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Is Ashwagandha a Natural Herbal Remedy for ADHD

Ashwagandha may promote attention and behavior control in children with ADHD.

With worries over potential adverse side effects from ADHD, many parents are looking to natural herbal medicine to help their children. Ashwagandha may just be the herbal remedy that they are seeking.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common behavioral disorder, with prevalence rates believed to range from 3% to over 15% in some countries. Characterized by impulsive and hyperactive, disruptive behavior accompanied with an inability to pay attention, ADHD is linked to further psychiatric mood disorders (i.e., anxiety) that can affect educational and work performance. Current pharmaceutical drugs can have a number of side effects (including worse behavior as the drug wears off) and is associated with potential abuse and addiction.67

How does it Work?

Clinical studies suggest that ashwagandha may promote attention and behavioral control in children with ADHD by augmenting normal brain development. Research indicates ashwagandha does this by inhibiting activity of the enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter associated with cognition and memory, as well as stimulating growth of neurons.59

Evidence of Benefits

  • In one randomized, placebo-controlled study, children with ADHD who were given a combination of an herbal compound containing ashwagandha along with the Ayurvedic healing technique shirodhara experienced much better control of symptoms than the group given a placebo.67
  • A larger randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial involving 120 children with ADHD showed that those who used a compound herbal preparation containing ashwagandha over the 4-month study period had significantly better outcomes than the control group. Compared to before treatment, the test group demonstrated substantial improvement on the Test of Variables of Attention scores and exhibited less impulsive behavior, while the children who took a placebo showed no improvement at all.59
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An Ayurvedic treatment characterized by dripping liquid
(in this case milk) on the forehead.