Natural Anti-Anxiety and Muscle Relaxant Support

Description – Kava Kava (Piper methysticum) is approved in Europe as a treatment for nervous anxiety, depression, insomnia, and restlessness.  Clinical studies have found Kava Kava as effective as benzodiazepine drugs but without the undesirable side effects (impaired mental acuity and addiction).

Kava is also an antispasmodic and  muscle relaxant.  It has anesthetic effects on the urinary tubules and bladder.  With its analgesic properties, Kava is a good remedy for chronic pain. Kava is also effective for intestinal colic (pain) caused by IBS.

Suggested dose: 1 Capsule (40-75 mg kavalactones per cap) 1-3 times per day.

Dr. Myatt’s Comment: I find that kava is much more effective when taken as a tea, which is the way it is traditionally used. Open 4-6 capsules in a cup of hot water. Sweeten to taste. NOTE: kava has a bitter taste that must be “acquired.” Sweetening may help. If you know how much anti-anxiety or muscle tension relief it is going to give you, kava’s taste seems a small price to pay.

Additional Note: You may have heard or read about safety questions concerning kava. As it turns out, only the stem, leaf and peeled root bark cause problems; the whole lateral root does not. This kava product contains whole lateral root only. Read here for more information about the “kava kava mystery.”


Lavender is an Ancient Calming and Soothing Essential Oil

Lavela WS 1265Lavender has long been valued for it’s ability to promote relaxation and it was treasured by the ancients as a soothing, relaxing oil.

This ancient wisdom was passed through generations of healers who understood that a sprig of fresh lavender or a few drops of lavender oil on a cotton ball and placed in a patient’s room would often bring calmness and sleep when all else had failed.

Up until this time it has not been possible totake lavender orally in any meaningful amount – like most essential oils it is not palatable when taken by mouth.

Now you can experience the benefits of this calming, soothing essential oil in a convenient, easy to swallow coated softgel capsule.

Lavela WS 1265 contains clinically studied lavender oil intended for the relief of occasional anxiety

When used for occasional anxiety, Lavela WS 1265 has been shown to promote relaxation and calm nervousness safely and effectively, as demonstrated in controlled trials published in peer-reviewed medical journals.

Lavela WS 1265 had a significant beneficial influence on quality and duration of sleep and improved general mental and physical health without causing any unwanted sedative effects. Researchers concluded that Lavela WS 1265 was “both efficacious and safe” for the relief of occasional anxiety not otherwise specified.* It has a clinically demonstrable relaxing effect and was found to support restful sleep.


1. Kasper S, Gastpar M, Müller WE, et al. Int Clin Psychopharmacol 2010;25:277–
2. Woelk H, Schläfke S. Phytomedicine 2010;17:94–9.
3. Hidalgo RB, Tupler LA, Davidson JR. J Psychopharmacol 2007;21:864 72.
4. Woelk H, Kapoula O, Lehr S, Schröter K, Weinholz P (1999). Healthnotes Review
5. Bielski RJ, Bose A, Chang CC. Ann Clin Psychiatry 2005 Apr-Jun;17(2):65–9.
6. Allgulander C, Hartford J, Russell J, et al. Curr Med Res Opin 2007
Jun;23(6):1245–52. Epub 2007 Apr 25.


Natural Support For This Common Problem

Normal blood pressure is 120/80 or less. Blood pressures higher than 140/90 are elevated; higher than 200/115 are dangerous and should be treated immediately. High blood pressure increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. It is often without symptoms.

Causes of high blood pressure include atherosclerosis, high dietary sodium to potassium intake, nutrient deficiencies (especially calcium, magnesium, and vitamin C), overweight, smoking, and underlying disease processes. Greater than 90% of high blood pressure is considered “essential,” meaning that it is not caused by another disease. Such blood pressure elevations are largely related to diet and lifestyle. The disease is virtually unknown in undeveloped countries where unprocessed foods are eaten and people maintain a high level of physical activity.


  • Do NOT use caffeine, tobacco, or alcohol.
  • Maintain a normal weight.
  • Include high potassium foods (fruits and vegetables) lavishly in the diet. Do not salt foods. (Or use potassium chloride as an alternative salt).
  • Practice stress reduction techniques. Long-term stress, or extreme reactions to stress, can elevate blood pressure.
  • Avoid caffeine-containing medications. Check with your doctor if you are on prescription medications. Some can elevate blood pressure.
  • Exercise regularly.


  • Maxi Multi: 3 caps, 3 times per day with meals. Optimal (not minimal) doses of antioxidants (ACES), magnesium, B complex vitamins, and bioflavonoids are particularly important for the heart. Take additional B complex vitamins if your multiple does not contain optimal doses. B vitamins, (especially B6, B12, and folic acid) lower homocysteine levels, an independent risk for heart disease that many researchers feel is more important than cholesterol levels.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids:
    Flax seed meal, 2 teaspoons per day with food
    Flax seed capsules
    : 2-4 caps, 3 times per day (target dose range: 6-12 caps per day)
    Flax seed oil
    : 1 tablespoon per day
    Max EPA
    (Omega-3 rich fish oil): 1-2 caps, 3 times per day with meals (target dose: 3-6 caps per day).
  • CoQ10: 50-300mg per day. This powerful antioxidant, produced by the body, diminishes with age. It is especially valuable for all types of heart disease. CHOLESTEROL-LOWERING DRUGS deplete CoQ10.
  • Magnesium: 2 tabs, 3 times per day with meals. (Target dose: 500-1500mg per day. Maxi Multi contains 500mg).
  • Forskolin (Coleus forskohlii): 1cap, 1 times per day (target dose: 5-10mg standardized forskolin per day).


  • Hawthorn Plus+ (100mg standardized to 1.8% vitexin): 1-2 caps, 2-3 times per day with meals.
  • Garlitrin 4000: 1 tab, once per day with a meal. Other garlic supplements, 3 caps, 3 times per day with meals (target dose: 10,000mcg allicin per day).


  • A hair analysis should be performed to rule out lead toxicity as a cause of high blood pressure.


High blood pressure is certainly not something to be ignored, but there is evidence to suggest that we may be over-treating with drugs in this country. Most cases of high blood pressure can be successfully managed without drugs. (Drugs are sometimes necessary in cases of severely elevated blood pressure).

If your self-care measures fail to bring improvement within three months, consult an holistic physician who can guide you. Never discontinue blood pressure medications without the advice of a physician. Certain medications can cause rebound high blood pressure.



HealthBeat News

HealthBeat Update: Memory-Boosting Supplements: Improving mental function

Alpha-Lipoic Acid is a neurological antioxidant that chelates free iron from the forebrain, thereby protecting against free radical damage. It also improves mitochondrial function (mitochondria are the energy-producing units of cells). It works especially well in conjunction with CoQ10 and acetyl-L-carnitine to improve energy production. Because of its utility for preventing brain aging and preserving neurological function, plus its use in cataract prevention, diabetes, congestive heart failure and neurological diseases, it can correctly be classified as an important anti-aging/ life-extending nutrient.

Acetyl-L-Carnitine, a derivative of the amino acid L-Carnitine, is a vitamin-like compound that transports fatty acids (“fuel”) into the body cells. It also acts as a powerful antioxidant in the brain. The acetyl form of L-Carnitine (ALC) has been shown to be substantially more active than L-Carnitine in brain cells.

