ADHD: Can Essential Oils Help?

What if there was a way to naturally treat a condition millions of children struggle with each day?  Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a very common condition that can have highly negative effects on a child’s life.  ADHD is a brain disorder that comes with a number of behavioral side effects.  These include, but are not limited to:

  • Difficulty focusing on tasks, particularly in school.
  • Excessive fidgeting, movement and speaking even when not appropriate.
  • Impulsive actions and decreased ability to assess risk or consequences.

11% of American children have been diagnosed with ADHD, with diagnosis rates increasing every year.  Sales of ADHD medications are now in the billions of dollars, and one study estimated the cost of illness to be about $15,000 per year.  This adds up to $270,000 over the course of an 18 year old’s life.  Outside of the financial costs, ADHD can have a negative impact on a child’s life as it can cause struggles in school or at home.

It is very common for children with ADHD to be prescribed amphetamine stimulants such as Adderall, Ritalin and Vyvanse.  While these medications can help with ADHD, they also come with a number of side effects.  In the short term, these can include issues with sleep, irritability and loss of appetite.  The FDA has also advised there is a significant risk for drug abuse when a patient is taking amphetamine stimulant. The FDA is also concerned that amphetamine and methylphenidate stimulants can increase the risk of heart problems and further psychiatric issues.

But what if there were natural ways to treat ADHD?  This study by Dr. Terry S. Friedmann, MD, shows that the use of essential oils may be able to help children suffering with ADHD.  Specifically, the use of vetiver oil was shown to help with symptoms.  Friedmann stated, “When the essential oil is inhaled, the micro droplets are carried to the limbic system of the brain, which is that portion that is the processing center for reason, emotion and smell, and to the hypothalamus, which is the hormone command center. The essential micro droplets are also carried to the lungs where they enter the circulatory system.”

Dr. Friedmann also received positive feedback from the parents of the children in the study stating that their kids had shown behavioral improvement at home as well as improved performance in school.  Other oils for ADHD include cedarwood, lavender and peppermint.