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You are here: Home > Articles > Understanding Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ( ADHD/ADD )

Understanding Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ( ADHD/ADD )
There is much, much more to ADD than the popular or even the common medical understanding. The popular understanding is limited to dismay and often guilt along the lines of "What am I doing so wrong to have produced a child who is so out of control?" The medical understanding is even more limited in many ways, in that this revolves around inconclusive talk about environmental influences and about aberrations in the chemistry within the child's brain.

The fact is that we, as a culture, are letting these kids down very badly. Often so badly that they end up figuring highly amongst those that end up in youth suicide statistics. They just cannot cope with the situations in which they find themselves, and in the end, many choose to leave.

As a Herbalist I end up with an increasing number of ADD kids and their parents and, in common with other counselors working in this field, I see the energy, effort and love that committed parents put into trying to help their kids. Mostly, they themselves are close to burnout, and getting very little support from schools or even, in the end, from friends and family. I also get to meet the kids patiently following heir mothers from pillar to post while she seeks to find answers. These kids are bright kids and however distracted they seem, I get the very strong feeling that they don't miss anything. They are also extraordinarily sensitive kids who give me the impression that they have somehow been forced into their behavior patterns, simply as a means of generating a protective layer around themselves. The mothers I see may not be a true cross section of those with ADD kids, as the ones who end up with the Herbalist are those who are just not going to give up. They all recognize, connect with, and love the spirit within their child and many of them, despite what the schools, pediatricians and psychologists are telling them, know that their children are actually special and different rather than sick. Instinctively also, they know that drugging them, in order to try to make them fit into some sort of behavioral norm, is unconscionable.

Let's follow a few holistic lines of understanding;

The Relative Energy Problem:

The child is so much more active than the parent, as to appear out of control to that parent. Some folk, without the benefit of especially good health or energy, coming from passive backgrounds with no emphasis on conversation, reading, study or intellectual pursuits of any sort, find themselves with a 'cuckoo' in their nest.

I do see a few of these cases, but not many, as the parents concerned are amongst the least likely to seek the help of alternative therapists. They complain that the child is so full of energy that they are; running all day long while at the same time, wanting attention and talking and asking questions and wanting to do and wanting to know and getting impatient and getting frustrated and getting angry.

Sometimes these parents are those who have made an effort to provide a more healthy diet and environment than the one in which they grew up themselves, and are rewarded with a kid who is so different from themselves that they can end up with an ADD diagnosis.

Usually, if they have been the rounds and have made it all the way to a Herbalist they are open to suggestions. They usually also, suspect that they have something a little special on their hands and it is not too difficult to explain and to reassure them that the main lack is stimulation. I advise them to direct their child into as many areas of stimulation as they can find to soak up and satisfy some of this energy and intelligence. Sports or other outdoor activities, music, art, a higher class or different school or to leave school early and get into a trade or work with animals or plants. Anything, to get them out of the straight jacket which may be the school environment as well as the home environment.

Mostly, the parents already know the directions the child is trying to take, and it is often simply a matter of reinforcing the idea that the child is not abnormal just super-normal, and encouraging the parent to set them free of the frustrations which are binding them.

Environmental Encroachment:

As with the proliferation of asthma and allergies being largely responses to the encroaching environment, so it can also be with behavioral problems.

We know that some kids can spin out with red coloring or too much sugar at a birthday party. Not all kids, just some. These ones are more sensitive in some way than the others. Just as seasonal dust or pollen will cause a couple of sneezes in one person, three months of hay fever in another, or an asthma attack in a third. The difference in the individual is in their level of reactivity, with the sneeze being the appropriate immune system response to the physical threat represented by the dust of pollen. The other responses being more appropriate to life threatening substances or situations.

We can imagine ourselves and our children as being individual entities, protected by our immune systems against the encroachments on our environment. Some of the components of this encroachment are;

  • Atmospheric, water and food degradation through pollutants, chemicals, pesticides, and the rest.
  • Health degradation through diet, adulteration and abuse, medical and other drugs, X-rays, tests and injections of all sorts, along with a complete and lack of respect, support or understanding of our immune systems and how they are affected by almost everything we do or have done to ourselves.
  • Electromagnetic assault on the subtle energies of our beings through the television sets, computers, mobile phones and microwave ovens in our homes and the saturation of our air waves. (Imagine taking modern electronic scanning equipment back two hundred years and tuning through the whole band of waves. The best you would be able to manage would be some static from interstellar sources and maybe whale song from the other side of the world. Today you would find 100,000,000 distinct waves passing through your living room 24 hrs per day.)
  • Family and cultural support has fragmented to a point where we are no longer certain of our own values or of those of anyone else. We are no longer assured of love or support in our lives, we are exposed far too young and to far too many, conflicting values, and are forced to choose from amongst them while isolated and alone for the most part.
  • The pace of life and the pace of change has been increasing geometrically for the past 200 years and has reached the point where even the most balanced, and robust members of our communities are suffering. How can we expect that the most sensitive members of our race, our children, be unaffected?


