Natural Alternatives: Gotu Kola, Guarana for Treating ADHD

Parents of ADHD children and adults with ADHD share stories about using Gotu Kola and Guarana with mixed results in treatment of ADHD. Also a warning about herbal stimulant Guarana.

Gotu Kola - Centella asiatic

The following is excerpted from the Health Search newspaper published by Wilson Publications, Owensboro, KY 42303

Also known as Centella asiatica, this oriental herb has demonstrated mild tranquilizing, anti-anxiety and anti-stress effects, as well as enhancing mental functions such as concentration. It is commonly used to improve memory and treat fatigue, both mental and physical.

Mary writes......

"I muscle test my son to see what supplements he needs. He does call for Pedi Active in spurts. He says it helps him concentrate and it does seem to help.

We will continue to use it.

Muscle testing is a form of kineseology that can be life saving. You test each vitamin by holding it close to your body and asking whether you need it or not. Your body will answer the questions you ask. It sounds really weird. But my son and I lived in a toxic house and were VERY ill. I was taught this method of testing vitamins and it pulled me off the death bed. THE most important technique I ever learned.

I live in USA. I think that everyone needs to learn this technique. I wrote down all the supplements that you had in alternative treatments and tested them on my son. Found out that he needs Nutri-kids School Aid, Gotu Kola and NAET.

Fortunately I know how to do NAET, so we will continue using it. So I am adding the Nutri-kids school Aid and Gotu Kola to his daily muscle testing vitamins. I test my own vitamins at least three times a day as I am still dealing with mercury toxicity. I want to thank you for you web page. I am on my way there next to find out where to get the Nutrikids.

Again, I can not tell you how important the muscle testing techniques is. I know several people who use it. There are a few methods of doing it."


Linda wrote to us saying:
"There is a natural herb called Guarana that has been found to be successful with many children, that is 100% natural and has the same results, if not better than the meds.

If anyone is interested in trying the Guarana for their ADD or ADHD children, or even adults, please let me know. They can get it through me and I have a dosage schedule for kids of different ages. They have nothing to lose since all Herbalife products have a 30 day money back guarantee. What Herbalife normally does is even if they don't get the results they are looking for within 30 days, they give them a free bottle to give it 60 days for results since not everyone's metabolism is the same. They just need the empty bottle from the first 30 days returned for the refund. I will be happy to give my home phone# to anyone who is interested. I have 2 children on it now, ages 10 and 17 and they love it. They are getting the same results in school, plus they don't get the zombie feeling that Ritalin tends to give them. The 17yr old, did his own research on long term effects of Ritalin, and got to the point where he refused to take it anymore, so we gave the Guarana a try. He has talked to some of his friends about trying it for them, but alot of these kids think its really cool to be taking a narcotic drug and do it legally, and then alot of the parents don't want to switch. One because their insurance pays for it, even though they still wind up paying a good amount for what insurance doesn't cover and two, because they are skeptical of taking them off of something that works, and three because their can be an issue with their schools as far as taking pills go.

Anyway, thank you for your time and concern and if I can be of any help to anyone in the future, please let me know. Oh by the way, Guarana comes in tablet form and concentrate which is a tea. "

Thank you


Below is a copy of part of a letter Morgan sent to Linda, Morgan copied this to us and requested we added this information.

"'Guaranas' active agent is [identical to] caffeine. On, you told of children on ritalin switching to guarana; with equal results. This is a dangerous, and sorry to say it, ignorant assertion. I also find it impossible to believe.

The nuerological effects of guarana are completely different than Ritalin, an amphetamine which affects nuerotransmitters in the brain. It doesn't simply work because it is a STIMULANT.

If you gave a hyperactive kid guarana, they'd go as crazy as a jungle monkey. I know I did, and do still, on guarana or other caffeiene source."

Morgan also sent this to us at

"It is NOT a 'theory' that guarana is bad for ADD sufferers, it is a clear medical reality. IT IS CAFFEINE. At the least, it affects adults and children with ADD exactly the same as everyone else.

I would further hypothesise that ADD sufferers have a more heightened response to caffeine. I notice what it does to me, guarana or otherwise."

Mike from California wrote to us saying:

"Hello, I just wanted to put in my 2 cents worth on the Guarana....

Saying Guarana is a "Glorified Caffeine", would be the same as saying Adrenaline is the same as Caffeine. Inspection of the Guarana molecular structure clearly shows it to be a separate structure, with differences as significant as the difference between Caffeine and Adrenaline.

I use it for ADD on a daily basis and it works wonderfully for me. Coffee does not, Being ADD, it is my choice of medication, as it is not only functional in keeping me focused, it is also inexpensive and readily available. I do not sell it! So I'm not saying this for money. I also do not sell any other meds, so it doesn't cost me any lost revenues to suggest it is very much worth a try. I've been using it for over eight years and it works for me.

This is in no way a suggestion that it will or will not work for anyone else, but if it does, great. Everybody is different and has different reactions to similar types of compounds.

