One of the most common complaints about studies of herbal medicine and research done on alternative therapy treatments for ADHD and for other health issues is that scientists typically do not test the full plant or herb. Rather, research scientists identify the "active ingredient" in the herbs or other plants and then isolate that component. Once that is done, they standardize that component in order to test it.
The issue that many alternative health advocates raise is that such research cannot accurately determine the effectiveness of herbs, plants, and roots because it is possible that other components within those natural elements either increase the potency or are necessary for the effects of the natural treatment to work. This is not an unbelievable argument. It is entirely possible that in order to be effective, alternative treatments for attention deficit disorder and other issues, cannot come from just one ingredient in the plant. In fact, many herbalists, homeopaths, and other alternative practitioners are adamant that this is the case, not only for ADD but for all natural treatments.
Faulty Research Studies of ADHD Alternative Treatments or Reality?
Assuming that these advocates are correct, what does that mean for people with ADHD looking for alternative treatments or more natural ADD treatments as an alternative to chemical prescriptions most often used to treat children with ADHD and adults?
Unfortunately, it doesn’t necessarily mean what alternative health advocates think it does. For one thing, just because a study may be flawed in one’s opinion, does not necessarily mean that the opposite conclusion is true. Far from it. Even worse, if it is true that standardized preparations made from a plant’s active compounds is not effective enough to be used in research, it also means it is not effective enough to be used as an alternative therapy.
In other words, if an herbal remedy’s compounds are not functional when isolated and turned into pill form for research studies, they aren’t functional when turned into pills to be sold to people either!
If you subscribe to the belief that herbal remedies and other natural medicines must be taken in whole, then you also believe that taking pills is worthless. There is no two ways here. Logic dictates that what is true for one scenario is true for another, not that it is true when someone says something against you, and not true when you are selling something.
What it all boils down to, is that if you are going to subscribe to the idea that natural treatments for ADHD and other conditions cannot be researched by distilling the main ingredients into pill form, then in order to get effective herbal medicines or other natural treatments, you cannot take pills. You must use a different means of taking the medicine.
One popular alternative to pills is teas. Unfortunately, any tea that comes in a bag cannot be brewed to enough strength to be therapeutic. If you are buying teabags of alternative medicines, you are throwing your money down the drain. If you are going to use teas, they must be loose tea, you must get the dosage right, and virtually all of them must be brewed for twenty minutes or longer. Just leaving the tea in there isn’t good enough. The water needs to stay hot, so you’ll also need an insulated container to brew the tea in.
The truth is that chemistry is chemistry and biochemistry is biochemistry and even biology is biology.
If a chemical is required in order for another compound to be effective, that will always be the case. Without discovering what that helper chemical is and also standardizing it, there is no way to ensure that enough of it, or the main active ingredient is present in any treatment. For those of you familiar with drug culture, it is the difference between ditch weed and the kind that you buy. Both of them are the same plant, both of them have the chemical that gets you high, but only one of them has enough for it to be reasonable to expect anything out of it. Unless you plan to have a bonfire in an enclosed space.
When it comes to alternative therapies, be sure to check out all the alternatives, but be smart about it. Understand how peer reviewed medical research works and how pills are manufactured. Also, understand the biology and chemistry behind any argument. Just because someone really wants something to be true doesn’t mean it is. That might be one of the best ADHD tips you’ll ever get.