Medicinal Herbs and ADHD

Key Topics: Medicinal Herbs
April 7, 2023 • 38:57 min

About this Episode

In this episode of the Medicinal Herbs podcast from WholisticMatters, guest Marisa Marciano, ND, RH, returns to talk with host Daina Parent, ND, about the common clinical conditions and concerns she sees in her practice and the medicinal role played by herbs. Some of the most common issues Marisa addresses with her patients involve stress, hormones, and digestion. Additionally, Marisa and Daina talk about their favorite herbal home remedies for culinary and first-aid applications.

How Are Herbs Used in Clinical Practice?

The very first thing that comes to Marisa’s mind when she ponders the most common conditions she addresses in her practice: stress. Even when a patient doesn’t specifically complain about stress, it’s usually at least a piece of what is going on, Marisa says (01:38). Stress manifests differently for everyone, but some related clinical concerns may include:

  • Sleep issues
  • Anxiety
  • Low mood

People assume nothing can really be done about stress; many people Marisa sees in her clinic have tried different things without success. Often people dealing with stress are described as “tired and wired,” though stress can impact the body system-wide, including the cardiovascular, immune, and digestive systems.

Specific Herbs for Stress (05:12)

  • Chamomile: A nervine relaxant commonly known to be a bedtime tea, but it doesn’t necessarily make you sleepy
  • Holy basil: A nervine tonic
  • Skullcap: A nervine tonic with a long traditional use for stress and tension, especially in the jaw, shoulder, and neck

In addition to these nervine herbs, Marisa likes adaptogens like Ashwagandha for stress, especially when combined with insomnia. Ashwagandha may help regulate cortisol levels. Additionally, valerian may be helpful for stress, and dosing is particularly important for this herb as it impacts how it will act in the body.

>> Learn more about the herbal terms “nervine,” “tonic,” and “adaptogen” (09:50)

Herbs for Hormonal Concerns

For the variety of hormonal concerns that she addresses in her practice (PMS, menopause, menstrual cramping), Marisa uses adaptogenic herbs, especially those with phytoestrogens, which modulate estrogen activity and the affinity of endogenous estrogen receptors (13:53). An important herb for hormonal concerns is chaste tree, which acts on the pituitary gland. Regarding hormone health, liver support is important as well (18:13). For liver support, Marisa likes milk thistle and schisandra.

Herbs for Digestive Issues

Regarding digestive complaints, Marisa emphasizes the importance of first addressing the diet and even considering stress as the underlying issue (21:53). Herbs commonly used to address digestive problems act quickly. Marisa recommends utilizing bitter herbs before eating and carminative herbs after eating. Bitter herbs have volatile oils and aromatic properties that work to relax smooth muscle within the digestive tract. Herbs commonly used for digestive issues include:

Herbal Home Remedies

The best herbs for home remedies are those with a very long history of safe use, to be used for mild, everyday complaints (27:38).

Culinary Applications of Herbal Medicine

For herbs and medicinal plants used in the kitchen, Marisa enjoys carminatives for their pleasant taste and aroma, including:

“Your kitchen cabinet can be a medicine cabinet,” Marisa says. Her favorite spices include cinnamon and cumin (34:25). A few tips for your culinary medicine cabinet:

  • Use more than a tiny sprinkle; add extra herbs
  • Keep your herbs and spices fresh
  • Invest in a mortar and pestle for ultimate botanical freshness

Herbs Used in First-aid

Marisa utilizes calendula, an herb known as a wound healer, which can be infused into oils, salves, and ointments (32:51).



In this podcast, Marisa reminds our listeners that herbalists should work within their scope, and non-herbalists should work with a qualified healthcare practitioner. It is important to be aware of the potential for adverse reactions. Monitor appropriately, treat the root cause, and treat only in cases of mild-to-moderate severity. Lastly, medicinal herbs in clinical practice need to be used alongside appropriate diet and lifestyle changes for best results.

Scientifically driven. Education focused. Healing Inspired.

Subscribe to Insights

Receive clinically driven nutrition insights you can trust.

Animated Newsletter WM

Join Our Community to Read Further

This is a premium article created for our Healthcare Practitioner readers. Create a free account to continue reading and gain full access.



WholisticMatters offers health care practitioners and nutrition enthusiasts alike the opportunity to create a free profile for access to site features like bookmarking. Enjoying an article you are reading or a video you are watching? Save it to come back to later! Sign up in seconds for continuous access to all that WholisticMatters has to offer.

WholisticMatters also offers health care practitioners who create a free user profile access to exclusive content and tools to utilize in clinical practice. Articles, tools, and downloads created specifically for practitioners to use in their office for better patient education in clinical nutrition and health. Sign up today with your email and credentials so we can confirm you as a health care practitioner, and you are free to peruse the resources unique to you and your colleagues in health.


Create Your Account:

show-pass Please use 8 or more characters with a mix of letters, numbers & symbols

Create a free account to use our great bookmarking tool

Once your account is created, you'll be able to save and organize what matters to you!

Already have an Account? Login Here

Click 'Sign Up' above to accept Wholistic Matters's Terms of Service & Privacy Policy.

Are you a Healthcare Professional? Sign Up For Free Access!

We'll verify your credentials and get you access to our great interactive tools.

Already have an Account? Login Here

Click 'Sign Up' above to accept Wholistic Matters's Terms of Service & Privacy Policy.