ALC has been the subject of numerous studies. It bears a close similarity to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which led researchers to study its use in age-related memory changes. ALC has been proven to offer significant benefit to patients with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and also for people with memory impairment and age-onset depression.

L-Carnitine and its more active form, A-LC have also been shown to be effective as part of weight (fat) loss programs, enhancing the body’s fat-burning ability. This effect proves true even when no deficiency of carnitine is present, meaning that all overweight people will benefit.

Suggest Dose of Each: Acetyl-L-Carnitine: 500mg (1 cap) per day; Alpha Lipoic Acid: 200mg (2 caps) per day.

Ginkgo biloba: Memory enhancement for those over 50 (and those under 50 too!) Ginkgo biloba is one of the most well studied herbs for age related memory changes. Ginkgo is a potent antioxidant. It also increases circulation to small diameter blood vessels (such as those in the brain and extremities.) Studies have verified ginkgo’s efficacy in early-stage Alzheimer’s, multiple infarct dementia (memory changes caused by “mini-strokes”), age related depression, glaucoma, impotence (erectile dysfunction,) MS and vascular insufficiency. It also has anti-allergy effects that make it useful for treatment of chronic respiratory allergies and asthma.

Ginkgo is one of the best-selling natural remedies worldwide. It should be part of the longevity protocol for anyone over the age of 50.

Suggested dose: 1 cap, 2 times per day. (target dose: 240 mg per day of 24% flavoneglycosides)

Phosphatidyle serine (PS): Improved Brain-Cell Function. Phosphatidyle serine (PS) is responsible for normal fluidity and membrane integrity of the brain cells. These functions allow brain cells to communicate efficiently with each other.

The body manufactures PS. Lowered levels of PS are seen in aging in association with impaired mental function and depression in the elderly.

Eleven double-blind studies have verified the effectiveness of PS. Significant improvements were seen in mental performance, behavior, mood, and age-related cognitive decline.

Suggested dose: 1 cap (100 mg PS,) 3 times per day.

B Vitamins, Magnesium and Maxi-Multi: The B Vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, folic acid, B12) are all vitally important and work together to regulate energy processes at the cellular level, and by doing so they are vital to the function of nerve and brain cells. Magnesium is a mineral that also plays a big role in energy processes and brain and nerve cell function.

Maxi-Multi is your very best way to be sure you are receiving optimal amounts of these vitamins and minerals, without having to take four or more separate formulas each day. Maxi-Multi provides you with: 1. High potency multiple vitamin / mineral / trace mineral supplement, 2. High potency B complex vitamins, 3. High potency antioxidants (A, carotenes, C, E, selenium, zinc & bioflavinoids) 4. High potency calcium / magnesium (1000 mg / 500 mg). If you only take one nutritional supplement, this should be the one! If you are taking any other “daily vitamin” supplement, do yourself a favor and compare the labels – you’ll see why Maxi-Multi is the way to go. The addition of Plant Enzymes ensures absorption of nutrients. This formula is hypoallergenic and suitable for even highly sensitive individuals.

Ask Dr. Myatt: Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy

Q: I am a postmenopausal woman who never took hormone replacement therapy (HRT). I feel I weathered this change of life pretty well. However, I have developed a chronic vaginal itch that my doctor feels is due to a thinning and drying out of the vaginal tissue. He has prescribed premarin vaginal cream (applied intravaginally) starting at twice a week and then just once a week on an on-going basis. I am hoping that there is a more natural way of dealing with this irritating problem. Any suggestions?

A: Natural hormone replacement therapy is one of the best anti-aging measures a person (male or female) can take. Please read more about “The Climacteric” in your Holistic Health handbook, pages 73-76.

Even with only minimal symptoms of hormone deficiency (the vaginal dryness), I still recommend natural hormone replacement therapy (n-HRT). The key word here is “natural.” The hormones used for such are still prescription, but they are custom-tailored to your needs and hormone profile results, not “generic.” Further, they are “bio identical” to your body’s own hormones, meaning that they are the same hormones and given in similar doses to that of a younger female, not synthetic or un-natural hormones, which cause more health problems than they cure. (Premarin is so named because of its origin: Pregnant Mare’s Urine. I kid not! This stuff is natural for a pregnant horse, but not for a postmenopausal human female!)

Natural hormone replacement therapy may include any or all of the three female estrogens, progesterone, testosterone and DHEA. Maintenance of cardiovascular health, bone density, protection against breast and other hormones related cancers, maintenance of youthful skin tone, prevention of age-related mood and mental changes are all part of the benefit you can expect from same.

How to go about this? First, you need a complete female hormones profile. I prefer the saliva test method because it gives an “average” look at your hormones instead of blood testing, which gives only a ‘snapshot” look. Please refer to page 135 in your Holistic Health Handbook. The complete profile costs $129 and that’s a bargain for all the information we get.

Secondly, you’ll need to hook up with a physician who is trained in hormone replacement therapy, especially natural hormone replacement therapy. Since I have been doing this my entire career (14 years now), “I” come readily to mind to help you with this. Since you are post-menopausal, the “finishing touches” on your corrective hormones will take only a few “tweaks,” and won’t change significantly over the years.

Let me know if I can help you get on some corrective natural hormones. You will age more gracefully and gently if you decide to go this route, and minimize opportunities for illness to get a foothold. Oh, yes, and it should take care of your vaginal dryness handily!

Dr. Dana Myatt’s Wellness Club

Prescription Fish Oil Now Available!

This just in from the “how dumb does it get?” files…

Enormous amounts of research into the benefits of fish oil have shown that it lowers triglyceride levels, relieves many cases of depression and helps prevent an astonishing number of ailments including osteoporosis, stroke, heart attach, cardiac arrhythmia and some types of cancer. That’s why I’ve been encouraging everyone to add fish oil to their daily health program.

Now, a drug company did another study which showed exactly what we already knew about fish oil—- that it lowers triglyceride levels. They sought and gained FDA approval to offer fish oil as a prescription, at a cost of aprox. 797% more per milligram than Wellness Club brand or other high quality health food store brands. So, instead of a month’s supply at $19.95, you can now enjoy a bottle of 180 caps for $236.89!

As I’ve been warning readers, when the drug companies figure out that a natural substance works, they want a piece of the action. The trouble is, their profit margins will make simple, life-saving natural substances unreachable for most people because of cost.

Meanwhile, There’s even More Reason to Take Fish Oil...

Fish oil could potentially save more lives than cardiac defibrillators, researchers estimate in a new report. In fact, the studies show that the Omega-3 essential fatty acids in fish oil prevent more sudden cardiac deaths due to fibrillation than AED machines. Of course, the makers of these high-tech, high-cost gadgets aren’t going to want you to take fish oil, unless perhaps it’s the $236.89 per bottle prescription brand they can cash in on! What next? Soon we’ll need an Rx. to buy vegetables and fruit at the grocery store because they contain vitamins, minerals and other nutrients!

More Dangers of Antidepressant Drugs Found

I’ve always been adamant about my treatments for depression, anxiety and other “mood disorders”: go for the fix, not the band aid. No one has ever suffered a case of depression because of a Prozac deficiency!

