Herbal Medicine for ADHD
Written by Chantelle van der Weyden BPsych (Hons), AdvDip(Nat), AdvDip(NutMed)
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is the most common behavioural disorder in children. Depending on the severity of the presentation, symptoms can persist through to teenage years and even adulthood.
Symptoms include difficulties paying attention, impulsivity and overactivity. This can look like difficulty sustaining attention in school or play related tasks, being easily distracted, failure to follow instructions, fidgeting, difficultly participating in quiet activities, and talking excessively. Symptoms can often result in an underperformance at school or in social settings.
While the causes of ADHD are largely unknown, it is thought that genetics, exposure to environmental toxins, nutritional deficiencies, chemical sensitivities, food intolerances, delayed development of certain areas of the brain, and childhood trauma may play a role.
Bacopa monnieri (Bacopa) is considered the leading nervine tonic in Ayurveda – a system of traditional medicine native to India – where is has been used for over 3000 years as a brain and memory tonic. Bacopa is well researched and studies have reported significant improvements in measures of verbal learning, memory, and memory retention in healthy adults. Bacopa has also been studied in children and is showing some exciting results in ADHD specifically.
Research has found that following supplementation with Bacopa children with ADHD showed improvement in areas such as learning, memory, impulsivity, and self-control. In one study 95% of children displayed a reduction in restlessness, while 85% displayed a reduction in attention-deficit symptoms.
These studies included the use of BacoMind, a patented clinically validated extract of Bacopa monnieri. Bacomind has also been shown to improve verbal, visual and auditory memory in healthy children with a low intelligence quota (IQ).
The evidence supports the use of Bacopa as a safe complimentary medicine that can improve cognition and behaviour in young children, and shows promising results for use in children with ADHD.
If you would like to discuss the use of Bacopa monnieri or Bacomind for your child, reach out to your natural health practitioner.
Reference list available upon request.