Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common behavioral disorder found in children. In order to treat ADHD, most doctors recommend an assortment of medication that most parents aren’t keen on. However, some parents are looking towards alternatives, such as ayurvedic herbs for ADHD.
Throughout this article, we’re going to take a deeper dive into what ayurvedic means and which herbs are best for ADHD symptoms. At the end, we invite you to ask further questions.
What is ADHD Under the Ayurvedic Concept?
As defined by Johns Hopkins Medicine, “Ayurveda is a system of medicine based on the idea that disease is caused by an imbalance or stress in a person’s consciousness.”
As a 3,000 year old concept, it comes as no surprise that ADHD isn’t as an entity of Ayurveda. However, there are 3 key irregular behaviors recorded in Ayurveda that hold similarities to ADHD symptoms: ¹
- Dhee’s vitiation – rational thinking
- Smriti’s – memory
- Dhriti – the retaining/intellect force of the mind
The combination of these irregularities cause a lack of connection within the senses and their goals. In turn, this creates symptoms commonly associated with ADHD, including: ²
In order to overcome these symptoms, Ayurveda seeks to monitor emotions (and how they affect the heart) as well as developing better control of the mind, brain, and sensory perception?
To accomplish this, Ayurveda also points to specific herbs in order to help relieve these symptoms. More specifically, non-tropical herbs that promote mental balance (Medhya) as well as herbs that calm blood flow, breathing, and thoughts within the brain (Vatya).
How to Treat ADHD Under Ayurveda
In order to implement Ayurveda herbs for ADHD, it’s important to also incorporate therapies and diet. This combination allows for optimal balance within the brain, body, and spirit – giving your child the best chance at treatment.
However, before we discuss this treatment, it should be noted that none of it has been approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). In other words, there’s no way of determining the safety of said treatment. Therefore, if a parent decides to use Ayurveda herbs for ADHD, we highly recommend speaking to a medical professional first.
Top 5 Ayurveda Herbs for ADHD
Ayurveda recommends ashwagandha as it has a powerful herb on the nervous system. Naturally, it works on the brain as an adaptogen, helping to fight against chemicals responsible for stress. ³
With a lack of stress, the brain will likely see improvements in cognitive functioning as well as comprehension. However, research also pinpoints that ashwagandha may help in easing anxiety, promoting sleep, and improving overall wellness. ⁴
Since Brahmi has memory-enhancing properties, it may be beneficial for ADHD and other health conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease. ⁵ Not to mention, its antioxidant properties may also improve cognitive abilities.
As one of the most significant herbs in Ayurvedic, Guduchi helps to improve gut health and the immune system. Through this process, it’s believed to relieve anxiety and stress as well as promoting cognition and memory. ⁶
Also known as “morning glory,” Shankapushpi is a memory booster and brain tonic that can actively improve intelligence and cognitive functioning. Furthermore, people have used this herb to treat other mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety. ⁷
Ghee is a synonym for clarified butter and is made by separating milk solids from butterfat in processed water. This allows for a unique taste while also providing some health benefits. Under Ayurveda, we should be incorporating Ghee into our regular diet.
While there’s only so much research, Ghee may help improve digestion, intelligence, memory and allow for smoother performance of the sense organs. As a dietary supplement, it may rejuvenate the body which can help to clarify the mind. ⁸
Other Ayurveda Therapies for ADHD
In order to garner the most from herbs, Ayurveda recommends a handful of other therapies that help in voice, memory, and intelligence development. These include:
- Abyanga – Better known in the West as a “body oil massage,” this therapy helps to alleviate muscles in the body while also soothing the mind.
- Shirodhara – While typically used for heat-related illnesses, this therapy involves pouring medicinal liquids over the head. It may be able to calm your mind, increase concentration, promote sleep, and relieve anxiety. Not to mention, it may help to improve reaction time.
While these therapies may not be as beneficial as traditional therapies (such as psychotherapy), you may find them useful when implemented alongside conventional treatments.
Since there’s only so much evidence to suggest Ayurvedic herbs for ADHD are effective, it’s difficult for us to promote these supplements as an answer. However, Ayurvedic therapy may be useful in some patients and therefore, may be optimal for your child.
Still, being as the herbs discussed here aren’t approved by the FDA, parents should proceed with caution. Even more so, you should consult your doctor before promoting Ayurvedic on your child.
Still have questions about ayurvedic herbs for ADHD?
We invite you to ask them in the comments section below. If you have any further knowledge to share – whether personal or professional – we’d also love to hear from you.
¹ Ayu: Ayurvedic approach for improving reaction time of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder affected children
² Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
³ Cureus: Adaptogenic and Anxiolytic Effects of Ashwagandha Root Extract in Healthy Adults
⁴ Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine: A Prospective, Randomized Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Safety and Efficacy of a High-Concentration Full-Spectrum Extract of Ashwagandha Root in Reducing Stress and Anxiety in Adults
⁵ Ancient Science of Life: Evaluation of Brāhmī ghṛtam in children suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
⁶ BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies: Tinospora cordifolia as a potential neuroregenerative candidate against glutamate induced excitotoxicity
⁷ J-AIM: Neuropharmacological evaluation on four traditional herbs used as nervine tonic and commonly available as Shankhpushpi in India
⁸ AYU: The effect of ghee (clarified butter) on serum lipid levels and microsomal lipid peroxidation