There appears to be a growing incidences of children suffering from attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in the United States.
Experts have be trying to isolate potential causes ranging from genetic factors, diet, environment toxins and social and cultural factors.
Others have speculated that ADHD might be a behavioral disorder that is common around the world and in all cultures.
To date, there is not definite answers, just speculations and suggestive evidences.
Prescription stimulant medications for treating ADHD/ADD have proven to be effective in about 70% of children. This fact is backed up by numerous clinical trials.
However, many families have opted to avoid using popular prescription stimulates such as Ritalin (methylphenidate) as a first-choice until they have given natural remedies a fair trial.
And this is a suitable approach to use when treating many types of chronic health condition.
Bacopa, is one such popular herbs that many families has asked about recently in its ability to help reduce hyperactivity.
Moreover, it has been suggested that it may help improve cognitive function and memory.
Let's look at research to verify if indeed taking bacopa for ADHD actually works...
Bacopa is used extensively in Indian medicine.
Many traditional health care practitioners have recommended it to their patients who suffer from mental challenges.
One group of researchers wanted to find out how bacopa affects brain activity and specifically what this natural remedy does to the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating and controlling brain activity.
They designed a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled study (the gold standard for any research study) and enrolled 60 elderly volunteers who were healthy.
The subjects either given either a look-alike placebo pill, or 300 mg or 600 mg dose of bacopa daily. Then they were followed up every four weeks for a total of twelve weeks.
Here's what they found out.
The volunteers showed improved working memory
Bacopa suppressed acetylcholine production (a neurotransmitter)
Thus, bacopa did have measurable effect on neurotransmitter activities
The researchers believed that bacopa could have the potential to benefit those who suffer from attention challenges. Do keep in mind that this study did not specifically measure the benefits in treating individuals suffering from ADHD.
Here's the reference to this research paper.
Another team of researcher wanted more a definitive answer as to whether taking bacopa for ADHD in children actually works.
They were less concerned about how bacopa work.
They wanted to know specifically if it worked to reduce ADHD symptoms. After all, this is the question that is on everyone's mind.
Throughout history, scientists have often found out if a supplement worked long before how it worked. Indeed, many prescription medications are in the same boat. And we continue to use effective treatments despite not knowing exactly how they work.
In this study conducted at the Center for Research in Mental Retardation in Mumbia India, they looked at 31 children between the age of six and twelve years old.
These children took a dose of bacopa of 225 mg per day for a six month period. They looked at the children prior to the study and then again at the end of the study.
Here are their enlightening results in point form:
Restlessness was cut down by 93%
Self-control improvements were seen in 89% of the children
78% of the children had reduced learning problems
67% of the children had reduced impulsivity
52% of the children had reduced psychiatric problems
85% of the children showed reduced attention-deficit symptoms
74% of the children reduced the ADHD symptoms by 20%
26% of the children reduced the ADHD symptoms between 21% and 50%
In total, there were significant reduction in ADHD symptoms by all measures
So, it is easy for this group of of researcher to conclude that it worked to reduce ADHD symptoms without significant unwanted side effects.
Although the number of children in the study is only 31, which is a really small sample, the results were dramatic. With these encouraging results, we can expect more research studies to eventually appear that further look into using bacopa for reducing ADHD symptoms. It's only a matter of time.
Here's the reference to this research paper.
Considering using bacopa for ADHD in yourself or you child?
It may be worth trying indeed.
The evidence currently suggests that bacopa has properties that might be helpful for reducing ADHD symptoms and improving brain function.
As with all remedies and prescription medications, results are expected to vary from one person to another. This will always be the case.
Sure, more studies will be needed to fully confirm this benefit. But this can be said for any treatment options.
However, because of the safety profile of bacopa, it would be something to try, especially if other remedies that you have tried have failed to work.
Just keep in mind that the, unless the improvements in symptoms are dramatic, its benefits might be very difficult to judge.
If you want to wait around for more studies to come out to further show its benefits before you try it, you might be waiting for a long time...