This story is about how our Natural Attention-Aid formula come to be and was written by the founder of MMH, Kathy Garber.
Back in the early days when Mountain Meadow Herbs was still in our garage-turned-lab, my young, next-door neighbor stopped by one evening. Holding back the tears I saw pooling in her blue eyes, she told me her husband was once again struggling to keep his job. I knew him as a good, hard-working family man but was unaware that he had a serious inability to focus and concentrate as needed to do his job. This young man had been quietly fighting a losing battle for years and in desperation, he was now on a drug he did not want to be on. The medication was helping to point but there were side effects. While on this drug, life lost its color and, in his words, living had gone flat, and life had become depressing, at best.
Dara asked if there was anything I could do for him. Hoping, maybe, there are herbs that could improve his ability to focus without taking all the beauty out of life? I felt certain there was hope to be found somewhere among the herbs I had grown to love and promised to do my best for her. This lovely young couple had two small children and I wanted to help, so I began a fascinating two-week journey of finding herbs that improve focus and increase one’s ability to concentrate.
As I began the research, one of the first things that struck me was not an herb but the strong connection between calcium deficiency and the inability to be calm, focused, and able concentrate. According to Dr. D. Pauli, an expert at the World Health Organization, a major contributing factor to these issues is poor nutrition.
He explains: “One of the most frequent triggers of ADHD has to do with the child’s nutritional status. When children suffer from deficiencies in important vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and enzymes, their brain’s biochemistry is thrown out of balance and they develop symptoms that are then labeled as ADHD. Calcium, chromium, and selenium deficiencies are among the common mineral deficiencies detected in children with ADHD”. I found more studies pointing to calcium deficiencies being the main culprit and focused on learning its role in the brain.
Calcium is the molecule responsible for switching the nerve cells on. It controls the absorption of neurotransmitters (the messengers that stimulate nerve cells); calcium then initiates the nerve impulse that transmits the message along with the nerve cell. And finally, it initiates the release of neurotransmitters, enabling the nerve cell to pass its message on to the correct, targeted cells and organs. Calcium is clearly needed, not just for strong bones, but also for normal brain function.
Put simply, calcium controls many of the important functions in brain cells and without enough of the controlling hand of this mineral, the brain stops functioning properly. And there is more to this mischief, insufficient calcium in the brain leads to the spontaneous initiation of nerve impulses and creates short circuits between cells. This means messages are created for no reason and that real, important messages end up in the wrong place. Imagine the disruptive confusion in a calcium-deficient brain!
So, calcium in a highly absorbable form immediately became the first item on my list to suggest. Because so much was at stake, I was hesitant to rely on calcium alone. I wanted to find herbs that would be supportive of normal brain function and bring a calming balance without taking all the color out of life. I was delighted to find these four promising herbs:
American Ginseng Root Extract:
More often used as an adaptogen to help the body handle stress without becoming ill, this Ginseng is potentially helpful in improving the function of brain neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine. It may also have a positive effect on brain cell communication and development.
Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract
With minimal side effects, Ginkgo has been shown to significantly improve frustration tolerance, concentration, and immature behaviors. Ginkgo may improve blood and oxygen circulation to the brain allowing for better learning and less impulsiveness.
Gotu Kola Leaf Extract
This herb is rich in the nutrients needed for healthy brain function, better concentration and attentiveness, stronger mental clarity, and less anxiety. It can also be soothing to the central nervous system.
Valerian Root Extract:
While the main effect of this herb in humans is reducing the amount of time it takes to fall asleep and improved sleep quality, it may also lessen anxiety, ease restlessness, calm aggression and it may even support learning.
Armed with what I had learned, I carefully made beautiful golden extracts of the four roots and leaves to create a simple but potent remedy. I carried my gift in an amber glass bottle, along with the calcium I trusted to be the best, to my neighbor's house, praying it would work and be the blessing it was meant to be to this young family.
About a month, later I answered a knock on my lab door and found Dara standing there holding an empty amber bottle. I invited her in hoping desperately she had come for more because that would mean the herbs had lived up to their promise. To my great joy, she quietly asked if she could get a quart of the herbal remedy. This time, tears did spill out as we talked. Dara shared how the herbs were changing her husband’s life.
He was himself again, the man she had fallen in love with, married, and was building a life and family with.
Full of hope and optimism, he was finally able to focus and concentrate at work. He was no longer in danger of losing his job; instead, his efforts were being noticed and complimented. She was so proud of him and grateful to relax in the stability of knowing he could now consistently provide and care for his own.
I was humbled, thrilled, and awed all at the same time to see, again, the wonder and near magic hidden in the plants our Creator so generously made available to us. Fifteen years later it is still an unforgettable honor to have been a part of making an amazing difference for my neighbor with nature’s gifts. That remedy has gone on to bless many struggling parents whose children suffer under the label modern medicine applies when children are constantly restless, fidgety, anxious, aggressive, and unable to focus or do well in school.