A Case for and against Natural Remedies for Adult ADD

Tess Thompson

There are myriads of testimonials available on the Internet as well as in print about the efficacy of natural remedies on practically all diseases and ADD is no exception. Indisputably, the base elements of almost all the drugs are from natural resources. Whereas Homoeopathy too forms a part of natural remedies available to cure symptoms of adult attention deficit disorder, the purpose of this article is to focus only on herbal and natural remedies as part of the adult ADD medication regime.

Herbal remedies are based on the belief that the causes behind symptoms of adult attention deficit disorder are diet, allergies, food intolerances, low muscle tone, anxiety, depression, family problems, poor discipline and at times other forms of illness.

What is ADD after all? Apart from the hyperactive behavioral symptoms, ADD is characterized by symptoms that hamper the ability of a person to concentrate and focus on daily routine tasks. The experts of herbal remedies contend that the psycho-stimulant drugs prescribed by the conventional system of treating ADD are harmful and addictive. Doctors and psychiatrics are known for prescribing drugs like Ritalin, Concerta, Adderall that expose ADD patients to risks of addiction and harmful side effects.

Natural remedies are mostly based on the pharmacopoeia of Ayurvedic, (the science of holistic ancient Indian medicine), Chinese and Western Naturopathic drugs, all of which are basically herbal and derived from natural elements, devoid of any synthetic content.

Centella asiatica is a well-known alternative to standard Western allopathic medicine for a variety of ailments including senility and is commonly used for increasing concentration, brainpower and vitality. The herb is usually administered in the form of herbal tea. However, excessive use of this herb can interfere with hypoglycemic medication and may cause headaches and therefore it is administered under supervision alone.

Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) is said to prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine, a chemical in the brain that promotes memory functions, as it contains acetyl-cholinesterase inhibitors. Lower levels of acetylcholine have been linked to Alzheimer's disease and loss of memory.

Panax Ginseng is one of the most prescribed herbs in the Chinese pharmacopoeia and is often termed as “the wonder drug.” Its properties are known to enhance, among other things, physical performance, the immune system, motivation, vitality and memory.

As with other diseases, all regimes of natural remedies take a holistic approach in treatment of the symptoms of adult attention deficit disorder and take into account lifestyles, personality, environment and emotional background of the patient before prescribing a specific medicine for adult ADD.

All said and done, a word of caution needs to be added here. Manufacturers of natural remedies are not required to carry safety studies before selling natural or herbal remedies and there have been cases of fraudulent practices where over the counter prescription drugs are sold as “herbal remedies” The mistaken belief that a drug used for centuries is bound to be safe works in favor of those indulging in such frauds. The fact is manufacturers of such ‘so called’ natural remedies are not required to submit records or report adverse episodes to the FDA.

There is no herbal medicine available which meets the criteria laid down by the FDA for regulated medicines and many times they do not contain the ingredients that the labels profess to contain. Moreover, use of herbal medicines is known to interfere with conventional drugs by either aggravating or restraining their functions. But the fact remains that genuine herbal drugs can help in obliterating symptoms of adult ADD without causing side effects that can otherwise be alarming.

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