Natural Remedies for Children With ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a condition primarily affecting children, characterized by hyperactivity, impulsive behavior, and the inability to stay on task. According to the CDC, as many as three to seven percent of school-age children show signs of ADHD. ADHD is medically treated by the use of stimulants, but studies are beginning to show that natural remedies may be of some help.


Fish oil may hold some promise. In the Oxford-Durham Study, published in the May 2005 issue of “Pediatrics,” children with developmental coordination disorder were given omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Significant improvements in reading and spelling were observed. However, the Mayo Clinic held a similar clinical trial in 2001, and their results showed no significant improvement. The difference appears to be that only the Mayo Clinic used children with a true ADHD diagnosis.

Zinc may play a role in ADHD. The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that some children diagnosed with ADHD also had zinc deficiencies. The supplementation of zinc in ADHD children without a zinc deficiency had no effect. The connection between zinc deficiency and ADHD has not been established yet.

A ginseng and ginkgo combination appears to be effective in managing some ADHD symptoms. In a pilot study published in the May 2001 issue of “Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience,” children who fit the ADHD diagnostic criteria were given the ginseng extract Panax quinquefolium and ginkgo biloba. Improvements were noted after just two weeks in the study, and after four weeks of receiving the supplement 74 percent of the children showed improvement. However, this was a small study involving only 36 children.

Other Treatments

The University of Maryland Medical Center states that parents have reported success with the Feingold Diet. The Feingold Diet is a structured, salicylate- and additive-free diet that has not been peer-reviewed. The University of Maryland Medical Center was not recommending the diet, they were merely reporting anecdotal statements from parents.

Daily exercise helps all children release excess energy and stay more focused during school. Children with ADHD can benefit even more with daily exercise, as it helps them gain control over their hyperactivity. With schools cutting back on recess and outdoor play times, it is up to the parent to ensure their child gets the exercise needed.

Daily massage therapy has also been shown to help ADHD children manage some of their symptoms. Music therapy and meditation may also help with symptom management.


Herbal supplements can be harmful to children. Alternative remedies involving herbal or nutritional supplements should not be undertaken without the supervision of a doctor.