ADD - Natural Remedies - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 1 Old 01-08-2002, 08:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Author Topic: Natural remedies to alleviate ADD symptoms - I'm trying them.
Member posted 08-07-2001 09:31 AM
Hello. I'm new here and I have two boys, ages 12 and 8. Both have degrees of ADD, without "hyperactivity." They have both been on Ritalin, but I always had a lot of misgivings about giving this to them. All the literature is so confusing!! Some doctors swear it is harmless, others claim it is not. Of course this is confusing to people like me, who only want their kids to have some degree of success in school and be able to focus on something long enough to complete it (or at least part of it -LOL!) I went to a natural food store and spoke to a "Nutrition Consultant" there and she recommended Efalex (a combination of fish oil, evening primrose oil and thyme oil), something called Pedi-Active (which is DMAE - not sure exactly what this stuff is) and a multi-vitamin made by Nature's Plus. It's been almost a week and I have noticed my 8 year old seems less "draggy" and a little bit more focused. I think it takes the fish oil about a month to start working. (My 12 year old's symptoms are not so bad that they need to be treated anymore). Has anyone tried anything like this with any success? I've done the Feingold diet and it didn't help. Homeschooling is out of the question because I work full time. I have my 8 year old in a small private school and my 12 year old goes to public school. Any advice or "been there, done that" comments would be appreciated. Thanks!

Member posted 08-07-2001 10:13 AM
Have you looked into the GF/CF diet? or a diet low in Phenols. A lot of kids do better on a gluten and caesin free diet.

Member posted 08-07-2001 10:29 AM
My aunt is looking into this to help her grandson.

Member posted 08-07-2001 10:47 AM
My oldest has ADD, also without the hyperactivity component. I've read lots of the research, and diet seems to make little difference. Oil of Evening Primrose and something called (please excuse my spelling or misspelling) pycagenol (they carry it at Trader Joes and most health food stores) does seem to show some promise. My son is also in weekly therapy and I'm trying martial arts, as they are supposed to really aid in the focus issue. I'd love to talk to you about real life with Ritalin. I have so far resisted medicating my son, but I worry about doing him more harm than good by refusing to consider meds. I've read lots of stuff about social issues that start to get more intense the older they get, and my son has no impulse control, which is the huge issue, and has led to him doing some unacceptable things to my younger sons--all in the name of "gee, Mom, I guess I just lost control." As you can tell, I am really conflicted and would love to chat more.

Member posted 08-07-2001 11:12 AM
Feel free to e-mail me at [email protected] anytime! As far as social issues go, I have made it my job to be my sons' social mediator. Neither one of them ever seemed to have trouble making friends, and I feel that if other kids have problems with their behaviors, they can just chalk that up to fickle friends and the nature of childhood. I always tell my sons that real friends stand by you. I am extremely protective of what my sons do and who they do it with, for fear of them becoming involved with a "bad" crowd.

Member posted 08-07-2001 01:34 PM
Regarding Ritalin and similar meds, it's instructive to look at the bar chart maintained by the Autism Research Institute ( ). It shows the ratio of positive to negative responses to all known treatments for that condition, based on thousands of parents' reports over a period of years. The ratio of negative reports for the drugs is much higher than for more natural treatments.
Use of oils is one alternative worthy of trying, but when you go on the basis of someone on the Internet -- or at the health food store -- you aren't getting something based on what your kid needs. In other words, it's a shot in the dark. Many people plunge ahead into the gf/cf diet as well as other remedies without first getting tests that can indicate whether they're likely to work. And that's ok, since there's little danger of doing harm this way, and tests can be expensive or even difficult to have run. However, if you really want to know what kinds of oils are most likely to help your children, contact Patricia Kane at [email protected]

She analyzed my son's blood tests and found that he was having trouble metabolizing long-chain fatty acids. Many dietary changes were then identified.

Member posted 08-07-2001 01:54 PM
i know nothing about this, but just thought i'd chime in anyway 'cause i came across mention of add and efa on dr sears' site the other day. check it out if you haven't already at and do a search.
best of luck!

Member posted 08-08-2001 07:56 AM

As a nine year old in 1972 I was "diagnosed" with "minimal brain dysfunction" or "hyperactivity" which is now AD/HD. I was put on 10mg of Ritalin 2 times per day. I had no evaluation, just a teacher reccomendation that I "daydreamed". I "wiggled" in my chair.

I never was hyperactive. I am dyslexic and do meet the DSM-IV qualifications for Aspergers Syndrom (high form of Autism).

Had they had done any sort of testing - it would of been discovered about my tactile defensive, my oversensitivety to lights and sounds. The fact that I reversed letters and numbers.

Anyway, I hated Ritalin! The only thing it did for me was to make me not care that I "wiggled" in my chair. The wiggling for me was a way to fight the shut down process I was going thru. I could feel my senses being totally overloaded and I tried to fight it. So, I wiggled.

I could/can see flourescent lights flicker, the noise in a classroom is horresdess, the activity is way too much. I knew I was wasn't susposed to daydream or wiggle which was a way of me fighting the overstimulation my body was receiving.

