Thursday, January 20, 2011

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) - Pass the Essential Oils!

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a neurobehavioral development disorder found in 3-5% of American children. It is characterized by a child's inability to sit still for a length of time, impulse control (touching things, behaving inappropriately) and an inability to concentrate. 

There are thought to be many causes to ADHD.  Children with ADHD may also have a second diagnosis.  Once kept hush, hush, ADHD is emerging from the closet, not only as a badge of honor, entitling kids to special priveleges because they learn differently, but also because children labeled with this condition are granted additional minutes and hours on timed tests such as the SAT or PSAT.  I have observed children as young as 8 comparing the benefits of the patch to long acting ADHD drugs.  There seems to be a new comaradry among children afflicted with this disorder.

I do not use the word afflicted lightly, ADHD is manageable but it is difficult. The inability to concentrate has a huge impact on a child's abilty to learn to read, process and spit back information and behave appropriatly.  It can affect a child's ability to write, construct sentences and answer simple math questions.  Despite this, some parents are reluctant to place their children on medications.

While essential oils cannot treat ADHD, it can provide a supportive, calm atmosphere, that in turn can calm a child. There are certain oils when applied to the sole of a child's foot (the most porous part of the body) can possibly make a strong difference.

There are four ways to offer your child some relief from the constant distractions of ADHD:

1. Diffuse - use during homework time to diffuse essential oils that encourage concentration. 
   Recommended oils are mandarin, chamomile, rosemary, neroli, and grapefruit. Grapefruit has the
   chemical composition to stimulate the brain (ADHD brains need to be stimulated to relax) and
   relax the nervous system.  Neroli, while an expensive oil can create a soothing environment.
   You can substitute clove for rosemary once in awhile to combat fatigue.

2. Topical Application - Mandarin and chamomile are gentle oils that can be applied to the bottom
    of a child's feet -- to one ounce of aloe vera add 4 drops mandarin and 2 drops chamomile. 
    Add 3 drops of vitamin E to prevent oxidation. Patch test your child first for ragweed allergies
    --apply one drop to a child's wrist, observe for
    15 minutes and cover then cover with a band aid for 24 hours. Check for reaction. Suggest
    using this combination for children 7 and older.  PLEASE CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR PRIOR TO
    USING TOPICALLY ON CHILDREN.  Use prior to leaving for school and at bedtime

3. Aromatic spritzer- This is excellent way to provide a supportive environment for your child and 
    at the same time signal to him or her that it is homework time.  Can also be sprayed on 
    sheets. In a two ounce bottle add distilled water and 3 drops vitamin e. Then add 2 drops 
    chamomile, 2 drops neroli, 2 drops clove, 9 drops frankincense, 15 drops grapefruit. 

4. OmStone terra cotta personal diffuser- doesn't get much easier than this:  order a personalize
      Omstone from Omstone aromas - can have your childs, name on it or symbol, skull, baseball   
    team  Comes with a  chain can be worn around the neck or wrist or tucked into a pocket for   
    subtle diffusion. Add a drop or two of mandarin or one drop of mandarin or drop of grapefruit.

Mandarin and chamomile are thought to be very effective in dealing with hyperactivity and challenging behavior.  Try it and see what you think.

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