Saffron extract for ADHD : I wanted to... - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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Saffron extract for ADHD

MissDee3 profile image
19 Replies

I wanted to see if anyone has used this with their children and if they found it to be beneficial. Also, which did you try?

My 10 year old has combined ADHD and ticks. He currently is taking Strattera, which has helped but I still feel he needs something else.

I would love to hear your feedback

thank you

19 Replies
Pattimum profile image

Ask your child’s psychiatrist about Periactin. Many parents here on this forum recommend it, it’s an antihistamine but it seems it also helps with tics, it improves appetite and more.

MissDee3 profile image
MissDee3 in reply to Pattimum

thank you for the input. I’ve actually never heard of this before. I have read that long term use of antihistamine can cause dependency therefore needing to increase dosage. I’ve also read that it may increase the risk of dementia. I work in the medical field with adults and in our practice we don’t recommend long term antihistamine use.

Pattimum profile image
Pattimum in reply to MissDee3

You would have to ask your child’s doctor for how long to use Periactin. I understand that it doesn’t have to be used long term- let’s say for the whole life.

This is good information for parents but doesn’t present all the benefits of Periactin.

I have never read about any longitudinal studies detecting link of antihistamines usage and dementia. My grandma is now 97 and has been allergic all her life, used various antihistamine throughout her life and she doesn’t have dementia (has high blood pressure and had 1 stroke when she wasn’t taking her blood pressure tablets), for what I understand with dementia is genes plus environmental factors. I know how it’s quite well evidenced that there is a very strong link for lead exposure (for example lead water pipes in areas where water is more acidic) and later life dementia, also repeated trauma to head the same as American football players or in the UK rugby (a lot of trauma to the head)- this all is very well evidenced that it causes early onset dementia, and lots to read about it in medical journals…

I have heard about Periactin from parents from the US. It’s also used in Canada. In Europe it seems it’s not used so much but Europe is not as advanced in pharmacotherapy as US is.

UncleMuscles profile image
UncleMuscles in reply to MissDee3

Periactin was problematic for my child’s mood after enough time on it - from infancy to age 3 or 4. The child psychiatrist confirmed this was a side effect in the literature that is just not well-known. It manifested as head-banging in my boy whom is not autistic. He is 7 y.o. now, has severe ADHD, history of stroke, cerebral palsy, developmental delay, etc.

UncleMuscles profile image

I tried that saffron over the summer. I used Olly brand gummy worms, which cost about $15. I took the recommendation after reading a book about a theory on the effects supplements and neutracueticals have on the various brain types. I was sort of guessing that my son’s brain type was “Sensitive” and that he was low on serotonin. The book recommended saffron for this.

See Amen, Daniel, “You, Happier: The 7 Neuroscience Secrets of Feeling Good Based on Your Brain Type”, (Tyndale, 2022). Try Googling it to get a preview on Google Books.

That’s science that’s still in its infancy but I figured hey it couldn’t hurt (Olly is just over-the-counter). Anyways, I was targeting it’s use to make serotonin - the natural mood booster, as they call it (

Looking back, he did indeed have a happy 12 weeks at summer camp with his brother. I have no regrets but I also can’t just recommend it to you because I don’t know if your child is low on serotonin or even if this science is real. Try the book at your local library and see it for yourself. It was kind of fun.

MissDee3 profile image
MissDee3 in reply to UncleMuscles

thank you for the input and providing that information. I will definitely look in to it. There’s different options on saffron extract so it’s hard to pin down which one to try. My son has a neurologist and she stated that the reports have shown positive outcomes though she has yet to try it on her patients.

MissDee3 profile image
MissDee3 in reply to UncleMuscles

I picked up the Olly. I saw that it had vitamin D as well, which is a supplement he’s already talking. I’ll monitor for a month and come back to report.

UncleMuscles profile image
UncleMuscles in reply to MissDee3

Okay, good luck 🤞🏼

I am also interested in trying it again.

Onthemove1971 profile image

We have no experience with Safron, but very very positive experience with the non-stimulant- Initvi (Guanfacine ). It really has helped with focus and mood control. We really notice a difference when she misses a dose. Like others a child psychiatrist has worked for years and really been the key for us.

There have also been posts in the past on this forum so you could search for them and reach out to that parent.

