Guest Post: Like Ritalin in Herbal Form

By Joseph Parish


Many of my friends and acquaintances are aware that I am a firm believer in using natural products over chemical and pharmaceutical substitutes. Recently, I was visiting a friend and as usual our topic of conversation centered upon preparedness and possible apocalypse events occurring during our lifetime. As we watched his two children playing joyfully in his backyard he shifted his concern to what could substitute for his children’s current prescription drug Ritalin if and when the commercial product were to no longer be accessible.


As most people are aware ADHD is major behavioral disorder which is distinguish by an inability to concentrate, heavy anxiety sessions, sporadic memory loss, an array of mood swings, feelings of hyperactivity and restlessness followed by fatigue. The two popularly prescribed medications are Ritalin and its cousin Dexedrine used exclusively for those patients suffering from ADHD. In today’s society our nation’s children are using these prescribed medications in record numbers.


According to medical specialists the basis for ADHD are toxins often associated with chemical exposures which lead to a reduced supply of oxygen traveling to the brain. This condition is frequently manifested by the symptoms previously referenced. These chemical exposures can originate from a vast array of conditions from home construction or renovation, to standard housekeeping product. It has been noted that additional causes have been attributed to the chemical make-up of newly purchased carpeting or paneling, pest control procedures or in some cases the use of petroleum products used in the composition of such everyday items as permanent markers (hexane). We also can not over-look the chemical additives and preservatives which are frequently used in our processed foods such as MSG or Nutra-Sweet. All these conditions contribute to the death of brain cells and the reduction of oxygen circulation which ultimately impairs learning and contributes to behavioral disturbances. With the introduction of Ritalin and Dexedrine behavior is kept in check by stimulating the brain stems and allowing the child to stay focused and in better control of their behavior patterns.


There are several down-falls with the use of these drugs. The first is that they offer the user an effect which is similar to the experience felt in the use of amphetamines. In addition, food allergies can flare up from their use such as sensitivities to gluten, dairy products and even chocolate candy.


At this point in our discussion it would do us well to be able to have some guidelines in recognizing these chemical exposures. Start by looking for dark circles under the child’s eyes along with possible red tops on their ears. Now if you notice these symptoms don’t rush out to your local pharmacy for a toxic prescription but rather start utilizing natural herbs, practice healthy nutrition principles and feature an abundance of wholesome foods in your child’s diet. This is essentially the simplest remedy you can find to correct any imbalance within your child’s body. Above all you must avoid further contamination with the offending chemical exposures. Move your child to a safer environment, eliminate any alleged allergens from their diet and begin monitoring the changes in their behavior.


Let’s first talk about weaning your child off Ritalin if they are on currently taking the product. This process could take two to three weeks while the herbal substitutes are being administered. The program would consist of specific dietary modifications, adequate exercise complimented with natural herbal inclusions. Eliminate sugar from the child’s diet; these could include fruit juices and foods heavy with preservatives. Place your interests on establishing an effective whole food diet. Add a Magnesium supplement to the child’s daily vitamin input. The following herbal combinations have shown positive benefits towards reducing the need for Ritalin.


  • Catnip
  • Chamomile
  • Chinese Zizyphus
  • Chamomile
  • Gotu kola flavored with cinnamon, anise, and a touch of cloves
  • Hawthorn berry
  • Lemon balm (tone and balance the nervous system)


Prepare the kola as a glycerol extract made in the ratio of 1:5 and administered at the rate of 20 drops 2 to 3 times daily. Remember, exercise is an important element for combating ADHD so ensure your child has plenty of it in his daily routine.


The German’s who are extremely versed on natural products often provide their over zealous children with a cup of Chamomile tea containing a small dose of valerian root. Valerian root is an over the counter product found in health food stores or your local Wal-Mart.


I would like to leave you with an interesting note that an educator friend passed on to me. Many children who are not diagnosed with ADD or ADHD have been known to do much better at school when they were placed on Ritalin. These children were easier to teach lessons too and presented a more pleasant atmosphere for the teachers. Now please, I am not telling you to rush out and obtain a prescription drug for your child but making a point that the above regiment of natural products will not harm those children which are not ADAH positive in the least.


A bit of internet research is certain to reveal addition herbal remedies which would prove useful as an emergency substitute in place of Ritalin. Herbs are by no means an instant solution to the behavior problem but can readily aid in resolving many issues when used in a healthy diet. Never act merely upon the recommendations of others when it comes to the welfare of your family’s health – always consult a physician prior to using this method.

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  1. Thanks for the great info! My daughter was diagnosed with ADHS over 5 years ago and we have fought to find a medication that works (dosages have to change as they have growth spurts). This year because of the side effects my daughter asked if she could stop taking her medication. We said we could give it a shot and see how her grades do. Luckily her doctor agreed with her and told her that is his hope for all his patients, but that he doesn’t see that happen very often. She is doing very well, but has occasional problems. I will pick up some of the herbal remedies so she can try them and see if any of them help her.

  2. Two problems:
    1) There may or may not be something called ADHD. It could be a psychotic dream of psychiatrists/teachers or it could simply be boys (most are boys) being active and not wanting to be sitting in a chair listening to a teacher when the great outdoors is calling. Have you ever noticed that young boys with a supposed attention deficit disorder can sit and play video games for hours? What they have, which most boys have had since man descended from trees is they need to be active and doing what nature designed them to do. Then of course there are the myriad of variables in humans; we all know people with subtle to gross personality disorders and you aren’t going to fix them with a pill.

    2)How much of this herb that you believe will help, do you give them? Two leaves, a stalk, two entire plants??? And is this herb as effective in the spring as it is in the summer or fall? Is it effective at all or is it pure superstition. You are aware that the very same “experts” who tell you which herbs will cure which diseases also believe tiger penius will make you virial. Clearly plants have properties anyone eating chilis can attest to that. Not so clear what properties and what useful properties plants have. I can tell you this; If I get really sick I ain’t gonna be eating no catnip to cure me. And according to the news when your kid dies from lack of professional medical help you go to jail and giving your kids chamomile instead of seeking medical help is child abuse.

  3. GoneWithTheWind, please reread the last paragraph. I do not not claim to be a medical professional and I always advise everyone of my readers to check with their family doctor prior to starting any natural medications. Usually the herbal remedies will not harm you but you should always be sure by checking with those experts that you trust and whose opinion you value.

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