3 herbs to help with ADHD

Yesterday I had the opportunity to speak to a group of parents at an awesome activity facility here in Ottawa called NUTS about 3 herbs to help with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

The kids got to participate in the fun obstacle racing and trivia activities at NUTS while I sat down with the parents to discuss the topics of herbal medicine. This was my second talk on ADHD at NUTS. If you’d like more info on nutrition for ADHD see my blog post: Back to School with ADHD: Natural tips to help with the transition.

Here is a summary of the 3 herbs we discussed to help with ADHD:

  1. Chamomile: This herb is easily found as a tea and is very calming to the nervous system. The calming effects can help with anxiety and insomnia. Chamomile also supports digestion and calms a nervous stomach. The digestive tract is commonly known as the ‘Second Brain’ since it contains a large amount of nerves and is connected directly to the brain by the vagus nerve. This communication between the brain and the gut goes both ways. So the way you think can affect your digestion and what is going on in your digestive tract can influence your mood and mental state. Chamomile is also a great herb to brew and add to your child’s bathwater because it is anti-inflammatory and soothing for nervous skin irritations like eczema.
  2. Lavender: This herb is also calming for the nervous system and can help with anxiety and insomnia. The essential oil is often used to promote the relaxation response and shift the nervous system from a state of ‘fight or flight’ to a state of calmness. You can add the essential oil, lavender flowers or brewed lavender tea to your child’s bathwater for a calming effect. The essential oil can be added to a diffuser or humidifier in your child’s bedroom to promote sleep. Putting lavender essential oil onto a tissue and helping your child practice alternate nostril breathing is a great method for self-relaxation. Finally, new research is showing lavender can be just as effective at calming anxiety as low dose pharmaceutical medication. Check out this research summary for more info.
  3. Licorice:  This herb in tea form is quite sweet so kids tend to like it! Licorice has adaptogenic properties which means it helps your body regulate cortisol (the stress hormone) and adapt to stressful situations. Adrenaline is the common name for the hormone cortisol, and I’m sure we have all experienced the feeling of running on adrenaline! The body pumps out adrenaline to keep us alert during stressful periods, however if it is constantly in a state of high adrenaline this can lead to burnout. Ideally we want to balance periods of high adrenaline with periods of relaxation, and licorice root helps support your body’s ability to adapt to stressful situations. Finally, as an added benefit, licorice helps heal the mucous membranes lining the digestive tract and can help heal food sensitivity reaction associated with ADHD.

For more information on herbal medicine and how to administer herbal remedies to your child, check out my post from yesterday: Herbal Medicine for your child: Tips and tricks for administering herbs.


Herbal Medicine for your child: Tips and tricks for administering herbs

Herbal medicine for children can be very helpful for a variety of conditions. Commone reasons parents turn towards herbal options include the treatment of cold/flu symptoms, digestive complaints, as well as supporting mood and sleep difficulties.

While using herbal options can provide a natural alternative, it is important to remember that just because a product is natural, does not mean it is safe.  Always consult your primary health care provider and read the warning labels prior to starting a new product. For herbs, it is especially important to be aware of potential allergies if you or your child have seasonal allergies. Click HERE to read my post on supplement safety.

Herbal remedies come in different forms such as teas, tinctures and capsules.


Teas tend to be made up of raw parts of a plant including the roots, leaves and flowers. When teas are steeped in boiling water, the heat releases the phytochemicals from the plant and provides a low-dose herbal effect.

Tips for giving your child a tea:

  1. Make an iced tea: Brew a batch of tea, let it cool, add a little juice for flavour or fresh fruit and store it in the fridge.
  2. Make a tea popsicle: Brew a batch of tea, blend it with fruit and freeze it using popsicle molds.
  3. Make a tea smoothie: Brew a batch of tea, let it cool and use it as a smoothie base instead of plain water or milk.
  4. Add tea to the bathwater: Brew a batch of tea, let it cool and add it to your child’s bath water so it can be absorbed through the skin!

Herbal tinctures:

A herbal tincture is more concentrated than a tea. Raw parts of a plant including the root, leaves and flowers are soaked in alcohol to further pull out the medicinal ingredients of the plants.

Herbal tinctures are stronger than teas, and often come in dropper bottles so they are great for adjusting dosages to meet your child’s individual needs and weight. This is also great for the sensitive child because you can start at a super low dose and work your way up to a higher therapeutic dose as needed.

Tips for giving your child an herbal tincture:

  1. Take a juice shot: Mix the herbal tincture into a shot glass with some juice (grape, blueberry and cranberry work great to mask the flavour) and have your child ‘shoot it’ followed by a glass of water. This method allows your child to only take 1 sip of the ‘yucky flavour’ versus diluting it in water and taking multiple sips of the ‘yucky flavour’.
  2. Blend it in a smoothie: Add the herbal tincture to a smoothie. Your child may not even notice it is there…but if they do it can ruin the flavour of the entire smoothie! try different combinations of flavours until you find one that works.
  3. Add it to a fruity tea: Add the herbal tincture to a cup of hot fruity tea. The hot water will evaporate the alcohol and hopefully the fruity tea flavour will mask the flavour of the tincture. Then follow the tips for administering teas above.

Herbal capsules/tablets:

Herbal capsules/tablets tend to be the most concentrated form of herbal medicine. This method is great for older children who are able to easily swallow pills and it bypasses any flavour issues.

