A sample ailment entry along with possible herbal remedies from the Ancient Herbs and Modern Herbs book by James K. Sayre, Copyright, 2001. All rights reserved.
Attention deficit disorder (ADD) (Hyperactivity)
This is another one of the dubious modern "disorders" which may reflect more on elementary school teachers' inability to teach, rather than any "minimal brain disfunction" on the part of the young students. For millions of years, our ancestors hunted and gathered in the forest and on the plain. This life was physically active and did not involve the extremely un-natural notion of forcing young children to sit still for several hours each day in chairs and study human language abstractions (English, arithmetic, spelling, reading, writing and speaking). Even in the last several thousand years of human agricultural activity the young children were intimately involved in the planting, weeding and harvesting of the food crops. Now we wonder why six year old children aren't willing to act like "little adults" in the modern school classroom setting.
In the past couple of decades there has been a mass movement among American school teachers, school administrators, school psychologists, school guidance counselors and parents to drug students into sitting still and obeying the many rules of classroom etiquette and decorum. Millions of American children are dosed daily with psychoactive drugs Ritalin (methylphenidate) and others also based on amphetamines. Note: overdoses of methylphenidate can cause nausea, vomiting, tremors, seizures, convulsions and coma.
I would suggest that elementary school-age children need much less TV, much less sugar, much less soda, much less caffeine, less fluorescent lighting, much less junk foods and much less time spent playing video games. They need more exercise, more childhood sports (spontaneous games without adult supervision) and more sleep. The many and varied "symptoms" of the so-called ADD may also be caused by deficiencies in essential vitamins and minerals, childhood food allergies, by food additives, by intestinal parasites, by toxic chemicals in the environment or by emotional problems stemming from home. Dosing children with psychoactive drugs merely covers up the problem. It does not deal with the root causes. However, some authorities suggest that certain medicinal herbs may prove of value in these situations. These are listed below. Note: any use of medicinal herbs by children should be monitored and approved by health care professionals. Dietary supplements such as vitamin B-complex, choline, calcium and magnesium have been suggested.Some children may benefit from taking iron, zinc or essential fatty acids
Recommendations by individual herbal expert authors are marked [rec]. See Ancient Herbs book for identification of individual books and their authors.
Borage - Borago officinalis - [rec]
Evening Primrose - Oenothera biennis -[rec][rec]
Flax - Linum usitatissimum - [rec]
Ginseng, Siberian - Eleutherococcus senticosus - [rec]
Ginkgo - Ginkgo biloba - [rec][rec]
Mushroom, Reishi - Ganoderma lucidum
Passionflower - Passiflora incarnata - [rec]
St. John's Wort - Hypericum perforatum - [rec]
Skullcap, Baikal - Scutellaria baikalensis - [rec]
Valerian - Valeriana officinalis - [rec]
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Web page last updated on 5 June 2003.