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Essential Oils & ADHD

Essential oils are great support for so many ailments we battle each day – which you probably already know if you’ve been reading out blog! But did you know these amazing all-natural oils can also provide relief for symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, or ADHD?

If the term ADHD sounds familiar, it’s likely because approximately 11% of all U.S. children have been diagnosed with it at some point in their young lives. That’s 6.4 million kids – one out of every 11. About 60% of children with ADHD become adults who have ADHD, which is about 4% of the adult population [1]. Maybe your own child has ADHD, your spouse or significant other, maybe your neighbor or co-worker’s children. The point is, ADHD is a pretty prevalent brain-based syndrome. It can cause real every-day challenges for both children and adults. These challenges can include controlling impulses and hyperactivity, staying organized, maintaining concentration and motivation, the ability to learn, and being able to enjoy regular deep and restful sleep. Relationships with others may suffer as well, since some people with ADHD struggle with their social skills.

So, can essential oils help?

Many essential oil’s primary properties include helping to increase focus, stay alert, and calm down the mind and body. These oils can be an amazing compliment to treatments already in place for an individual with ADHD (such as behavioral management, family training, and/or prescribed medication). However, whether you are a parent, an educator, an adult with ADHD, or anyone else interested in using essential oils for ADHD, approach cautiously. Since there is a very limited amount of research done on this topic, you should always consult with a physician before making any kind of changes to a treatment plan.

The most frequently cited case study done on ADHD and essential oils comes from the late Dr. Terry S. Friedmann, M.D., A.B.H.M. For a two year period (1999-2001), Dr. Friedmann experimented with oils on a group of 40 children, half of whom had an ADHD diagnosis, and half of whom did not (the “control” group). Each day, the children were asked to inhale essential oils when they began to feel “scattered.” For each essential oil Dr. Friedmann was testing, the children used it for 30 days. Ultimately, the study concluded that certain essential oils really did make a significant impact on the symptoms of ADHD. In particular, Lavender, Cedarwood, and Vetiver oils were used and Vetiver made the most notable success in improving performance [2].

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Where should I start?

First, let’s take a moment to appreciate Plant Therapy’s unique blend of bright and uplifting essential oils that make up our A+ Attention Synergy. Perfect to help calm an overactive body while bringing focus and clarity, this synergy is a great place to start for anyone looking to support an individual with ADHD.  A+ Attention is part of our KidSafe line of products, which means that each essential oil used in this synergy is totally safe for young children.

To use, just add 5 to 10 drops to a personal aromatherapy inhaler. There’s really no beating the convenience and ease of using a personal aromatherapy inhaler – it’s perfect to take to work or to pack in a child’s backpack so they can use it whenever they feel like they need it (but please check with the school first! Your district may have a policy about bringing essential oils to school, so check with the child’s teacher or administration). Or, dilute A+ Attention with a carrier oil (2-4%) and apply topically to the chest, back of neck, and wrists.

Another great option to support individuals with ADHD is our Clarity Synergy. The essential oils used in this blend have therapeutic benefits that enhance focus and memory. For any task requiring sustained mental effort, Clarity may be just what you need. Use it in the same ways directed above, but keep in mind that this is not part of our KidSafe line.

If you’re looking to try single oils for ADHD support, here are a few suggestions to start you off.

Remember, no two people are exactly the same. What may work well for one person may not work the same for another. The oils listed here are those known to be either calming for the mind and body or can improve mental clarity and boost memory.

  • Chamomile Roman – Soothing, comforting, and famous for its calming properties, this is an especially great choice if you’re looking for an oil to help get deep, refreshing sleep.
  • Lavender – Surprised? Of course not! Lavender is such a powerhouse oil with an incredibly wide range of therapeutic properties! It pops up all over the place. If you have an ailment, there’s a good likelihood that Lavender is on the list to help you get through it. For ADHD support, Lavender is known to reduce feelings of nervousness, bring calm to the mind, and, like Chamomile Roman, help the user to get a peaceful night of sleep.
  • Vetiver – While also a fantastic choice for promoting sleep, this oil was notably found most effective during Dr. Friedmann’s study. Further, it can help calm the ‘mind chatter’ that prevents the mind from focusing, leading to an increase in concentration.
  • Cedarwood – This is a great choice for creating a positive atmosphere and warding off negative thinking. It has a woody, rich scent known to calm the mind and balance emotions.
  • Frankincense – The soothing properties of Frankincense may be exactly what’s needed to help calm an overactive mind and body. Plus, it is also a great support to the immune system!

Try out these recipes for your diffuser or personal aromatherapy inhaler to enjoy their awesome therapeutic benefits!

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Focus Blend 1

Focus Blend 2

ADHD and essential oils – what do you think? Have you ever tried oils to support yourself or someone else with ADHD? Let us know in the comments below!

References:

[1] Adult ADHD. Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Retrieved from https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/other-related-conditions/adult-adhd#

[2] Friedmann, T. S. Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). http://files.meetup.com/1481956/ADHD%20Research%20by%20Dr.%20Terry%20Friedmann.pdf