Did ritilin work. It only made me not care if I shut down or not. So, I guess to others it did work. I didn't fight the process.

Member posted 08-08-2001 09:18 AM

Originally posted by Stacie:
The wiggling for me was a way to fight the shut down process I was going thru. I could feel my senses being totally overloaded and I tried to fight it. So, I wiggled.
I could/can see flourescent lights flicker, the noise in a classroom is horresdess, the activity is way too much. I knew I was wasn't susposed to daydream or wiggle which was a way of me fighting the overstimulation my body was receiving.


Thank you very much, Stacie, for sharing that experience. I've heard so much about kids who were overloaded with sensory input, but since it usually comes from someone like a therapist it sounds like unsubstantiated theory. It means so much more to hear it from you. I've saved your description for future reference.

Member posted 08-08-2001 10:55 AM
Wow, Stacie, that must have been so hard on you. I don't want my children to dislike school. I know that they become overstimulated very easily, and that's one of the reasons I have my youngest (the one I originally posted about) in a small, private school. There are only about 15 kids in the class. I remember when I was in middle school the professionals decided to try "open space" classrooms. What a joke! Talk about overstimulation. It may seem like the opposite of what ADD kids need, but I feel that the small, traditional classroom is best for kids like this. My son did horribly in public school 1st grade. Stacie, yours is a perfect example of the over-prescribing of Ritalin.

Member posted 08-08-2001 12:01 PM
Hello, me again. I'm going to give you a few suggestions that have helped me since I have been diagnosed with several things that are very closely related to AD/HD.
I am now almost totally GF/CF. This has been absolutely remarkable to my system. I no longer have stomach pains (common with folks along the spectrum). I no longer have diahrea (also common).

I also do not eat foods that contain MSG, red dyes. Soda's are ok - make sure they aren't carmel colored. Sprite works. Also foods that are high in fenols are good to avoid ie: apples, bananas, peanut butter.

Another good thing is going onto a multi-vitamin. One that is high in B6 and zinc. Vitamin C is also helpful. I reccomend Kirkmans vitamins. They contain no caesin or gluten. go to

Vitamin A (cod-liver oil) has really helped with night blindness, lights that look like starbursts. Also very common with people along the spectrum. (Yes, add is classified along the same spectrum.) I also get mine from kirkmans - they have tested to make sure there is NO mercury!

Another thing advisable to do - if the child has amalgam fillings (silver fillings) is to replace them with the composite ones. Do not allow any more mercury into the body.

You also might want to consider getting a hair analysis done thru Doctors Data. Http:// Your child may be toxic with heavy metals. I know quite a few people who are chelating their AD/HD kids with Alpha Liopioc Acid only and getting great response. Better Concentration. Alpha lipoic Acid is an over the counter Anti-occident whcih pulls mercury from the brain. It is now known that Autism/mercury toxicity is identical and since ADD is along the same spectrum....

I hope this helps. Stacie

Member posted 08-08-2001 12:02 PM
I am having a really hard time with this issue. Not only is my son on ritalin, I don't know him off of it because we adopted him at age 4.5 and after a period of post traumatic stress disorder, he began opening the car door while I was driving. The councilor thought it best to put him on Clonidine (a high blood pressure med which really put him to sleep for the most part). She said it would be temporary until they could help teach him some impulse control. This was a joke because she quickly quit being his councilor and we got orders for Germany. There has been so much uproar in our lives in such a few years. Within 4 years, he moved in with us, his brother moved in, we did in-vitro and concieved, his brother moved out, daddy moved to Germany with the Army, we moved in with my mom, dad came home, I gave birth, dad left, 2 months after, we moved to Germany too! And the last (almost) 2 years have been relatively uneventful!
While we were with my parents, the military drs put him on Ritalin and so now it is terrible trying to get him off. Since we have known him, he has been on meds. When he fights them, I feel like I'll lose control because he's not the same relaxed kid. I love him to death and we only want the best for him. I'm real sensitive about this because we want SO BAD to get him off drugs. We don't want him doped up. But without knowing him off the drugs when he was little, it is so hard! Tell me how to have the patience??? Tell me how to convince the school to have the patience?? His school now has treated other parents who wanted their kids off meds like they are child abusers saying,"would you refuse insulin to a diabetic???"

Thanks for letting me vent. It is really the hardest thing in the world to not know your child off meds....

Member posted 08-08-2001 12:47 PM
My little cousin is 6 yrs-old... he was diagnosed with PTSD along with the other issues... they are using EMDR therapy with good results. No meds yet... they are also checking into the supplements from the site I mentioned already.

Member posted 08-08-2001 10:05 PM
I'm reading this thread with great interest! my son has some adhd attributes, and since he is only three, I worry about the future 'school factor'!
We have only recently (this week!) linked some of his impulsivity and hyperactivity to food! We are only in the first week of an elimination diet, but so far it seems to be sugar (duh), wheat and maybe soy.
I have to say, these four days have been the best on record!!! No 'incidents' of violent or random nature. Younger brother is walking around with a look that says 'is this for real? you're being so nice!'

