Herbs for ADHD

Herbs for ADHD 🌿

By Kelsey Conger

Clinical Herbalist


We could all use a little extra support to help us focus and stay on task. But for those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, it’s about more than difficulty concentrating. Amongst other symptoms, folks with ADHD tend to have high energy levels, struggle with focus, and tend towards impulsivity. Not long ago, children and adults with ADHD were treated as if this were a behavioral issue that they were choosing. Many people still believe this common misconception, but we know now that this is not the case!

Rates of ADHD have been dramatically increasing for the last couple of decades amongst all age groups, but especially children. Factors that affect those with ADHD include genetics, the microbiome, nutrition, lifestyle, and more. Because there are so many factors contributing to someone with ADHD, a purely pharmaceutical approach may not always be the most effective method. Today, we’re going to explore a variety of natural herbs and supplements that can be a wonderful addition to any customized protocol for someone with ADHD.


The Basics

The first and most important thing any of us can do to ensure optimal health and well-being is to live a balanced lifestyle. Eat a whole foods diet rich in a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes, nuts and seeds, wild caught fish, and pasture-raised animal products. Get in some form of movement everyday, whether that be walking, yoga, dancing, or strength training. Last, but not least, aim to get around 8 hours of sleep every night. If this is a struggle with you, consider stopping by the pharmacy to chat with us about supplementation with melatonin and read this article about medicinal herbs for sleep. 

Herbs that support mental clarity, focus, and attention span can be categorized into a couple of groups. Adaptogens are balancing herbs that help to regulate the entire body system and increase resilience to physical, emotional, and mental stressors, and can be further categorized into gently stimulating or calming adaptogens. Nervines are herbs that support and soothe the nervous system. Nootropics are herbs that increase cognitive function, including memory, focus, and attention span. As you will see, there is a fair bit of overlap as many herbs are members of all three groups.



As I mentioned, adaptogens are herbs that increase the body’s overall resistance to stress by encouraging the nervous system to be in a parasympathetic dominant state, also called the ‘rest and digest’ state (as opposed to ‘fight or flight’). One adaptogen that has been used to support those with ADHD is Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea). Clinical research indicated those with ADHD have deficient levels of dopamine and norepinephrine. Rhodiola has been used to increase levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Additionally, Rhodiola can help balance out any excess stress hormones such as cortisol that contribute to hyperactive behavior. Additional research indicates that it supports attention, memory, and mental fatigue. Rhodiola is considered a gently stimulating or energizing adaptogen. Sustainability is a concern with this slow growing succulent, so source from responsible suppliers like our Remedy line!

Other adaptogenic herbs that have been used to provide support for those with ADHD include Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum), Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus), Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba), Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), and Velvet Bean (Mucuna pruriens).



Nervines are herbs that help to support the nervous system. Similarly to adaptogens, there are stimulating and relaxing nervines, while others are simply overall tonics. A wonderfully supportive herb that feeds and calms the brain down is Avena sativa, also known as Oats! Before the seed head matures and becomes a fully formed seed that is then cut or rolled to make oatmeal, it goes through a stage where it’s filled with a milky liquid. These ‘milky Oat tops’ are tinctured or dried for teas and are helpful for soothing brain inflammation and nourishing the body with nutrients essential for the nervous system. 

While this isn’t a stimulating or relaxing nervine, it is known as a tonic that is highly regulating and beneficial when consumed long term. For those with ADHD, this could be considered an excellent brain food and is especially supportive for improving focus and concentration when combined with other nervines such as Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis), Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica), Linden (Tilia europaea), and Chamomile (Matricaria recutita).



Nootropics are a fairly new category of herbs that are utilized to improve mental function and capacity. They can increase energy, focus, concentration, memory, recall, and even more! Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) is a nootropic that can also be classified as a nervine and adaptogen, honestly, most of the herbs mentioned at this point can be classified as all three. Brahmi helps reduce inflammation as a strong antioxidant, has shown potential for regulating neurotransmitter activity, and increased blood flow to the brain. Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica) is another herb that fits all three categories and has similar antioxidant properties while also increasing mental function, memory, and cognition. Gotu Kola has these actions not through a stimulating effect, but rather through a mild relaxant effect that calms and settles.