Now, researchers have found that many antidepressants are even more dangerous than we knew. Paxil, for example, increases violent behavior and suicidal tendencies in users, especially teenagers. EXCUSE ME? Why in the world would we put a child on a dangerous “head med,” one that makes the likelihood of depression-related suicide over twice as high as the un-medicated?

Of course, the FDA is helpful, as always <I say with tongue in cheek>. The have recommended “stronger warning labels” on Paxil. I’m sure most patients especially teens read these labels—Not.

Now here’s a vision – millions of Americans, from children to seniors, all popping what are touted as “happy pills” – at least that is what the Big Pharma Companies and their FDA lapdogs want us to believe. All is not well in this chemical paradise though: Not only do these supposed “happy pills” cause an increased potential for suicide in those taking them (especially in teenagers according to the latest research), they are also linked to violent behavior in what the study calls “hostility events.” What a great idea! Take stressed, depressed, suicidal Americans, driving around in multi-ton Urban Assault vehicles, riding the ragged edge of road rage at the best of times, just waiting to have a “hostility event.” It boggles the mind even more that the FDA has no intention of removing these chemical time-bombs from the marketplace. That would make too much good sense.

Natural Alternatives Treat Depression Without Risks

Paxil, Prozac and other SSRI’s fool the body into temporarily recycling the neurotransmitter serotonin. Of course, not everyone who is depressed has a serotonin deficiency. In fact, epinephrine (adrenaline), noradrenalin, dopamine, acetylcholine are all brain chemicals that can be altered in depression. And even though laboratory tests exist to evaluate neurotransmitters, they are rarely performed by conventional doctors who simply dish out SSRI’s without knowing if this is even going to be a good “band aid.”

The safer and more sensible way to treat depression is to evaluate the neurotransmitters, then use precursors (raw material) nutrients that so the body can naturally make more of its own serotonin, adrenaline, noradrenalin or whatever neurotransmitter is deficient. Instead of simply throwing an SSRI drug at anything that looks like depression, a simple, accurate neuro-transmitter test followed by corrective nutritional therapy is a cure, not a deadly stop-gap.

How many acts of violence will it take before these drugs are removed from the marketplace? Of course, now you can pay 20 times as much for prescription fish oil, which is helpful in many cases of depression, thanks to its approval as a drug. Rest assured that the FDA has Big Pharmacy’s best interests—- not yours— at heart.

FDA Defends Deadly Vioxx, More Proof of Their Allegiance

Vioxx has been found in several major studies to be the most dangerous COX-2 inhibitor drug, increasing the risk of irregular heart rhythms AND kidney disease according to Researchers at The Department of Epidemiology and Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health. A second study at the University of Newcastle in Australia looked at 500,000 healthy people who used Vioxx and found that as drug dosage increased, so did the rate of heart attacks.

Eric Ding, who co-authored the Harvard study, felt strongly that “The risks of these drugs should have been made known to the public much earlier.”

Dr. David J. Graham, associate director for science in the FDA’s Office of Drug Safety, blew the whistle on both Vioxx maker Merck and the FDA itself, stating “It is clear that Vioxx increases the risk of heart attack, and that increase in risk begins with the first tablet a patient takes.”

In spite of the known dangers and mounting evidence against Vioxx, the FDA offered a “spin control” press release stating that “the FDA does not believe the available data rise to the level required to support an official FDA regulatory decision regarding comparative safety and efficacy of the available COX2-selective and non-selective NSAIDs.”

Don’t you sleep better knowing that the FDA is “protecting” us from affordable, safe, proven remedies like fish oil while ensuring that dangerous drugs such as Paxil and Vioxx remain on the market? I know I do.

In Health,
Dr. Myatt

Consultations With Dr. Dana Myatt

Help Yourself To Good Health

Notice To New Patients:

Because of Dr. Myatt’s reputation of being the doctor to call when conventional medicine gives up she has been inundated with a number of extremely complicated patients.

In order that she may continue to provide all her patients the high levels of care and attention that they have come to rely upon she is accepting only very select new patients.

In order to determine suitability to be added to her caseload Dr. Myatt is requiring all those who wish to be taken on as new patients to first speak with her in a Brief Telephone Consultation.


Member: American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (eligible)
President: ECAFH Foundation, Inc. (Exploring Complementary Answers for Health)
Author: A Physicians Diary
Professor: Atlantic University
Graduate: National College of Naturopathic Medicine

How May I Help You? Herbs Homeopathy Nutritional Evaluations Lifestyle Counseling Chinese Medicine Edgar Cayce Remedies Health Optimization Immune Enhancement Detoxification and Fasting Stress Reduction Health Education Weight Management


Special Programs

  • Executive Wellness & Longevity
  • Cardiovascular disease prevention and reversal / high cholesterol reversal
  • Overweight/obesity
  • CANCER prevention/options
  • Digestive difficulties and parasites
  • Allergies and hypersensitivities
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Viral Syndromes including HIV, herpes, Epstein Barr (EBV), hepatitis
  • Infertility (male and female)
  • Athletic performance

Help Yourself to Health

Click Here To Learn Why You Should Consult Dr. Myatt

click here to see Dr. Myatt’s telephone consult brochure

call 1-800-DRMYATT (1-800-376-9288)

Please also see: How Our Office Handles Insurance

Do Doctors Still Make House Calls?

Dr. Myatt And Nurse Mark Make “The Ultimate House Calls”!

Many of our private practice patents and Wellness Club Customers know that Dr. Myatt travels often to speak, teach, and lecture. When her travels bring her to areas where her patients live she is happy to schedule them for an in-person consultation, including examination and other therapeutic treatments. Patients may be seen in Dr. Myatt’s Wellness Club coach or even in the comfort of their own home. When visits can be scheduled to coincide with Dr. Myatt’s travel itinerary her customary consultation fees apply.

Your Own Private Naturopathic Doctor And Nurse – In Attendance:

For those who need the undivided attention of this unique doctor and nurse team, Dr. Myatt and Nurse Mark can travel to your location where they will attend to your holistic health needs 24/7 if need be. This may include not only intensive care for the patient, it may include teaching for family members and caregivers or for staff such as personal chefs, personal assistants, housekeepers, or security staff.

You can be assured of absolute, inviolate confidentiality and respect for your privacy when working with Dr. Myatt and Nurse Mark.

This is a unique and specialized service and it is not inexpensive. Not all patients will qualify for or benefit from this intensive in-home naturopathic medical care. Please contact Dr. Myatt for cost and availability and to determine your suitability for this ultimate health-restorative opportunity.

Is your situation more urgent?

Do you need Dr. Myatt and Nurse Mark to attend you more quickly than is possible with road travel? (for road travel figure 500 miles per day from northern Arizona to your location)

Dr. Myatt will not travel by commercial (public) air carrier. She will consent to travel by private business aircraft and there is an airfield near her location that will accommodate this class of aircraft. (KTYL) Contact The Wellness Club to discuss this option.

Dr Myatt can also arrange to travel to your location by private plane. Nurse Mark is a licensed Private Pilot and their airplane allows them to reach you quickly and discretely. Requirements for visitations of this kind will include a destination airport with adequate runways and secure tie-downs and available fuel, appropriate transportation arrangements on arrival and during the visit, and appropriate accomodations for Dr. Myatt and Nurse Mark while on location.

