Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, displays signs of inattention and distractibility in at least two different environments. ADHD is not simply an inability to pay attention in school. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders describes ADHD as inattention and hyperactivity combined with executive dysfunction. The executive functioning system in the brain is what allows for many higher-level functions, including strategy formation, working memory and processing speed. Given the significant impact of ADHD on a child's life, scientists are always looking for natural ways, such as tea, to help. Before adding any herbal supplement to a diet, parents should consult their child's pediatrician.
Chamomile tea has a long history of being used for healing properties. Some of the finest flowers from where the tea originates are found in the Nile River Valley in Egypt. The flower that produces chamomile is part of the daisy family and contains a compound called bisabolol, which has general anti-inflammatory and anti-irritant properties. Historical medicinal uses of chamomile tea include treatment for insomnia, stomachaches and anxiety. Though it does not contain caffeine or other stimulants like other conventional ADHD therapies, scientists have investigate the uses of the tea in individuals with the disorder.
Chamomile Oil and Mood
One important aspect of ADHD lies in associated mood problems, including irritability and negative mood states. In a classic study conducted in 1992, scientists in the United Kingdom tested the impact of chamomile oil versus a placebo on mood. In their imaginative study, which was published in the "British Journal of Medical Psychology," they asked subjects to rate their responses to various positive and negative phrases and images after exposure to the oils. The results showed that the group exposed to chamomile oil had better mood state and more positive associations, suggesting that the oil may impact mood.
Chamomile and Anxiety
Anxiety is often associated with ADHD because as children struggle with inattention, they become worried about school and social relationships. A study conducted in 2009 looked at the use of chamomile in treating anxiety. Researchers in Philadelphia treated groups of patients with mild to moderate anxiety with either chamomile extract or placebo. Their results, which were published in the "Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology," revealed that the chamomile group had moderate improvements in anxiety levels. As a treatment for underlying anxiety, the tea may be helpful for children with ADHD.
Chamomile and Kids
At the time of this publication in July 2011, there are no conclusive studies relating the use of chamomile in the treatment of childhood ADHD. What research does suggest, however, is that chamomile may have soothing properties and improve mood. Since ADHD often has correlated anxiety and negative mood states, the tea may be helpful in these areas. Before adding any herbal supplement to a diet, parents should consult their child's pediatrician.
- "The Diangostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, 4th Edition;" The American Psychiatric Association; 1994
- "British Journal of Medical Psychology"; The Effect of Olfactory Stimulation on Fluency, Vividness of Imagery and Associated Mood: A Preliminary Study; A. Roberts J.M. Willimas; 1992
- "Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology"; A Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Trial of Oral Matricaria Recutita (Chamomile) Extract Therapy for Generalized Anxiety Disorder; J.D. Amsterdam, et al.; 2009