Lion’s Mane mushroom is an irreplaceable adaptogen, nervine, and nootropic whose benefits are still being discovered. It contains essential brain nutrients like choline and has profoundly beneficial effects on the brain. It can stimulate NGF (nerve growth factor) and improve the health and regeneration of myelin sheaths. Lion’s Mane has been used to improve cognitive function for a variety of conditions ranging from ADHD to Alzheimer’s to traumatic brain injury.



A few supplements that have been used with success to help those with ADHD, as they tend to be more susceptible to nutrient deficiencies. Magnesium, Iron, and Zinc have all been utilized for various reasons that relate to the physiology underlying ADHD, but it is certainly worth trying or discussing with your doctor as they are safe nutritional supplements. A micronutrient test, which we offer here at Remedy, is a great way to get an idea of any deficiencies you or your child might be experiencing that are contributing to ADHD.

In addition to the minerals mentioned above, consider taking an essential fatty acid supplement of high-quality fish oil. Our recommendation is below and note that we do have vegan options! This is a foundational supplement that has benefits that go far beyond the scope of supporting those with ADHD, but in this case they help improve cellular function, tissue health, and inflammation and function within the brain. 


What’s on the Shelf


  • Vibrant Mind

    • This balancing blend combines herbs from every category mentioned, plus more we didn’t discuss. Among other things, this supplement helps increase blood supply to the brain, reduces inflammation, and provides precursors to certain neurotransmitters. A Remedy best-seller you will come back for again and again!

  • DopaPlus

    • This formula by Pure Encapsulations is a blend of nutrients and medicinal herbs that is a great option for anyone with ADHD. It contains a few of the herbs we discussed, including Rhodiola and Velvet Bean, as well as vital nutrients such as Zinc.

  • Lion’s Mane

    • This medicinal mushroom provides essential brain food such as choline, while being one of the few known substances that can stimulate Nerve Growth Factor (NGF). This is an excellent daily supplement for anyone with brain fog, memory and focus issues, previous concussions or head trauma, ADD and ADHD, is predisposed to dementia or Alzheimer’s, and those who are aging.

  • Multistrain Probiotic (+10 billion CFUs)

    • We have a variety of probiotics to choose from here at the pharmacy. These include probiotics for all ages, from infancy to adulthood. 

  • Nordic Naturals ProOmega

    • As you may already know, a high-quality fish oil supplement provides the brain with essential fatty acids that are vital to its function and health. Alternatively, we have a great vegan version of this supplement!

  • Magnesium

    • We have a variety of magnesium options here at the pharmacy, so stop by and chat with us to decide which form is best for you!

  • Zinc Balance

    • This supportive supplement contains both zinc and copper in the correct ratios to ensure balance with long-term supplementation.

  • Iron

    • Iron supplementation can be tricky, which is why we have a few options here at the pharmacy. My favorite is by Innate and contains a whole food, fermented form of iron that’s highly absorbable!


Parting Words

We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about herbal medicine and nutrition for brain health and ADHD. Working with herbs and supplements often requires a bit of trial and error to find the perfect fit, especially when it comes to mental health. Keeping an open mind and staying curious is essential to enjoying the process of improving your health and tackling unwanted issues. Homeostasis is always in motion, always changing, and never static. Accepting this reality and learning to enjoy the ride will make your life a whole lot easier and health outcomes even better!

If you really want extra support to address your concerns quickly and effectively, consider an herbalist consultation or other diagnostic tools to learn more about what specifically you might need. As I mentioned, we offer micronutrient testing here at Remedy, which can be extraordinarily helpful if there’s a nutrient deficiency, metabolic issue, or heavy metal toxicity at the root of the problem. Many patients with ADHD are experiencing underlying nutrient deficiencies such as magnesium, as discussed in the article listed below (6).



1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6582907/

2. https://chriskresser.com/nutrition-and-mental-health-whats-the-connection/

3. https://chriskresser.com/how-the-gut-microbiome-influences-everything-about-your-health/

4. https://chriskresser.com/your-gut-microbiome-and-anxiety-whats-the-connection/

5. https://www.ecoparent.ca/eco-wellness/holistic-approach-adhd-herbal-remedies-adhd