Tips for giving your child a capsule/tablet:

  1. Mix capsule contents into food: Some capsules can be opened and the contents mixed with food like mashed banana, mashed potato, apple sauce, yogurt or blended in a smoothie to mask the flavour. If your child needs more flexible dosing or cannot swallow pills easily, consider a tincture or tea over a capsule.
  2. Crush the tablet: Some tablets can be crushed with a pill cutter (available at the pharmacy). Just double check that the herbal tablet is not formulated as a timed-release formula as these cannot be cut because it will alter the dose delivered.

Please share your tips and tricks for herbal medicine!

Eco Chic Gifts AKA Veggie Stamping Workshop!

veggie stamping 002 copy

Introduction to Guided Meditation

Introduction to Guided Meditation
Tuesday, November 28th 7:30-9 pm

Location: Dr. Ellen Simone ND & Associates, 1390 Prince of Wales Drive Suite 205, Ottawa, K2C 3N6
Hosted by Tanys Coughlin Reiki Master

Do you have trouble meditating? Do you find the thought of meditating overwhelming?

Do you like the energy of a group meditation?

Join us for a meditation evening and learn with a group of like minded individuals!

Cost: $20

Space is limited so please contact ellen@drellensimone.com to reserve your spot!

You’re invited to Reiki Share!

You’re invited to Reiki Share!
Thursday November 16th 7-9 pm

Location: Dr. Ellen Simone ND & Associates, 1390 Prince of Wales Drive, Ottawa, K2C 3N6
Hosted by Ellen Simone, ND, Kelly Sabara, RM and Tanys Coughlin, RM

Reiki share is an evening event where community comes together to learn more about, practice and enjoy Reiki. Reiki share night open to the general public, Reiki practitioners and Reiki Masters.

You are invited to connect with healing energy in a group setting, learn and participate in Reiki healing techniques and have a hands-on Reiki treatment from multiple practitioners attending the Reiki share night.

If you are new to Reiki, this is a great way to learn what Reiki is.  If you are a Reiki practitioner, this is a great way to practice the techniques you have learned in your Reiki course and to further your development with Reiki energy.

Cost: $10 (cash only)

Space is limited so please contact info@kellysabara.com to reserve your spot!

Fasting: a feast for the body!

Fasting: a feast for the body!
Saturday, November 11th 2-3 pm

Location: Dr. Ellen Simone ND & Associates, 1390 Prince of Wales Drive Suite 205, Ottawa, K2C 3N6
Hosted by Corinne Ardon

Join Corinne Ardon as she shares her personal experience and attempts with fasting. You will learn the difference between fasting and a low calorie diet as well as the history, tradition and ancient practices related to fasting and its benefits.

Corinne will discuss the social and psychological aspects surrounding fasting such as one’s mindset, attitude towards food, social pressures, challenges with fasting.

You will take away practical ideas and suggestions for including various types of fasting schedules into your life to suit your particular needs.

Cost: FREE

Space is limited, please contact Corinne at cva.lingua@gmail.com to reserve your spot!

3 key questions to ask your insurance provider to maximize the use of your health insurance plan

It’s that time of year when the weather changes, we prepare for the joy of the holidays, and your group benefits run out!

Generally, private health plans provided by your employer renew January 1st which means if you didn’t use it you will lose it.

In Canada, every insurance provider covers naturopathic medicine, it just depends on what your employer has chosen to be part of your plan.

Here’s 3 key questions to ask your insurance provider to maximize the use of your health insurance plan:

  1. How much money is allocated each year for you to spend? Most plans cover $300-$1000 per year for naturopathic treatments.  Most plans will cover a percentage of each treatment. For example, if you use $100 and you are 80% covered you will receive $80 back and only pay $20 out of pocket for the service. Other plans have a dollar amount they provide per treatment. For example, you can receive a maximum of $25 per treatment, regardless if the treatment cost $50 or $100.
  2. How is my money allocated based on the type of service I use? Some plans offer $500 to use for EACH type of health care such as naturopath, chiropractor, registered massage therapist, physiotherapy, etc. This means you get to spend $500 for EACH service. Other plans offer $500 TOTAL for the year to be used as you wish. This means you could use $300 for the chiropractor, $150 for the naturopath, and $50 for the massage therapist and the TOTAL amount you can use for ANY service in ANY combination is $500.
  3. What date does my insurance plan renew? For example, the federal government and city of Ottawa plans renew January 1st and follow the calendar year. I have observed other plans that renew in May or August. It is important to know when your plan renews so you don’t miss out on using your health care benefits.

If you’d like to learn more about your group benefit plan, the best route is to contact your insurance provider with your plan number and they will be able to explain in detail what you and your family are covered for.

Another option is to speak to your human resources department.

If your employer is currently not offering a group benefits plan, please speak with your human resources department.  They can contact the different insurance providers to receive a quote on what would be best for your workplace based on the size and needs of the employees.

What if you are self-employed?

Often, you can be added to a spouse’s plan if they are insured. Or you have the option of purchasing your own group benefits plan through an insurance broker. This is a great idea in order to provide these services to you and your family, especially dental care! And it doubles as a business expense and tax write-off.

I hope you enjoyed these tips to maximize the use of your health insurance plan!