Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) manifests in childhood with symptoms of hyperactivity, impulsivity, and/or inattention. In addition, there are other secondary symptoms associated with ADHD such as insomnia, learning disabilities, and delayed language development. The symptoms affect cognitive, academic, behavioural, emotional and social functioning. ADHD is found to be more common in boys than girls. It often continues into adolescence and adulthood. If left untreated, it leaves millions of children and adults incapacitated causing a lifetime of frustrated dreams and emotional pain.

The most commonly prescribed modern medications are central nervous system stimulants combined with counselling and cognitive behavioural interventions. The role of dopamine and nor-epinephrine regulation in patients with ADHD is considered the most important in treatment. The symptoms associated with ADHD cease only for the time these medications are active within the body. When the medication wears off, the symptoms return. A patient taking these medications needs to continue taking them throughout his/her life. There are many potential side effects of stimulants, including: decreased appetite, poor growth, dizziness, insomnia/ nightmares, mood liability and psychosis. From a holistic point of view, chemical over stimulation of the nervous system isn’t healthy. Fortunately, Ayurveda provides safe and natural treatment for ADHD.

ADHD –  An Ayurvedic Perspective :

ADHD is a Vata-Pitta predominant disorder. In Ayurveda, there are references in the Charaka Samhita that cite symptoms associated with inattention, hyperactivity and compulsive behaviour as the symptoms of Vata imbalance in the body. The Charaka Samhita states, “If Vyana-vayu is occluded by Prana-vayu, then there will be loss of all thesenses, and there will loss of memory as well as strength.” Pitta symptoms include: anger, aggressiveness, self-ruining behaviour, increased body temperature, discolouration of eye/ skin and upashaya (relief) with coolant activities.

Attention Deficit Disorder in children may result from over-stimulation of senses from the environmental pollutants of the modern world. They are exposed to myriad toxins through air, water and food now-a-days. It may also result from Beej Dushti during conception or Garbhaja Kaaranas (causes in the prenatal period). Vata dosha is a combination of aakash and vaayu mahabhoot, because of which, it is the most unstable dosha and also causes imbalance in other doshas, Kapha and Pitta. In the case of hyperactivity and attention deficit disorder, there is vitiation of vayu and akash mahabhoot guna and suppression of pruthvi mahabhoot qualities. Hence, from the perspective of Ayurveda, ADHD is a condition of increased expansive and creative energies and decreased stability. To treat the symptoms of ADHD, Ayurveda seeks to counterbalance the unstable elemental forces of akaash and vayu by increasing the stability factor of pruthvi mahabhoot.

Treating ADHD :

herbs-23To treat ADHD, Ayurveda utilizes a large spectrum of herbal remedies to address neurological disorders and establish balance of dosha and dhatus. The treatments include cleansing of Aam , that has built up in the body and even the mind; building healthy levels of Ojas (Vital energy) is the key to maintain a healthy mind, nervous system and body.

Ayurvedic rejuvenation therapies that will treat Vata both in the mind and nervous system are given, to cleanse aam and rebuild ojas. Panchakarma procedures like Abhyanga, Nasya, Shirodhara, oil pichu dharan, Shirobasti, etc. are given depending upon the prakriti and dosha avastha of the child.

Treatment includes Vata-Pitta pacifying herbs and Medhya Rasayanas (nootropic herbs – substances which improve cognitive function), such as Brahmi, Mandukaparni, Yashtimadhu, Vacha, Jatamansi, Ashwagandha, Guduchi, etc. to control inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity, and distractibility. They generally build tissues and ojas, which will nourish and pacify Vata and Pitta.

Ayurveda recommends ingestion of Ghee to stimulate the dhi (the power of acquisition or learning), dhriti (the power of retention), and smriti (the ability to recall). Ghee is used as a medicine by itself or as a medium for absorption and assimilation of other medicines such as in Brahmi Ghrita, Ashwagandha Ghrita, etc. Taking Medhya herbs along with ghee enhances their action and helps them act directly on the mind. There is also reference of ‘Daivavyapashraya Chikitsa’ in Ayurveda.

Also ‘Suvarnaprashan Sanskar’ mentioned in Ayurveda may help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with ADHD.

Role of Nutrition :

Food plays major role in nourishing the body, mind and soul –

Significance of Sleep :

Ayurveda considers sleep to be a basic building block for healthy mind and body. Sleep deprivation leads to diminished mental performance. A good night’s sleep is vital to your child’s mood and brain function.

Yoga and meditation :

Physical activities help children burn off their excess energies in a positive

Concentration Building Techniques :

Children with ADHD have an impairment of functions such as concentration, memory, impulse control, processing speed and an inability to follow directions.

Creating a Routine :

A child with ADHD needs regularity and consistency to counter his/her natural tendency towards chaos; regularity of sleep patterns, eating patterns, and avoiding anything that disrupts or over stimulates the senses is recommended. Steady routines stabilize Vata and negates the ill effects that irregularity causes.

Technology time-outs :

Children with ADHD also must limit activities like TV, internet and video games.

Family-bonding :


Note :

Medicines and other treatments mentioned above should be taken only after consulting an Ayurvedic physician.