Piper Warrior II Private Airplane
Dr. Myatt and Nurse Mark can be at your side quickly if need be. Click on the picture above for more information about their aircraft.

Dr. Myatt’s Wellness Club Coach is 36 feet in length. She maintains contact with her patients and the internet via 2-way satellite. When in location she requires electrical service for her communications: 20 amps minimum.

Brief Consultations

Brief Consultations by telephone are available between 9 AM and 5 PM, Tuesday through Friday, Arizona time. When you checkout please tell us what times and dates would be best for your consultation – we will make every effort to accommodate your needs, subject to prior scheduling commitments. Please be sure that we have both a valid email and telephone number so we can contact you to arrange your appointment.

Please Note: Be sure that you are available at the telephone number you provide, at the time you have arranged, when Dr. Myatt calls you – there are no refunds for missed appointments!

In the very unlikely event that a medical emergency prevents Dr. Myatt from calling at your appointment time, you will be offered a full refund or a rescheduled appointment – your choice.

DO NOT send Dr. Myatt lab reports, medical records or summaries, or any other medical information unless you are booking a New Patient Visit Consultation! Any medical information that is received unsolicited will be treated as confidential medical records and will be destroyed immediately.

Medical records and other documentation can be sent to:

Dr. Myatts Wellness Club
Attn: Medical Records
PO Box 900
Snowflake, AZ 85937

It is of no benefit to send via “overnight” courier – USPS Priority Mail provides timely and inexpensive delivery to our location – usually as quickly as any “overnight” courier!


Natural Support Strategies For This Debilitating Condition

There are many causes of chronic fatigue. Low thyroid function, low adrenal gland function, anemia, diabetes, food allergies, chronic candida infection, blood pressure abnormalities, and low blood sugar are just a few of the many possibilities. For this reason, it is important to consult a physician for diagnosis.

One cause of chronic fatigue is associated with several known viruses. Chronic fatigue of viral origin is now known as Chronic Viral Fatigue Syndrome (CVFS). Symptoms include recurrent sore throats, low grade fever, headache, lymph node enlargement, muscle and joint aches, intestinal discomfort, mood disorder and lack of concentration. The following recommendations apply to chronic fatigue of viral origin:


  • Do not smoke. Smoking suppresses the immune system.
  • Avoid simple sugars, alcohol, caffeine and food allergens. Eat “Super Foods” plentifully, especially garlic.
  • Exercise. Moderate exercise stimulates immune function.
  • Practice stress reduction techniques. Excess stress response lowers immune function and makes a person more susceptible to viral infection.


  • Maxi Multi: 3 caps, 3 times per day with meals. This daily “multiple” contains high potency antioxidants. Optimal (not minimal) doses of vitamin A, beta carotene, vitamin C, zinc, selenium, magnesium & B complex vitamins are particularly important.
  • Dr. Myatt’s Immune Boost: 1/2 – 1 tsp., 2-3 times per day between meals.
  • Immune Support: 2 caps, 2-3 times per day between meals.
  • Co Q10 (50mg): 1 capsule, 2-3 times per day with meals. (Target dose: 100-200mg per day).
  • St. John’s Wort (Hypericum) (300mg): 1 cap, 3 times per day between meals. (Target dose: 900mg per day) Although best know for it’s mood effects, hypericum is also a potent anti-viral agent.

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT (Use any or all of the following)

Digestion, liver, large intestine (colon), and immune system are likely imbalanced organ systems that should be looked at. Be sure to take the “Lifestyle” questionnaire, found on page 2 of the Holistic Health Handbook. Imbalances in diet and insufficient exercise contribute to lowered immune function.

It is important to consult a physician for diagnosis of chronic fatigue. Do NOT assume that your fatigue is due to a virus until other causes have been eliminated. These “other causes” include thyroid imbalance, sex hormone imbalance, nutritional deficiency, blood sugar problems (too high or too low), blood pressure abnormalities, emotional stress, over or under exercise, or lack of sleep to name just a few.


Natural Support For This Growing Problem

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), ADD with Hyperactivity (ADHD), and depression represent a continuum of learning and behavioral disabilities that afflict an estimated 5-10% of school-aged children. These conditions also affect adults. In the United States, conventional medical treatment of choice is pharmaceutical intervention.

The definition of ADD is developmentally inappropriate inattention and impulsivity, with or without hyperactivity. The DSM-IV list 14 signs, 8 of which must be present to make the diagnosis. They are:

1.) Fidgets with hands or feet and squirms in seat
2.) has difficulty remaining seated when required to do so,
3.) is easily distracted by external stimuli,
4.) has difficulty awaiting turn in games or group situations,
5.) often blurts out answers before questions are completed,
6.) has difficulty following through on instructions from others (not due to opposition but to failure of comprehension),
7.) has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities,
8.) shifts from one uncompleted task to another,
9.) has difficulty playing quietly,
10.) talks excessively,
11.) often interrupts or intrudes on others,
12.) often does not seem to listen to what is being said,
13.) often loses things necessary for tasks at home or at school,
14.) often engages in physically dangerous activities without considering consequences.

Scope of the Problem: For ADD, ADHD: An estimated 5-10% of school-aged children are affected. Boys are 10 times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. An estimated 3-5% of ADD/ADHD-diagnosed children will be put on Ritalin (methylphenidate). In 1995, over 6 million prescriptions were written for Americans under age 18.

Proposed Causes: Nutritional deficiencies, inborn errors of metabolism, food allergies, heavy metal toxicity, malabsorption, prenatal influences, genetic influence, environmental and cultural factors, yeast infection or overgrowth, food additives, trauma, and developmental factors.

Dr. Myatt’s Comment: A large body of scientific evidence suggests that ADD/ADHD is multi-factorial, meaning that there is usually more than one contributing cause. This presents a special challenge to the diagnosing physician if (s)he is interested in correcting the problem and not just treating symptoms. This may also account for the large number of children placed on drug therapy, which relieves the physician and parents of the responsibility of exploring the numerous causes and contributions to ADD/ADHD. However, due to the far-reaching effects that such attention disorders and behavior problems create, many people have found that it is worthwhile to discover and correct the causes of ADD/ADHD instead of simply “dumbing down” the symptoms with drugs.

Diet And Lifestyle

  • Diet: Elimination/challenge to discover food allergies, then avoidance of offending foods; avoidance of artificial additives and food colorants (Feingold diet); avoidance of simple carbohydrates (sugars and refined flour products).
  • NO stimulants: colas, chocolate, caffeine- containing foods and beverages.
  • Exercise: daily. Exercise helps normalize brain chemistry.

Primary Support

  • Maxi Multi (adults): 3 caps, 3 times per day with meals.
  • Children’s Multi (children): dose according to age and body weight as listed on product label. A deficiency of any vitamin, mineral or trace mineral can lead to impaired mental performance.
  • L-glutamine: 2,500-3,000mg per day. (This will vary depending on the age and weight of the patient).
  • Cal-Mag Amino: (calcium/ magnesium) [Target dose: < 10 years, 1,000mg calcium, > 10 years, 1,200- 1,500 mg calcium with corresponding dose of magnesium].
  • Grape Seed Extract: 50 mg, 3 times per day with meals.