I think to state out of hand that it wouldn't or couldn't work is irresponsible, as much or more so than to say it does. I don't have a PhD at the end of My name to "Qualify" my statement but I have been ADD all my life, so I speak from experience and directly from the heart.

I was in serious trouble until I started using Guarana, had not finished any thing in my life ( Lots of starts), and literally could not remember if I was coming or going. It drove me to depression and tears.

I do not claim it as any sort of cure, as I regress to confusion without it. I don't know why it works for me.

Thank You"

We checked out Guarana on the net and found the main site for the people who manufacture this as a drink. It was very interesting what they had to say about Guarana for ADHD and how they are "quite skeptical about many of these stories":

"Guarana (pronounced gwa-ra-naa) is a berry that grows in Venezuela and the northern parts of Brazil. The name 'Guarana' comes from the Guarani tribe that lives in Brazil. Guarana plays a very important role in their culture, as this herb is believed to be magical, a cure for bowel complaints and a way to regain strength. They also tell the myth of a 'Devine Child', that was killed by a serpent and whos eyes gave birth to this plant. Guarana's biological name, Paullinia Cupana, was taken from the German medical botanist C.F. Paullini, who discovered the tribe and the plant in the 18th century. The taste of Guarana is distinctive and unique, and the main reason for its success in Brazil as a soft drink. The main ingredient of guarana is guaranine, which is chemically identical to caffeine. This is the reason for the energy boost people get after taking guarana."

They go on to say...

"A negative side effect of its popularity is the mystification of guarana. Some companies market their Guarana-based products as a drug doing miracles for headaches, overweight, neurological disorders like ADHD, and numerous other diseases. We are quite skeptical about many of these stories, but feel free to share your experiences with these products in our Guarana forum."

Mary Kay from USA says.........

"I have never taken Guarana as something to relieve my ADHD, but I do know the following about guarana:

1.) It's a berry
2.) Guarana is often used in "designer drinks" that contain herbs, berries, etc for alternative/non-traditional uses or "sports drinks".
3.) Guarana is used in these "energy-booster" drinks because it contains caffeine.

I thought I'd put that last part because I know some of your remedies on your site include the removal of caffeine from one's diet.

Just thought you should know."

Report highlights potential dangers of supplements

Reuters Health 2003-01-10

By Amy Norton

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Better safety monitoring is needed for dietary supplements, some of which have the potential for "substantial hazard," according to a US study released Thursday. The study of 11 poison control centers nationwide found that the centers received more than 2,300 calls about dietary supplements in 1998. In all, researchers believe nearly 500 people had symptoms likely caused by a supplement, and the "adverse events" ranged from mild to serious.

In fact, one third of supplement-related problems were moderate or severe, according to findings published in the January 11th issue of The Lancet. Serious symptoms included seizure, heart-rhythm disturbances and liver dysfunction, among other problems. Four deaths were thought to be tied to supplements. These poison-control figures cannot be used to estimate the safety risk to the average consumer taking dietary supplements, since many variables go into that, the study authors point out. Still, they say the findings highlight the fact that supplements, despite their widespread "natural" image, can carry side effects.

"The most important implication for the general public is that serious adverse events do occur (with) over-the-counter dietary supplements," Dr. Susan Smolinske, one of the study authors, told Reuters Health.

The side effects, if any, naturally vary with the supplement, added Smolinske, of Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.

In this study, she said, some of the supplements "more likely to be a problem" included ma huang, guarana, ginseng and St. John's wort, as well as products containing multiple active ingredients.

Ma huang, also known as ephedra, is an ingredient of some supplements touted for weight loss. The herb affects the cardiovascular and central nervous systems, and has already been linked to the risk of seizure, heart attack and sudden death, even in healthy people. The US Food and Drug Administration has issued an alert warning consumers against its use, particularly along with caffeine.

Guarana is another herbal stimulant used in some products sold as energy boosters and diet aids. Potential side effects include nausea, anxiety and irregular heartbeat. Both ginseng and St. John's wort can interact with certain prescription drugs. And heavy overdoses of ginseng have been reported to cause sleeplessness, muscle tension and swelling. Dietary supplement refers to a broad category of products that includes herbs, vitamins, minerals, amino acids and various traditional "remedies." Unlike drugs, these products are not evaluated by the US Food and Drug Administration for safety and effectiveness before hitting the market.

According to Smolinske and her colleagues, their findings suggest that dietary supplements require better surveillance--"particularly mandatory reporting of adverse events." In addition, they call for a comprehensive registry of dietary supplements so that information on their intended effects and side effects is easily accessible to poison control centers and others. Only about a third of the supplements reported to the centers were listed on the main commercial database that poison-control staff use.

The findings also "warrant concern" about the lack of child-resistant packaging on supplements, the study authors add. Among the reports of adverse symptoms were 48 cases involving children who accidentally took a supplement.

Ed. Note: Please remember, we do not endorse any treatments and strongly advise you to check with your doctor before using, stopping or changing any treatment


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APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, December 21). Natural Alternatives: Gotu Kola, Guarana for Treating ADHD, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 15 from

Last Updated: February 12, 2016

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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