Member posted 08-10-2001 06:07 AM
Hi all. I had written this for another board. thought you may like to read.
Improper use of Ritalin for an AS child -- A personal story
By Stacie:
My experience on Ritalin.

I was put on Ritalin in 3rd grade in 1972 because my teacher said I "day dreamed" and wiggled in my chair. They called me "hyperactive" at that time. I spent 7 years on it untill in High School, I said I wasn't taking it anymore and quit. Here are some of my reflections...

I grew up a military brat. My father was stationed in VA. Beach at the time. I remember my "day dreaming" as they so called it. Had they done more research into my overall health they would have discovered I had/have tactile defensiveness since infancy. I could hold mashed potatos in my mouth for a very long time. Everytime I swallowed, they choked me. Fruit pulp gags me. I hated having hair cuts and it always took several people to hold me down in order to cut my hair or toe nails. Had they looked any further, they would discovered I could hear the lights. It sounded like little machine guns. Had they looked even deeper they would have discovered, that I could see the lights flicker. Had they asked about my gastro-intestinal system. They would have discovered that I never had a "normal" bowell movement. It was all diarhea. Had they asked about my play habits - they would have discovered that I only set up games to play but never really understood how to play them. I loved to play with plastic animals and always set them up in a nice little scene. Or the same thing with the Fischer Price people. I never played with these things only set them up. I absolutely loved to bounce on a pogo stick. I would do that for hours or swing in a swing...

Does any of this sound familiar?

Had they had tested me in any sort of way, they would have discovered that I am moderately dyslexic also along with Asperger's. What a combo!

No, they didn't do any of the above. I remember talking to my mother a few times when I was older. I told her that probably to other people the Ritalin appeared to work. I didn't wiggle in my chair anymore. I still daydreamed. It was a shutdown process for me. I was overwhelmed in a classroom. I never did that at home. But at school, all the Ritalin did was kept me from wiggling in the chair. I wiggled to fight the shutdown! I knew I wasn't suposed to shutdown and I fought it. After the Ritalin, I just didn't care if I shut down or not.

Did it work? Was it effective? Not to me. I just didn't care.

[My thanks to Stacie for allowing me to use this experience on my site.]

Member posted 08-10-2001 08:21 AM
I highly recommend "The Out-of-Sync Child" by Carol Stock Kranowitz

Member posted 08-10-2001 08:46 AM
Did any of your children experience speech problems?My almost 4 year old does not speak well at all and no one can diagnose her correctly.Her hearing was checked and it was fine.They put her in a special ed preschool class which i am really disappointed in.My insurance doesn't cover speech therapy so i'm at a loss.My daughter is frequently upset and overwraught by everything.She is very frustrated and hardly ever seems happy.She throws fit after fit and i just don't know what to do.I'm just wondering if any of the remedies you guys are trying might help.

Member posted 08-10-2001 09:03 AM
Dr. Megson tells congress how the DPT vaccine and it effects with autism and ADHD....

I live in a small middle class neighborhood with twenty-three houses. I recently counted thirty children who live in this community who are on medication for ADHD. One week ago, my oldest son who is gifted but dyslexic had twelve neighborhood friends over for dinner. As I looked around the table, all of these children, but one had dilated pupils. After two and one half months of taking vitamin A and D in cod liver oil, my son announced, "I can read now. The letters don’t jump around on the page anymore." He is able to focus and his handwriting has improved dramatically. In his high school for college bound dyslexic students, 68 of 70 teenagers report seeing headlights with starbursts, a symptom of congenital stationary night blindness.

Member posted 08-10-2001 09:06 AM
rebamamma: I would suggest finding a "developmental pediatrician" in your area. Most general pediatricians can make referrels. My son has autism: he lost all speach, has severe temper tantrums, hearing was "within normal ranges"... this all sounds very familar to me.
you can email me privately with any specific concerns: [email protected]

Member posted 08-10-2001 09:35 AM
I haven't read any other responses, so I'm not sure if this has already been recommended, but have you looked into craniosacral work? I'm not sure where you would go for this, but my mom is taking her certification class for this right now, and she said ADD can benefit GREATLY from this...
I'll see if I can get more info for you and post later...


Member posted 08-10-2001 01:30 PM
Well we know she doesn't have autism but defintely on the spectrum somewhere.She gets regular chiro care.She is very social and talks a lot but not coherently.Very few people understand her.The tantrums are there and i just wish she could speak clearly.It must be something.I will try the cod liver oil though.Not very vegetarian

Member posted 08-10-2001 01:31 PM
C/S therapy is an excellent thing to try, and I should have mentioned it before. I talk about our experiences with it at and link to our provider's site, which is
You can read specifically about ADD there, and that site also tells you how to find a practitioner near you.

Finally, with all due respect to Emily's mom, for this treatment I would only go to an osteopathic physician who specializes in it.

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