Q: I have a 7yr old grandson that is very hyperactive. I am wondering if there is a SAFE herb to help him.
He has no allergies and eat just about anything you give him. Would like to try this instead of Ritalin. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
A1: ADD and ADHD are most often caused by food allergies, including the dyes and preservatives. For instance, when a child drinks Kool Aid, it is not the sugar that causes the hyperactivity, it is a reaction to the dyes. Sugar itself is a sedative. When consumed in the absence of protein, it causes a release of tryptophan in the brain. This in turn converts to serotonin causing relaxation.
This is not to say that sugar consumption is all right. Sugar is often bleached, it inhibits immune function, it causes stress on the pancreas, it decreases levels of intestinal flora, etc. Though sugar is still safer than the nerve toxin and carcinogen aspartame (Equal, Nutrasweet).
Allergies are created from adrenal exhaustion. Work on the adrenals with vitamin C, pantothenic acid, and adaptogenic herbs. I do not recommend adrenal glandulars.
Essential fatty acids have been found to be helpful. Flax seed or fish oils are good choices. Liquid lecithin is also excellent since it is needed for nerve formation. Soft gels are the easiest method to take lecithin. I do not recommend the granules since they do not contain much lecithin. The granules are produced by mixing liquid lecithin in soy meal.
To strengthen the nervous system, I would recommend sage, rosemary, and juniper berries. Use small doses of the juniper berry since they drop the blood sugar (contains an insulin-like compound), and the essential oils can irritate the kidneys.
The amino acid L-glutamine can also help. It is the only thing other than glucose that the brain can use for fuel. Amino acids must be taken at least 20 minutes before meals so that absorption will not be interfered with.
I would also recommend a good herb based vitamin supplement. Natural vitamins work better than synthetic ones. The supplement should contain kelp which is a good source of B vitamins and trace minerals, pulls heavy metals from the body, and supports adrenal function.
If you suspect food allergies then you should ask your doctor to a referral to an allergist. This sort of problem can be lethal and should handled by an expert in allergy and immunology. However, unless the child shows evidence of other allergies (such as grass or pollen alleregies) the chances of food allergy are almost nonexistant. I wouldn’t worry about the aspartame stuff – the people making claims about the ‘dangers’ are so full of it the claims are considered to be nothing more than urban legends. If you want a laugh show the claims the anti aspirtame people make to a real biochemist.
Q: I would also like to know of herbs that help ADHD. My son has it and is on medication that helps, but I think some allergies may also be involved because most of my family, including myself, have problems with allergies and asthma. I have often wondered if he could be helped by an herbal addition to his diet.
I’m also interested in the aspartame question, too. Are there really other people out there besides me who react to it? I thought I must be crazy because somebody said that it is safe, yet I cannot use it because it gives me blinding headaches and insomnia, not to mention the muscle aches and irritability. It’s such a relief to hear that maybe I’m not the only one. It reminds me of when my son was very small and I told the doctor that he couldn’t eat chocolate or drink colas because it made him practically bounce off the walls and swing on the ceiling. All the research showed that foods did not cause ADHD to be worse, but there was my son, showing the opposite. Now, of course, scientists have “discovered” what mothers always knew about foods and ADHD. Maybe the research on aspartame is as the same stage now as the research on the effects of chocolate and colas were a few years ago. Where can I find more info on other people’s reactions to aspartame? I just can’t buy that a lot of impersonal scientists are so all-knowing about how aspartame reacts in my body and I am the crazy one. It’s my body and I know how it reacts to aspartame — it’s almost torture!
A: Yes, allergies can be lethal in severe cases. But the allergies we are talking about are minor food allergies, not a stong anaphalactic reaction. If it were these children would be dying from anaphalaxis, and not suffering from ADD.
Allergies are a problem of adrenal dysfunction. When not working properly the adrenals do not form sufficient cortisol, corticosterone and epinephrine to counter allergic responses. The most common method of treating allergies is to give the patient steroidal medications. This makes the symptoms dissapear, but makes the condition worse by atrophying (shrinking) the adrenal glands. Allergies are better treated by building up the adrenal glands rather than tearing them down.
As far as aspartame goes, this is not an urban legend. Methyl alcohol is a very toxic and cumulative poison. Yes it is found in sources such as fruit, but in conjunction with ethyl alcohol an antidote for methyl alcohol poisoning. Methyl alcohol is also metabolized in to formaldehyde, a well known and powerful carcinogen, and formic acid which can damage organs.
Aspartame is often combined with dextrose and maltodextrin and sold in packets, like Equal. Both of these are sugars, and are not recommended for diabetics. It is no wonder the FDA has more adverse reactions reported to it from aspartame use than any other food product marketed.