ABC News reports a new study suggesting that St. John’s wort is not a useful treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. Although the researchers only studied 54 children between 6 and 17 years old who have ADHD for eight weeks, the study design was the gold standard randomized controlled trial. And, they found that St. John’s wort was no better than placebo when it came to improving the children’s attentiveness or hyperactivity.
Previous research has suggested that St. John’s wort may affect the metabolism of the brain chemicals serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. That may be why medications, like buproprion, sometimes help patients with ADHD (although it is not FDA-approved for treating ADHD).
In addition, many parents with children with ADHD try the supplement on the children – and the research to date has been very mixed.
So, I’m glad the subject has finally been studied. And, to my knowledge this is the first group to evaluate the use of St. John’s wort for ADHD using a randomized controlled trial (the research gold standard).
Although the researchers found that the herb was safe for children (causing no serious side effects), their results provide reasonable evidence against the use of St. John’s wort for the treatment of ADHD. To learn more about ADHD, consider reading my book Why AHDH Doesn’t Mean Disaster.