MissDee3 profile image
MissDee3 in reply to Onthemove1971

we actually did try this medication and I did see a slight improvement at first. When we tried to up the dosage, my son was constantly tired. I didn’t see much change as far as mood. He was still usually frustrated. I noticed with Strattera his mood has improved and so did the motor tics but verbal tics are still going along with hyperactivity.

BVBV profile image

One of the supplements my son takes, ChildCalm by Zahler, has saffron as one of the few ingredients but I can’t say how much of an impact it has with the other ingredients.

MissDee3 profile image
MissDee3 in reply to BVBV

that was the one that I was looking to purchase

Peerandparent profile image

There really isn't any clinical evidence to support supplements such as saffron extract. Unfortunately there is little to no regulations when it comes to supplements, and they can make all sorts of health claims without any basis to support it. There is also either no or next to no oversight when it comes to ingredients of supplements, and often expensive things like saffron are replaced in part or whole by cheaper alternatives. The person who experienced a good summer for their son might have had more to do with having novelty in his routine, a change of environment/expectations, a placebo effect on the parents (i.e. they're giving the supplement and are expecting to see change), or a number of other things. I know for me growing up pre-diagnosis, I'd often find life easier for a little while after a change of environment. I think that, coupled with being a military brat who moved frequently, delayed my diagnosis substantially.

For a little while they were thinking micronutrient supplements might help with ADHD, but the studies showed that it only provided help to people who were already seriously deficient (often in iron). And the symptoms that improved were more likely a symptom of the deficiency. Omega 3's also showed initial promise but didn't pan out when studied systematically.

As for antihistamines and dementia, the research is still in the works, and it references a specific class of antihistamine which isn't the class to which Periactin belongs. The research also admits that they haven't yet determined if there are confounding factors (for example, it could be the underlying allergies that are the true risk factor) That being said, I haven't heard of Periactin for ADHD, so would have to do some more reading before commenting, or just suggest you talk to your doctor.

As for long-term effects of medication, as my psychiatrist put it, it's important to balance the short term costs of not medicating to the long-term costs of medicating or not. In my case, given that being unmedicated lead to unemployment, severe depression and a nervous breakdown, the long-term risks are far less being on medication.

My personal feeling is that most medical treatments for ADHD get out of the system relatively quickly and have no lasting ill effects. There is no other psychiatric disorder that has better researched treatments than ADHD, and there is a host of research on efficacy, as well as short and long term side effects. Any time I've seen people claiming that the meds are dangerous it's always been the case that they don't differentiate between substance abuse and prescribed medication. Yes, one can become tolerant to stimulants over time, but that's generally measured in decades, and can be resolved by either a small dosage adjustment, or a change to an alternate medication. I've been taking methylphenidate in some form or another for about 25 years, and have only seen a small increase in that time, and that's more because I believe I underdosed for years because of my own fears about the medication, and not because I developed any sort of tolerance.

My best advice is to follow the science, and learn as much as you can about ADHD and ways you can adapt as a parent, help support him in developing strategies and adaptations that work for him, as the supplements are largely little more than snake oil sold to give hope to tired and frustrated (and sometimes desperate) parents.

MaudQ profile image
MaudQ in reply to Peerandparent

Agree with all of this. I would run any supplements - and the dose - by your kid's doctor. It is actually possible to have negative results or interactions from supplements.

UncleMuscles profile image
UncleMuscles in reply to Peerandparent

Great post by Peerandparent. Prescribed medication in conjunction with Parent Behavioral Training (PBT) is the best known general answer for treating ADHD in kids. If you’re doing that and it’s not working, first try something new in the PBT or ask your child psychiatrist to try a new prescription. Do one at a time. Don’t add any supplements during this fluctuation period.

I tried saffron during a period of stability on the meds.

Aspen797 profile image

As Onthemovenoted, Guanfacine helps with reducing tics and also helps with impulsivity and emotional regulation. Our psychiatrist added it to our son’s Focalin to allow for a lower dose of stimulant.

BStron profile image

I did read about the same. I give my 12 yr old a few saffron threads in the morning milkshake. My kid likes the taste. Not sure if it helps or not.

MissDee3 profile image
MissDee3 in reply to BStron

I wondered about the taste or if he would notice if I blended it into something.

BStron profile image

it has a subtle flavor. you cannot tell if mixed with chocolate powder or protein powder or fruit smoothie

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