Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurobiological disorder. Note that the term ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) is no longer used. ADHD is now classified into three categories, one of which is formerly known as ADD, and is based on three core symptoms: inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. There are a number of chemical properties in certain essential oils, which may be effective in treating ADHD. These oils include basil, cedarwood, chamomile, frankincense, lavender, mandarin, melissa, neroli, rosemary, sandalwood, vetiver and ylang ylang. Below are some of the essential oils best suited for treating ADHD:
- Basil (ocimum basilicum); a cerebral stimulant, enhances concentration and aids with mental fatigue.
- Cedarwood (cedrus atlantica); a sedative, has a relaxant affect on the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems.
- Frankincense (boswellia carteri); also contains sedative properties, can be used for nervous tension and anxiety, and is often used during meditation.
- Lavender (lavandula angustifolia); one of the most popular oils and is known for it’s sedative, calming and soothing properties.
- Mandarin and Neroli (citrus reticulata/aurantium) essential oils; known for their anxiolytic properties, which relieve stress, anxiety and depression.
- Vetiver (vetiveria zizanoides); a sedative for the nervous system, is used for stress related ailments and is very relaxing.
A pure essential oil blend, which may be effective in working with ADHD, is our Mental Clarity inhaler. This product contains peppermint, rosemary, lemon and basil essential oils, in an essential oil inhaler, which is a convenient way to use essential oils, especially for children. This particular blend of essential oils are known to aid with concentration, memory and retention, and alertness. There are also a number of applications in which essential oils can be effective. If a pure essential oil blend is being used, a few drops can be added to the bath, to a carrier oil or to a natural, unscented lotion and then massaged onto your back, chest and feet. Essential oils can also be added to a diffuser, or a few drops put on your pillowcase, a cotton ball or tissue.
The same combination of essential oils will not be effective for everyone. Certain oils compliment each other and their synergy enhances the effect of the other oils. Each of us are unique, which is why a custom formula may be right for you. As well, take a close look at your child’s, or your own, diet, environment, stress levels, and happiness, which all have an affect on their/your behaviour. In the end, it may not be ADHD at all. Research related to nutrition shows that a diet high in essential fatty acids and vitamin C improves the symptoms of ADHD. Another study published in The Lancet medical journal, has shown that artificial food colouring and additives have been linked to ADHD like behaviour.
Essential oil therapy can be an effective complementary treatment for ADHD. Along with a proper diet and a healthy lifestyle, the symptoms of ADHD can be greatly reduced, and for some totally eliminated. Please visit our website (http://www.aromatichealth.ca) to view our Mental Clarity inhaler. Should you feel that you need a custom formula for you and your specific needs, feel free to contact us at email@example.com.
Michelle Reynolds, CAHP
1. CADDAC – Centre for ADHD/ADD Advocacy, Canada http://www.caddac.ca
2. Medical Aromatherapy, Healing with Essential Oils. Kurt Schnaubelt, M.D.
3. Autonomic responses during inhalation of natural fragrance of Cedrol in humans. Dayawansa S, Umeno K, Takakura H, Hori E, Tabuchi E, Nagashima Y, Oosu H, Yada Y, Suzuki T, Ono T, Nishijo H. Auton Neurosci. 2003 Oct 31;108(1-2):79-86.PMID: 14614968
4. Effects of aroma hand massage on pain, state anxiety and depression in hospice patients with terminal cancer Chang SY. Taehan Kanho Hakhoe Chi. 2008 Aug;38(4):493-502. Korean. PMID: 18753801
5. Stimulative and sedative effects of essential oils upon inhalation. Lim WC, Seo JM, Lee CI, Pyo HB, Lee BC. Arch Pharm Res. 2005 Jul;28(7):770-4.PMID: 16114490
6. Essential oils and anxiolytic aromatherapy. Setzer WN. Nat Prod Commun. 2009 Sep;4(9):1305-16. Review.PMID: 19831048
7. Observational study: Matricaria chamomilla may improve some symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Phytomedicine. 2009 Apr;16(4):284-6. Epub 2008 Dec 20. Niederhofer H.
8. Supplementation with flax oil and vitamin C improves the outcome of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2006 Jan;74(1):17-21. Epub 2005 Nov 28.
9. Essential fatty acids and the brain. Haag M. Can J Psychiatry. 2003 Apr;48(3):195-203. Review.PMID: 12728744
10. Food additives and hyperactive behaviour in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children in the community: a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial . The Lancet, Volume 370, Issue 9598, Pages 1560 – 1567, 3 November 2007