Ginkgo May Be An Effective Complementary Treatment for Children with ADHD

The diagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a condition defined by persistent inattention, impulsive behavior, and hyperactive tendencies, has risen over the last three decades and is estimated to affect 3 to 5% of school-aged children. ADHD is treated with behavioral and pharmacological therapies; however, 30% of patients do not respond to medications. A new study seeking to find an alternative, complementary therapy that supports medications prescribed for ADHD has found a link between concurrent use of methylphenidate (a medication commonly used to treat ADHD) and ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba), and reduced inattention in children and adolescents with ADHD. Published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, the study included 66 patients with ADHD, ages 6 to 12. The participants were split into two groups and given methylphenidate (20 or 30 mg/day, depending on their body weight) along with either a ginkgo dried extract (80 or 120 mg/day, depending on their body weight) or a placebo. Researchers administered surveys based on the ADHD Rating Scale-IV—a system used to evaluate ADHD symptoms like inattention and hyperactivity—to the participants’ parents and teachers at the beginning, middle, and end of the six week study. Here is what the researchers discovered:

  • Parents and teachers gave participants in the gingko group a significantly lower inattention rating compared with those in the placebo group.
  • Parents, but not teachers, gave participants in the gingko group a lower overall rating of ADHD symptoms compared with those in the placebo group.

While this study is relatively small and short, it is important because it demonstrates that ginkgo may contribute to decreased inattention and increased overall better behavior in children and adolescents with ADHD. More research is necessary to understand the long-term benefits of ginkgo supplementation, and to assess how ginkgo works biochemically to affect the behavior of patients with ADHD.

Source: Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice

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