Additional Support

Dr. Myatt’s Note:

I recommend for physicians, parents, and teachers: “Hyper Kids” by Lendon Smith, Shaw/Spelling Assoc., 1990. This workbook provides questionnaires to help physicians and parents sort out causes of ADD/ADHD— from nutrient deficiencies and allergies to malabsorption and yeast overgrowth. A very useful resource in differential diagnosis.


Natural support for healthy mental function

An estimated 6% of the over-60 population suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, while “Senile dementia,” or non-Alzheimer’s senility, affects a similar number. The two diseases are difficult to distinguish, especially early-on. Diagnosis is a matter of clinical judgment on the part of the doctor. The only definitive diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is a post-mortem examination of the brain, where deterioration of brain cells and “scarring” are evident.

It is sometimes difficult for a lay person to distinguish “ordinary forgetfulness” from symptoms of age-related memory changes. Here are symptoms of greater concern: 1.) Memory lapses that occur more frequently and become more severe 2.) Depression, anxiety, or paranoia 3.) Loss of judgment and discrimination 4.) Mood changes: irritability, anger, loss of interest in everyday activities 5.) Loss of awareness of everyday events.

There are many non-Alzheimer’s, non-senility health problems that can cause memory and mood changes. For this reason, it is important to see your doctor for a complete physical examination. Your doctor will be able to discover if you have a health problem that is causing memory changes. Remember, most memory loss is either normal forgetfulness or caused by another illness or lifestyle factor. Secondly, and simultaneously, begin the positive steps outlined below. Simple factors such as B vitamin deficiencies can cause serious mental changes. Don’t let easily correctable memory changes happen to you!


  • Eat a well-balanced diet. Lack of nutrients can cause memory changes.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercise improves blood flow, nutrients, and oxygen to the brain.
  • Avoid cigarette smoke. Cigarette smoke contains carbon monoxide, which is toxic to the brain.
  • “Exercise” your brain: read, work crossword puzzles, use name associations, pay attention to life!
  • Avoid aluminum (found in cookware, antiperspirants, antacids, beverage cans). Aluminum and other toxic metal accumulation in the brain is associated with Alzheimer’s disease.


  • Take Daily Multi Vitamin and Mineral Supplement. This should include vitamins A,C,E, beta carotene, bioflavonoids, B complex vitamins (especially B1, B6, B12, folic acid), and selenium. Maxi Multi contains optimal daily doses of these nutrients.
  • Max EPA (fish oil): 1 cap, 3 times per day with meals to prevent or reverse inflammation. Take higher doses as directed if your hs-CRP tests are elevated. Flax oil is also beneficial but requires a biochemical conversion in the body which is deficient in many people, so fish oil is more certain.
  • Citicoline: A double-blind, placebo controlled study found that citicoline improved cognitive performance in Alzheimer’s patients. High-tech imaging showed that it also improved cerebral (brain) blood flow in this group of Alzheimer’s patients. According to the researchers: ” … citicoline (1,000 mg/day) is well tolerated and improves cognitive performance, cerebral blood perfusion and the brain bioelectrical activity pattern in AD [Alzheimer’s Disease] patients.” (1)


Take any or all of these proven neuro-protective substances:

  • CoQ10: 50-300mg per day. This powerful antioxidant, produced by the body, diminishes with age. It is especially valuable for all types of heart disease. CHOLESTEROL-LOWERING DRUGS deplete CoQ10.
  • Turmeric: 1 capsule, 3 times per day (target dose: 900mg). Potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrin herb, turmeric acts by three different mechanisms to help protect the brain from the presumed causes of Alzheimer’s.
  • Ginkgo biloba: 1 cap, 2 times per day. [target dose: 240mg of a 24% flavoneglycoside formula]. Ginkgo is a potent antioxidant that also improves cerebral circulation. This herb is mentioned in The Merck Manual of (conventional) Medicine as being helpful for Alzheimer’s!
  • Phosphatidyl Serine: 1 cap (100mgPS), 3 times per day. PS increases brain cell communication by improving membrane fluidity.
  • Acetyl-L-Carnitine: 1 cap (500mg), 3 times per day between meals. A-LC acts as a powerful antioxidant in the brain.
  • Alpha-Lipoic Acid: 1 cap, 2-3 times per day. This neurological antioxidant chelates free iron from the forebrain, thereby protecting against free-radical induced brain aging.
  • Melatonin: this hormone decreases with age. It is a potent antioxidant and one of the only ones to cross the blood-brain barrier. It should be used in almost all cases of any neurological disease and is an important part of longevity and anti-aging programs.

Alzheimer’s disease and Senile Dementia are not an inevitable part of aging even though they are common in our country. Don’t let these memory-robbing diseases deprive you of YOUR Golden Years!


  • A hair analysis should be done to rule out heavy metal and aluminum toxicity. Most conventional medical doctors do not perform this test, even though it is reliable for detecting heavy metals.
  • Women and men of menopausal age (40-55) should have hormone levels evaluated. A shift in the amount of sex hormones can cause memory changes.
  • Women of menstrual age should avoid taking ginkgo regularly. This herb has a blood-thinning effect and can cause heavier-than-normal menstrual bleeding. Consider Hypericum (St. John’s Wort) herb instead.

Related Articles:
Remembering Reagan, Avoiding Alzheimer’s



1.) Alvarez XA, Mouzo R, Pichel V, Pérez P, Laredo M, Fernández-Novoa L, Corzo L, Zas R, Alcaraz M, Secades JJ, Lozano R, Cacabelos R., Methods Find Exp Clin Pharmacol. 1999 Nov;21(9):633-44. Double-blind placebo-controlled study with citicoline in APOE genotyped Alzheimer’s disease patients. Effects on cognitive performance, brain bioelectrical activity and cerebral perfusion. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10669911

ADD/ADHD in Children:

Are There Really Alternatives to Ritalin® and Prozac®?

Dana Myatt, N.M.D. and Mark Ziemann, R.N.

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), ADD with Hyperactivity (ADHD), and depression represent a continuum of learning and behavioral disabilities that afflict an estimated 5-10% of school-aged children. In the United States, conventional medical treatment of choice is pharmaceutical intervention.

A large body of scientific evidence suggests that these disorders are multi-factorial, representing a special challenge to the holistic physician interested in treating causes as well as symptoms. The concept of “Alternatives to Ritalin and Prozac” is, in the author’s opinion, an allopathic approach to botanical prescribing that is less efficacious than treatments which address specific etiologies. Regardless of the approach, however, botanical medicines have an important role to play in treatment.


Definition (ADD, ADHD) Developmentally inappropriate inattention and impulsivity, with or without hyperactivity (1). The DSM-IV lists 14 signs, 8 of which must be present to make the diagnosis. They are:

  1. Often fidgets with hands or feet and squirms in seat (restlessness),
  2. Has difficulty remaining seated when required to do so,
  3. Is easily distracted by external stimuli,
  4. Has difficulty awaiting turn in games or group situations,
  5. Often blurts out answers before questions are completed,
  6. Has difficulty following through on instructions from others (not due to opposition but to failure of comprehension),
  7. Has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities,
  8. Shifts from one uncompleted task to another,
  9. Has difficulty playing quietly,
  10. Talks excessively,
  11. Often interrupts or intrudes on others,
  12. Often does not seem to listen to what is being said,
  13. Often loses things necessary for tasks at home or at school,
  14. Often engages in physically dangerous activities without considering consequences.

