ADHD Natural Remedies: Essential Oils
There are many ways one can manage the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder without the use of medication. Besides changing diet, taking food supplements, and undergoing an appropriate detoxification program, one can also restore balance to the emotional and mental state of an ADHD child using aromatherapy. Although conventional medicine would hardly ever recommend the use of essential oils to help treat a chronic disorder, there is some scientific support behind this idea.
Essential oils contain key chemicals that interact with the nervous system to stimulate healing. This works because essential oils have similar properties to human blood – both can stimulate the nervous system, both contain oxygen and nutrients, and both can help regenerate tissues. When essential oils are absorbed or inhaled, they get carried to two areas of the brain: the cerebral cortex, which is the processing center for higher functions like thoughts and emotions, and the hypothalamus, the command center for hormones. The essential oil droplets also get carried to the lungs, where they enter the blood stream. Due to their ability to meld with the body, essential oils play a significant role in balancing emotions and regulating hormonal secretions.
In 2001, an expert in holistic medicine named Terry Friedman did a study on the use of essential oils to treat ADHD in children. Over the course of two years, Dr. Friedman examined a small group of ADHD-diagnosed children between the ages of 6 to 14, and divided them into three groups. Each group received one kind of essential oil – vetiver, cedarwood, or lavender. By comparing EEG and a TOVA test scores from the start of the study until the end, he was able to objectively measure that the essential oil vetiver helped regulate brain wave activity and reduce the symptoms of ADHD in children. So far this is the only study that has really examined the effects of essential oils on children. While more research needs to be done, there’s no harm in using essential oils as a supplement to other treatment methods for ADHD. They’re inexpensive and easy to find, and they have no harmful side effects (unless your child is allergic to a particular oil).
Besides vetiver, other essential oils you can use to help your ADHD child are:
Lavender – One of the most popular essential oils, lavender is favored by most for its sedative and relaxing effects.
Cedarwood – This essential oil has a high concentration of sesquiterpenes, a chemical constituent that increases the oxygen flow to the brain.
Frankincense – Widely used for its ability to sooth depression and anxiety, frankincense is also used in many cases of brain injury and emotional trauma.
It is important to note that essential oils are not the same as the aromatherapy oils that are found in many stores. Most aromatherapy products either are poorly pressed or have been contaminated by solvents that destroy the medicinal value of the herbs. Chances are, the aromatherapy oils you buy for your house are diluted imitations. One way to ensure that your essential oil is 100% pure oil is to buy oils that are labeled “AFNOR,” indicating that the oils have been approved by a third party that tests and certifies the quality of some manufacturers’ essential oils. Pure essential oils also display nutrition information like any other food supplement, because they are safe to take internally.