Ordinarily, Attention Deficit Hypersensitivity Disorder (ADHD) is believed to be children’s psychological disorder; however, symptoms of ADHD continue to affect the patient from his/her adolescent years to his/her adulthood too. Marked by severe impulsivity, hyperactivity and inattention, ADHD is believed genetic in nature though smoking and exposure to other toxins tend to aggravate its symptoms. ADHD’s repercussions on physical body may be rare but it may have severe impact on social and psychological aspects of life as it may be the root cause of low self esteem and strife ridden family life.
Conventional Allopathic treatment offers no cure for this disorder; however, their first line of management is to provide stimulants to mitigate symptoms of ADHD. Allopathic medicines, as always, do come with their own set of side-effects. Therefore, people have been searching for something innocuous which may have long term benefits too. In Ayurveda, BM based herbal formulations have been very effective against this psychological disorder.
Ayurvedic understanding of ADHD:
Although no direct references of ADHD are found in Ayurvedic literature, some symptomatic explanation of ‘behavioral disorder’ with vitiation of rational thinking, memory and intellect show marked similarities with ADHD. Kumarabhrtya, yet another pediatric Ayurvedic treatise, refers to ADHD as Pitta- Vata aggravation disorder affecting children which is caused primarily due to genetics and environment.
Earlier, a placebo controlled small study on 50 children showed improvement in memory, attention and concentration in children treated with BM.
Another relative more exhaustive research to measure BM’s efficacy to provide relief to the children suffering from ADHD was undertaken by Bhalerao and co-researchers of Department of Clinical Pharmacology, TNMC and BYL Nair Ch. Hospital, Mumbai. The research analyzed ‘Brāhmī Ghṛtam’ – a polyherbal formulation whose main ingredient is BM– to treat ADHD. Besides BM, ‘Brahmi Grihtm’ contains other herbs viz. Vaca (Acorus calamus), Kuṣṭha (Sassurea lappa) and Sankhapuṣpī (Convolvulus pluricaulis) which have shown promising affinity and activity on central nervous system plants. The formulation is prepared by these herbs in ‘ghee’ prepared from cow’s milk. This pilot research project demonstrated efficacy of ‘Brahmi Grihtm’ in gradually easing down of severe symptoms of ADHD. Commendably, BM, despite being a good treatment option for ADHD patients, did not show any sedative effect; contrarily, the formulation has shown stimulant effect.