(Depression) ” . . .  sad and unhappy appearance, apathy and withdrawal, reduced capacity for pleasure, feeling rejected and unloved, difficulty in sleeping, somatic complaints (headache, abdominal pain, insomnia), episodes of clowning or foolish behavior, and persistent self-blame.”(2).


The Current Conventional “Going Line”

According to the U.S. Surgeon General and ICD-10-CM, ADHD is a metabolic form of encephalopathy which impairs the release and homeostasis of neurological  chemicals, and reducing the function of the limbic system. Research indicates that the frontal lobes, their connections to the basal ganglia, and the central aspects of the cerebellum (vermis) are most likely involved in this disorder, as may be a region in the middle or medial aspect of the frontal lobe, known as the anterior cingulate.

There is increasing evidence that variants in the gene for the dopamine transporter are related to the development of ADHD [12]. This evidence is consonant with the theory of inefficacy of dopamine in people with ADD/ADHD; according to other recent studies, some people with ADHD usually have relatively high dopamine transporter levels, which clears dopamine from between neurons before the full effect is gained from dopamine. Stimulant medications used to treat ADHD are all capable of either inhibiting the action of dopamine transporter (as methylphenidate does) or promoting the release of dopamine itself (as the amphetamine-class medications do). Therefore, it is theorized that stimulant medication allows the brain to enhance the effect of dopamine by blocking dopamine transporters or increasing the release of dopamine. Currently this is the most widely accepted model of ADD/ADHD etiology in the scientific and medical community.

New studies consider the possibility that norepinephrine also plays a role. Drugs that manipulate norepinephrine levels in certain brain regions, such as atomoxetine, have shown effectiveness for managing the disorder [13] [14].

It also should be noted that despite the repeated references to the genetics of ADHD being unequivocal, according to Joseph Glenmullen, M.D., clinical instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School “no claim of a gene for a psychiatric condition has stood the test of time, in spite of popular misinformation.”

The Holistic “Going Line”

ADD/ADHD can be caused by a number of factors including Nutritional deficiencies (4,5) inborn errors of metabolism (6), food allergies (7,8,9), heavy metal toxicity (10,11), malabsorption (12), prenatal influences (13,14), genetic influence (15,16), environmental (17) and cultural factors (18), yeast infection (12), food additives (7,19,20), trauma (21), and developmental factors (22).

Scope of the Problem

For ADD, ADHD: An estimated 5-10% of school-aged children are affected. Boys are 10 times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. An estimated 3-5% of ADD/ADHD-diagnosed children will be put on Ritalin (methylphenidate). In 1995, over 6 million prescriptions were written for Americans under age 18(3).

DEPRESSION, once thought to be rare in children, has become an increasingly common diagnosis, though actual numbers are uncertain. There is a higher incidence of depression in families with a history of depressive disorder (2). Depression may occur with or without ADD/ADHD.


The “cure” for ADHD relies on determining the cause. Obviously, if a nutritional deficiency is present and causative, this must be corrected. In another child, heavy metal toxicity may be the cause, in which case the treatment will be different than for those symptoms caused by nutritional imbalance.

Neurotransmitter levels should be evaluated with an NT test (urine is the specimen requirement). Heavy metal toxicity can be easily evaluated with a hair mineral analysis. Food intolerance can be screened for with a saliva test, but elimination/challenge diet is the most accurate method of determination. Yeast overgrowth in the intestinal tract can be screened with a stool test. These tests evaluate for the most common causes of ADD/ADHD. Which of them are necessary can be determined by a careful holistic physician who does an accurate history and physical exam.

Less common causes that may require evaluation include inborn errors of metabolism, trauma (especially birth trauma) and musculoskeletal imbalances.


The “one size fits all” approach of conventional medicine has resulted in millions of US children being put on Ritalin, an amphetamine. New studies show that Ritalin can cause permanent changes in the brain and can also result in hallucinations. Clearly, if there are many different causes of this disorder, there must be a number of different treatments, each distinct and particular to the patient.

A large body of scientific evidence suggests that ADD/ADHD is multi-factorial, meaning that there is usually more than one contributing cause. This presents a special challenge to the diagnosing physician if (s)he is interested in correcting the problem and not just treating symptoms. This may also account for the large number of children placed on drug therapy, which relieves the physician and parents of the responsibility of exploring the numerous causes and contributions to ADD/ADHD. However, due to the far-reaching effects that such attention disorders and behavior problems create, many people have found that it is worthwhile to discover and correct the causes of ADD/ADHD instead of simply “dumbing down” the symptoms with drugs.

Nutritional strategies include:

Diet And Lifestyle:

Diet: Elimination/challenge to discover food allergies, then avoidance of offending foods; avoidance of artificial additives and food colorants (Feingold diet); avoidance of simple carbohydrates (sugars and refined flour products). NO stimulants: colas, chocolate, caffeine- containing foods and beverages unless indicated by an NT evaluation.

Exercise: daily. Exercise helps normalize brain chemistry.


I.) Children’s Multi Vitamin: Optimal dosage according to age and body weight as listed on product label. A deficiency of any vitamin, mineral or trace mineral can lead to impaired mental performance.

II.) Omega-3 Fish Oil: A recent randomized double-blind experiment compared a fatty acid supplement with placebo in children with developmental coordination disorder (which exhibits a high degree of overlap with ADHD diagnoses). Fatty acid supplements improved spelling, reading, and behavior after three months (48). Numerous studies have shown an improvement in cognitive function, in mood, and in vision when omega 3 fatty acid supplements are given. While not directly showing a causal link between ADHD and fatty acids, increased levels of fatty acids have a beneficial effect on related behavior.

Furthermore, creating a deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids in pregnant rats produces pups that are hyperactive and that have altered brain levels of dopamine in the same brain regions as seen in humans and other rat models of hyperactivity. More research, however, is clearly needed before dietary supplements, such as those involving fatty acids can be recommended for clinical use.

III.) L-glutamine: 2,500-3,000mg per day. (This will vary depending on the age and weight of the patient).

IV.) Cal-Mag Amino: (calcium/ magnesium) [Target dose: < 10 years, 1,000mg calcium, > 10 years, 1,200- 1,500 mg calcium with corresponding dose of magnesium].

V.) Grape Seed Extract: 50 mg, 3 times per day with meals.

VI.) L-5-HTP (if indicated by an NT evaluation): dose according to weight in children. In adults, begin with 1 cap, 3 times per day and increase to 2 caps, 3 times per day after two weeks. Use only with medical supervision if antidepressant medications are also being taken.


