Ask the Experts

Herbal Help for ADHD

“What is a good herbal supplement for smaller children with ADHD?”

There is limited evidence that supports using herbs in treating ADHD. I do use valerian a lot. It calms hyperactivity, but it doesn’t improve concentration.1 Valerian also helps with sleep problems and lessens the “rebound effect” that some kids experience when stimulants wear off. There is a small study2 that shows that a combination of ginseng and ginkgo helps manage ADHD symptoms, but I do not use these herbs much in treating ADHD.

Another study3, on a product called Nurture and Clarity, a combination of several herbs known to improve mental sharpness, shows some promise. I have given this product to a few patients, one of whom reported significant success.

1 Müller, S. F., and S. Klement. “A Combination of Valerian and Lemon Balm Is Effective in the Treatment of Restlessness and Dyssomnia in Children.” Phytomedicine, vol. 13, no. 6, June 2006, pp. 383–387., doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2006.01.013.
2 Shakibaei, Fereshteh, et al. “Ginkgo Biloba in the Treatment of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Children and Adolescents. A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Trial.” Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, vol. 21, no. 2, Apr. 2015, pp. 61–67., doi:10.1016/j.ctcp.2015.04.001.
3 Katz, M., et al. “A Compound Herbal Preparation (CHP) in the Treatment of Children With ADHD: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Journal of Attention Disorders, vol. 14, no. 3, 12 Mar. 2010, pp. 281–291., doi:10.1177/1087054709356388.