All of this can be seen in terms of its affect on our immune systems, which essentially protect us against influences from our external environment. Those members of our race, with depleted immunities and or heightened sensitivity to all these assaults, are going to be affected more than others. Physical health problems including the 20th century diseases like Asthma, Allergies, Glandular Fever, Chronic Fatigue, Post Viral Syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis, Aids and Cancer can all be seen as a result of the breakdown of our immunity. Why not Depression, Anorexia, Suicide and ADD?

The Indigo Children:

And now, for something completely radical.

In alternative literature there is appearing more and more discussion of a convergence of energies.

  • There is the hell-bent race toward the destruction of our environment, resources, culture and fellow creatures. In short the end of the world, as we know it.
  • There is a parallel race toward embracing and integrating spiritual values and energies to fill the vacuum left by traditional culture, religion and order as it fails.
  • There is an information explosion where we are on the verge of exposing all the deceits and cover-ups by those in power throughout mans history about his origins and the civilizations which preceded the modern (roughly the past 2500 years).
  • There is talk of cyclic earth polar reversals, cycles of extra-terrestrial colonization and of paradigm shifts in understanding and evolution.


One of the emerging observations is about energetically and spiritually different children appearing in our families. These have been named the 'Indigo Children' and are said to be the forerunners of a new generation, better able to cope with, and to steer us through, the next cycle of transformation which will follow the breakdown which is racing to meet us.

These ideas are interesting to some and threatening to others.

I am not here arguing for or against them. I am just saying, that if the world is due for a major shakeup as it went through last maybe two and a half thousand years ago, we should be prepared to open our eyes to the possibility that things are going on around us which are out of our ken. We should know also, that the 'head-in-the-sand' technique has never worked or held back change for more than a moment of two.

We won't hold the change back by doping these kids or by trying to force them through our existing set of standards, expectations or institutions. We would be far better off sponsoring them and learning how to best develop their energies and talents.

It is of course a bit too much to expect from our political, educational or medical bureaucracies but you might consider supporting institutions like the Rudolph Steiner schools, which are far better equipped philosophically to understand and nurture these new and different kids.

The Role of Maritime Pine in ADD Treatments:

All this, so that we can now understand perhaps how my treatments, based around an extract from the Maritime Pine (Pinus Pinaster), seem to assist ADHD/ADD children with their behavioral problems.

Maritime Pine is a super anti-oxidant having properties around 25 times stronger than Vitamin C in this regard. The effect of ingesting small amounts regularly is to strongly support and rehabilitate what I call the bottom end of the immune system. I see the top end of our immune system assisting us in fighting off respiratory and other infections and the bottom end protecting us against all the encroachment listed above. Therefore I find Maritime Pine to be equally effective in supporting cancer patients in their recovery as in supporting ADD kids in finding a way out of their problematic reactions to their situation.

An enhanced immunity enables our systems to be less influenced by outside assault in both the behavioral as well as the physical sense.

In addition to the Maritime Pine I choose from amongst a range of herbs which match the individuals nervous system constitution and to support the wear and tear of their history of hyperactivity. I may also include in my recommendations and treatment other herbs to support digestion, circulation metabolism or other health issues on the grounds that maximizing health in general, supports recovery from any situation.

I assess in each case the individual child and parent as does any other counselor, and try to provide advice and direction best suited to where they are coming from. At the very least, I try to support the parents' gut feeling that their child is not sick, mad or unlovable. I reinforce their instincts, if they feel their child is brighter or more sensitive than average or has special talents. I encourage them to explore all avenues, which could provide the child with whatever special support that could provide a key to unleashing their potential. And lastly, I always support and recognize the efforts of the parent on behalf of the child.

Even if the child has been on dexamphetamines in the long term or as an interim measure I always recognize what it has cost the parents to take that step. I encourage them to continue to explore and experiment with other avenues like running alternative medical programs alongside the drugs or taking breaks in holidays and all the rest. There is no harm in changing circumstances, schools, and supplementary programs of treatment and indeed one must keep changing and experimenting with all the variables to find a path out.

In a large number of cases, the Maritime Pine provides a significant and noticeable push in the right direction and most often allows the child to require less other medication and to be more quickly be weaned off dexamphetamines altogether.

Other Interesting Properties:

At another level, Maritime Pine is found to contain high concentrations of what are becoming known of ORMES or rare earth elements found in orbitally rearranged or 'm' state configuration. Research is beginning to show that these elements are common denominators, in plants and foods having special healing and health properties. They are also found in high concentrations in all sorts of esoteric and alchemic substances used way back to Egyptian and Vedic times and beyond, by the priests and enlightened masters of all ages.

Robert McDowell
Herbalist
August 2001




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