1.) American Psychiatric Assoc. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fourth Edition, (DSM-IV).
2.) Berkow, Robert, MD, editor-in-chief, et al. The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Treatment, Sixteenth Edition. Merck and Company, N.J., 1992, p. 2269.
3.) John Robbins. Reclaiming our Health: Exploding the Medical Myths and Embracing the Source of True Healing. H.J. Kramer, Inc., 1996.
4.) Prinz RJ, Roberts WR,  Hartman E. Dietary correlates of hyperactive behavior in children. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 1980, 48: 760-769.
5.) Thompson HL Malnutrition as a possible factor in Learning Disabilities. Journ Learn Disab 4:27, 1971.
6.) Trattler R. Better Health Through Natural Healing. McGraw-Hill, 1988,p. 360.
7.) Feingold BF. Why Your Child is Hyperactive. New York: Random House, 1975.
8.) Trites RL, Tryphonas H,  Furguson HB. Treatment of hyperactive and learning disordered children. Baltimore, Univ. Park Press, 1980.
9.) Crook WG. Can What a child eats make him dull, stupid, or hyperactive? Journ learn Disab 13:53-58, 1980.
10.) Needleman HL, Gunnoe C, Leviton A, et al. Deficits in psychological and classroom performance of children with elevated dentine lead levels. New Engl Jour of Med, 1979, 300, 13:689-695.
11.) Thatcher RW. Effects of Low Levels of Cadmium and Lead on cognitive functioning in children. Arch Environ Health 37: 159-166, 1982.
12.) Smith, L. Hyper Kids, Shaw/Spelling Assoc., Santa Monica, CA. 1990.
13.) Winick, M. Fetal Malnutrition and Growth Processes. Hospital Practice, 5:300, May 1970.
14.) Austin P, Thrash A,  Thrash C. More Natural Remedies. Thrash Publications, Seale, AL, 1983, p.64.
15.) Willerman L. Activity level and hyperactivity in twins, Child Devel, 1968,27-34.
16.) Cantwaell D. Psychiatric Illness in the families of Hyperactive Children, Arch Gen Phych, 27:414, 1972.
17.) O’Leary KD, Rosenbaum A, et al.: Flourescent Lighting: A purported source of hyperactive behavior, Jour of Abnorm Child Psych, 6: 1978, p.285-289.
18.) Bandura A, Walters RH. Social Learning and Personality Development. New York: Holt, Reinhart & Winston, 1963.
19.) Rose TL. The functional relationship between artificial food colors and hyperactivity, Jour of Applied Behav Anal, 1978. P.439-446.
20.) Schoenthaler S, et al.: The impact of a low food additive and sucrose diet on Academic performance in 803 New York City public schools. Intl J of Biosoc Rec, 8:185-195, 1986, tacoma, WA.
21.) Silver L. Dr. Larry Silver’s Advice to Parents on Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, American Psychiatric Press, Washington, D.C. 1993, p.119; p. 175-178.
22.) Dr. Myatt’s personal experience using “Patterning” and “Neurological reprogramming” techniques at the A.R.E. Clinic in Phoenix, AZ.,  based on the work of  Drs. Doman and Delicato of the Institute for the Achievement of Human Potential in Philadelphia, PA.
23.) ChevallierA. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants, D.K. Publishing, New York: 1996.
24.) O’Leary KD. Mommy, I Can’t Sit Still, New Horizon Press, 1984, p.90.
25.) Mabey R. The New Age Herbalist, Collier Books, New York:1988.
26.) Duke, J. The Green Pharmacy. Rodale Press, Emmaus, PA: 1997.
27.) Langton J. Orange-flavored Prozac to be aimed at children. Electronic Telegraph @ freepublic.com. Issue 814, August 17, 1997.
28.) Weiss RF. Herbal Medicine. AB Arcanum, Gothenburg, Sweden, 1988.
29.) Holzl J. Constituents and mechanism of action of St. John’s Wort. Zeitschr Phytother 1993;14:255-264.
30.) Ernst E. St. John’s Wort, an anti-depressant? A systematic, criteria-based review. Phytomed, 1995; 2:67-71.
31.) Vorbach EU, et al. Effectiveness and tolerance of the Hypericum extract LI 160 in comparison with imipramine: Randomized double-blind study with 135 outpatients. J Ger Psychiatry Neurol 1994; supplement 1:19-23.
32.) Werbach M, Murray M. Botanical Influences on Illness. Third Line Press, Tarzana, California, 1994, p. 31.
33.) Forester HB, et al. Planta medica, 40:4, p 309, 1980.
34.) Lutomski J, et al. Planta Medica, 27:112, 1975.
35.) Hendriks H, et al. Planta Medica, 45:150, 1982.
36.) Lindhal G, Lindwall L. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 1989;32:1065-66.
37.) Leathwood P, Chauffard F, et al. Aqueous extract of valerian root (Valerian officinalis) improves sleep quality in man. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 1982; 17:65-71.
38.) Leathwood P, Chauffard F. Aqueous extract of valerian reduces latency to fall asleep in man. Planta Medica 1985; 51:144-148.
39.) Dressing H, Riemann, D, Low M, et al. Are valerian/melissa combinations of equal value to benzodiazepine? Therapiewoche 1992; 42:726-36.
40.) Mennini T, Bernasconi P, et.al.: In vitro study on the interaction of extracts and pure compounds of valeriana officinalis roots and GABA, benzodiazepine and barbiturate receptos. Fitoterpia 1993; 64:291-300.
41.) Wohlfort R, Hansel R, Schmidt H. Planta Medica 48:120, 1983.
42.) Hoffman D. The Nervous System, Pacific NW Herbal Symposium conference notes, 1996, P. 74-85.
43.) Csupor L. Quantitative determination of kava lactones in Piper methysticum (Forster), Arch Pharm Ber Dtsch Pharm Ges 303 (3): 193-200, March 1970.
44.) Davies LP, Drew CA, Duffield P, et. al.: Kava pyrones and resins: studies on GABAA, GABAB and benzodiazepine binding sites in rodent brain. Pharmacol Toxicol 71 (2): 120-126, Aug 1992.
45.)MunteTF, Heinze HJ, et.al.: Effects of oxazepam and an extract of kava roots on event-related potential in a word recognition task. Neuropsychobiology 27 (1):46-53, 1993.
46.) Volz HP, Keiser M. Kava-kava extract WS 1490 versus placebo in anxiety disorders— a randomized, placebo controlled 25-week outpatient trial. Pharmacopsychiatry 30 91): 1-S, jan. 1997.
47.) Ruze P.Kava-induced dermopathy: a niacin deficiency? The Lancet 335 (8703):1442-1445, June 1990.
48.) Richardson and Montgomery, Pediatrics, 2005, 115:1360-1366)

Botanical Materia Medica

Group I Medications: Stimulants (Commonly used drugs in this category include methylphenidate [Ritalin], dextroamphetamine [Dexedrine], and pemoline [Cylert]). Mechanism of action: unknown, but proposed to increase the concentration of deficient norepinephrine at the nerve interface (21) or by neurotransmitter modulation at the limbic level (12).

COFFEA arabica, C. canephora – COFFEE
Coffee contains 0.06-0.32% caffeine, theobromine, theophylline and tannins. Caffeine is a strong stimulant, with bronchodilatory and diuretic effects. It’s point of action is the CNS, temporarily improving perception and motor performance (23).  Some physicians have found coffee to be an acceptable alternative to psychostimulant medication, although controlled studies have shown it to be less effective then Ritalin at controlling hyperactivity (24).

