Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common mental disorder in children and adults, which can affect schooling, work, or interpersonal relationships. Though it's exact cause is not known, it is believed to be associated with low quantities of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. The symptoms of ADHD can vary from case to case and be difficult to recognize.

There are three types of ADHD: Inattentive, Hyperactive-Impulsive, and Combined. Inattentive ADHD typically means a person is showing enough symptoms of inattention and is easily distracted, but isn’t necessarily hyperactive or impulsive. In contrast to this is the Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD, which occurs when a person has symptoms of hyperactivity and impulsiveness but not inattention. A person with Combined ADHD shows symptoms of all three.

It is important to note that many of the symptoms of ADHD are within the range of normal experience. Almost all people are fidgety at some point, become distracted easily, and have trouble paying attention at times. The difference to note here is that a person struggling with ADHD has these symptoms to such an extent that they can become a distraction at home or in the classroom. In order to be diagnosed, symptoms have to be present for at least six months and must be inappropriate for the person's developmental level. Additionally, with each symptom type, there are a number of criteria that their behavior will need to meet in order to be diagnosed.

If you or your child have been diagnosed with ADHD, it may seem difficult to decide the best treatment option. A high amount of people experience relief from ADHD symptoms through the use of stimulant medications. Many, however, struggle with the many side effects associated with these medications. These can be mild to severe and may include sweating, dry mouth, dizziness, headache, nausea, irritability, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation. Though there is little scientific research approving their use, there are alternative treatments to relieve ADHD symptoms.

Ginko Biloba
Often used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ginko Biloba is an herb associated with mental alertness. It has long been recommended for improving memory and keeping your mind sharp. A study published in 2010 compared the use of Ginko Biloba to Ritalin. Though it found Ritalin was more effective in treating ADHD symptoms, the study did show a marked improvement in the symptoms of participants who took Ginko.

Another study from 2014 showed that children who took 240 mg of Ginkgo biloba extract daily for three to five weeks showed a reduction in ADHD symptoms with few negative side effects.

Gotu Kola
Centella asiatica, commonly known as Gotu kola, is an herb which grown naturally in parts of Asia, Indonesia, and South Africa. It is high in vitamins B1, B2, and B6, which are necessary for healthy brain function. It may help reduce anxiety and increase focus in patients with ADHD

A Study published in 200, showed marked improvements in the anxiety of patients who took Gotu kola.

Another herbal remedy from China, ginseng has been used for centuries to stimulate brain function and increase energy. Red ginseng in particular has potential to calm symptoms of ADHD

A study from 2011 observed the effects of ginseng on children with ADHD. Children who took 1,000mg of Korean red ginseng daily for eight weeks reported improvements in anxiety, personality, and social functioning.

Bacopa monnieri, commonly known as Brahmi or water hyssop, is a marsh plant that grows wild in India. It has also been used for centuries to improve brain function and memory. This herb has been recommended as an alternative treatment for ADHD.

Participants in a study from 2008 showed marked increases in their memory and brain function as a result of taking Brahmi.

Green Oats
An unmatured version of the standard oat, green oats are sold as "avena sativa". Also known as wild oat extract, green oats have long been thought to help calm nerves and lower stress and anxiety.

Green oats show promise in the treatment of ADHD symptoms. A study from 2011 showed that people taking the extract were less likely to make errors on tests. Another study found people taking Avena sativa showed a noticeable improvement in cognitive performance.

An extract made from the French maritime pine tree, Pycnogenol may reduce hyperactivity and improve attention and concentration, according to a study from 2006.

There have been studies done on combining some of these herbs to show an even greater effect on ADHD symptoms. A study from 2001 showed participants who took both American ginseng and Ginkgo biloba twice a day for four weeks experienced improvements in social problems, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

Though there have not been many completed studies on the efficacy of herbs for treating ADHD symptoms, there are those that show promise. If you or your child struggle with stimulant medications, talk with your doctor or health care physician. Herbal remedies for ADHD may be the right way to go.

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Author's Bio: 

Brian Wu graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physiology and Neurobiology. Currently, he holds a PhD and is an MD candidate (KSOM, USC) in integrative biology and disease. He is also an experienced writer and editor for many prestigious web pages. Brian values the ability of all ages to learn from the power of stories. His mission is to write about health conditions, educational topics and life situations in an entertaining way in order to help children understand their own life conditions and daily circumstances.