So far, no one has been able to pinpoint the cause of hyperactivity, or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) Current research points to physical rather than phychological causes, possible problems with brain chemistry and a connection to prenatal trauma. For reasons unknown, ADD affects ten times more boys than girls. But ADD can be treated - I have seen a number of hyperactive chldren dramatically change behavior when their parents instituted a comprehensive program that included herbs, a change in diet, avoiding potential allergic substances and counseling, usually for the whole family. Pediatrician and allergist Ben Feingold, MD, found that hyperactive children improved when synthetic food colorings, milk, chocolate, sugar and certain preservatives were eliminated from their diets.
As any parent with a hyperactive child knows, a child who suffers from this condition can be quite a handful. It might not be so bad if these children were simply lively, but they are easily distracted, unable to concentrate, have a tendency to act impulsively and become aggressive without apparent reason. Parents may hesitate to take their hyperactive child anywhere, and teachers constantly struggle to get the child to concentrate. Such children are routinely given drugs such as methylphenidate, which can have serious long-term effects, including a drugged, docile state, appetite and weight loss, insomnia and an irregular heartbeat.
Natural treatments for hyperactivity are much more popular in Europe than they are in North America. The Germans have treated hyperactive children with valerian since the 1970's. In one German study, more than 100 hyperactive children experienced improved learning skills, muscle cooordination and reaction time after only a few weeks of taking valerian. They were also less anxious, less aggressive, less restless and less fearful. Even more amazing, over 25 percent of these children recovered completely. Because alerain has an upleasant taste, you shold administer valerian-based formulas in tincture form. Another European remedy for hyperactivity is catnip, which contains compouns similar to those in valerian. Linden flower tea is a traditional afternoon drink given to French country children to settle them down. Linden is not widely available as a tincture, but is sold in antural food stores as a French or Englis herb tea.
When children at the London Children's Hyperactive Clinic took evening primrose oil, they were much less hyperactive, and two-thirds of them experienced fewer nightmares. Evening primrose oil is better known for successfully treating premenstrual syndrome (PMS), but the clinic has found a possible link between hyperactivity and PMS, and even alcoholism - problems that many hyperactive children eventually develop and that seem to run in their families. Researchers believe that this connection is due to an overproduction of certain hormonelike substances in the body called prostaglandins, which are reduced by evening primrose oil. This oil is sold in natural food stores. Herbs for Health & Healing, by Kathi Keville, pg. 229, 230.