to be most helpful for ADHD were Stramonium, Cina, and Hyoscyamus niger.