COLA acuminata, C. vera, C.nitida- KOLA NUT
Cola nut contains up to 2.5% caffeine (higher than coffee), theobromine, phlobaphene, tannins, anthocyanin, proteins, fats, starch and sugars. The large seeds (nuts) have been used as a digestant and tonic for thousands of years. Kola nut stimulates the CNS (25), increases muscular strength and alertness, and counters lethargy. It has been used historically as an anti-depressant (23).

EPHEDRA sinica, E. vulgaris- EPHEDRA, MA HUANG (Chinese), MORMON TEA
Ephedra contains ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, tannins, saponins, flavones and volatile oils. The main ingredient, ephedrine, mimics adrenaline in the body and acts as a sympathetic nervous system stimulant.  The synthetic alkaloid is a racemic mixture, unlike the whole herb which is levorotatory (28). This may explain why many practitioners find that the whole herb product has significant therapeutic effect at lesser dosages and with fewer side-effects than isolated ephedrine (23).

The seed pulp contains xanthines, a fixed oil, and many unidentified constituents responsible for cocoa’s characteristic flavor. The seeds are also reported to contain an endorphin-like substance that may account for chocolate’s popularity as an antidepressant substance (23).

Damiana contains arbutin, volatile oils, cyanogenic glycosides,resins, gums, and a bitter amorphous principal (damianin). Damiana is best-known as an aphrodisiac and sex stimulant, although there are no reputable studies to support this claim (26). Damiana’s reputation as a CNS tonic and antidepressant is not well-substantiated, but it has been widely esteemed as a stimulant, especially when depression and anxiety occur together (23).

Other stimulant herbs to consider:

PAULLINA cupana, P. sorbilis- GUARANA
Guarana contains the same xanthine derivatives as coffee, with up to 7% caffeine, plus tannins and saponins. Indications are the same as for coffee, but long-term use is not recommended because the high tannin content can impair intestinal absorption (23).

ILEX paraguariensis-MATE
Although Mate contains xanthine derivatives in therapeutically usable amounts (0.2-1.5%), the high tannin content (16%) (23) makes it unsuitable for long-term use, especially in children.

Group II Medications: Antidepressants (Commonly used drugs in this category include tricyclics [Tofranil, Elavil, Norpramin], monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI’s) [Marplan, Nardil], phenothiazines [Mellaril], and serotonin uptake inhibitors [Prozac]). A reported 70-80% of ADD/ADHD children will respond to one of the medications in category I or II or a combination of both (21) and the use of Prozac as a Group II medication is becoming increasingly common in children (27).

Hypericum contains a volatile oil (carophyllene), glycosides ( hypericin and pseudohypericin),  flavonoids, tannins, and resins (23, 25).  It  occupies a special place among antidepressants of all types, being the only proven intermediary between the most powerful psychoactive drugs (Prozac, morphine, opium) and the gentle nervous system effectors such as valerian and hops (28) Various studies have found hypericum as or more effective than certain tricyclics (imipramine, maprotiline) in relieving depression (29,30, 31), with photosensitivity being the only adverse side effect (32).

Group III Medications: “Misc.”:  Antipsychotics and Anti-Seizure Medications (Commonly used drugs in this category include antipsychotics [thioridazine] and anti-seizure medications [Tegretol]). Herbal analogues may have different points of action but serve as antianxiolytics and calmatives. Herbal nervines (tonics) have no equivalent in chemical medicine.

CODONOPSIS pilosula- DANG SHEN (Chinese)
Codonopsis contains triterpenoid saponins, alkaloids (perlolyrin), sterins, glycosides, polysaccharides and Tangshenoside I. Most research on the herb has been conducted in China, where it is regarded as a milder tonic and stimulant than ginseng. Codonopsis has been reported to reduce adrenaline levels (23).

Lemon balm contains flavonoids, triterpenes, polyphenols, tannin and up to .2% volatile oils (citral, carophyllene oxide, linalool, and citronellal). The volatile oils are thought to be the active ingredients (23). German studies have shown that the volatile oils have a CNS calmative effect (33). Balm also has carminative and antispasmodic properties, making it useful in cases where dyspepsia is part of the symptom picture (28). Although relatively safe, it should be used judiciously for long-term management due to its antithyroid effect.

Passion flower contains flavonoids, cyanogenic glycosides, and maltol. Its indole alkaloid content remains in dispute (23).  Passion flower is well researched as a gentle nervous system relaxant and nonaddictive sedative, although it’s mechanism of action is unknown (34).

Skullcap contains flavonoid glycosides (including scutellonin and scutellanein), volatile oil, bitter principals and tannins. The herb enjoys a solid reputation as a nervine, although research is sorely lacking (23,25). The Physiomedicalists (19th-century herbal practitioners) regarded skullcap as a premier herb for hysteria, epilepsy, and rabies – hence the common name “Mad-dogweed.”(23).

Valerian contains valpotriates, glycoside, up to 2% volatile oils (including limonene), alkaloids, choline, tannins and other constituents. Valpotriates are thought to be important in giving valerian its CNS-sedative effect (35). Numerous European studies have confirmed that valerian decreases the sleep latency period and increases quality of sleep without morning “hangover” (36,37,38) and some studies have found it to be superior to the benzodiazepine triazolam (Halcion) (39). Valerian reduces nervous activity by binding to barbiturate (GABA-A) and peripheral benzodiazepine receptors (40).

Hops contains bitter principals (lupulin,lupulon and valerianic acid), up to 1% volatile oils, flavonoids, estrogenic substances and over 100 other compounds (23,25). Hops has a proven sedative action with gastric antispasmodic effects (41).

AVENA sativa- OATS
Oats contain saponins, alkaloids, sterols, flavonoids, starch, proteins (including gluten), fats, minerals (calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, silica and zinc) and B vitamins. Oats have long been used as a nervine; the alkaloid avenine stimulates the CNS in small doses, while larger doses appear to have sedative action (28).

California poppy contains flavone glycosides and alkaloids (protopine,crytopine and chelidonine), which are in the same group of isoquinolines as papverine and narcotine. The effects of poppy are considered to be nervine rather than narcotic, and its antispasmodic and analgesic effects make it useful in children for treating anxiety, nervous tension, and sleep difficulties (42).

PIPER methysticum-KAVA KAVA
Kava kava contains resins (kava lactones) and piperdine alkaloids (43). It is considered a moderately potent anxiolytic, producing stimulation followed by CNS sedation. Large doses may induce sleep. The anti-anxiety effects are similar to oxazepam (44,45), making  it useful in non-psychotic anxiety with or without depression (46). Long-term use may produce “kava dermopathy,” a skin lesion of pigmented scales that occurs predominantly on the soles, palms, forehead, back and shins. The dermopathy retreats with discontinuance of the herb, and there is evidence that this reaction is due to a niacin deficiency (47).

Author’s Note:

Recommended for physicians, parents, and teachers: “Hyper Kids” by Lendon Smith, Shaw/Spelling Assoc., 1990. This workbook provides questionnaires to help physicians and parents sort out causes of ADD/ADHD – from nutrient deficiencies and allergies to malabsorbtion and yeast overgrowth. A very useful resource in differential diagnosis.