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SnakeOilThere’s a new medication, or natural supplement on the market, depending in which field you are standing.
It’s called Pycnogenol, not an easy name to say. Pycnogenol is an extract from French maritime pine bark. The active ingredients can also be found in peanut skin, grape seeds, and witch hazel bark.
A 2017 review states that Pycnogenol reduces the effects of ageing on the skin, in fact it lists 11 specific effects.

A 2013 study suggests that Pycnogenol may reduce damage to nerve cells following traumatic brain injury.
Another study done in 2017 claims that cholesterol and triglyceride levels in perimenopausal women were decreased after 8 weeks.
And yet another study, this time in 2015 indicated that Pycnogenol can be used to treat metabolic syndrome and related disorders such as obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
I was astonished and amazed at the diverse uses for this drug. “Wow,” I thought, “we have finally found the wonder drug!”

Then, just like in those pesky adverts that say repeatedly, “and that’s not all,” they claim that Pycnogenol has quite significant benefits for ADHD!
This nonsense came from a study done way back in 2006 - thirteen years ago! They claim improvements in levels of hyperactivity, attention span, visual motor skills and concentration!
And that’s not all when it comes to ADHD. In yet another 2006 study, Pycnogenol was found to cause “healthy antioxidant levels” in children after just one month.
IN their defence they finally said that, “while these results are promising, there isn’t enough research to fully understand the effect of antioxidant levels on ADHD symptoms.”
It’s possible that Pycnogenol has some benefit for ageing, but then so does plain old aqueous cream. But let’s focus on the ADHD claims and especially why these are so dangerous to ADHD children and their parents.
PillsSizedMedicine manufacturers make money out of creating products that mostly heal suffering patients. The medicines have to go through rigorous tests - one of which is the “double blind cross over” test. This is where a control group is given a placebo, and another group of people are given the medication. Neither group knows whether they are getting the real medication or not. This system is the best way to test if a medication meets the claims of the manufacturers.
Unfortunately, many manufacturers have recently been caught falsifying the data, skewing the test results in their favour. This makes them no different to common snake oil salesman.
It makes them no different to the manufacturers of Pycnogenol, who are trotting out study results from more than a decade ago to ensnare desperate ADHD parents.
And that’s the point of this article, beware! Parents of ADHD children are extremely vulnerable to this kind of snake oil pitch.
Beware of words like indicate, suggest, promising, researchers concluded, etc.
Finally, your ADHD child should never be medication test bunny. The effects of trying every new “cure and promise” that comes across the horizon, and then fail to deliver, is enormously damaging to the already low self esteem of a struggling ADHD child.
There are enough medications that have proven track records.

ADDer - a person who has ADHD or ADD

ADHD - Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder

ADD - Attention Deficit Disorder

SCT - Sluggish Cognitive Tempo - a new name for ADD

ODD - Oppositional Defiance Disorder

CD - Conduct Disorder

OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Bi-polar - Bi-polar Disorder, used to be Manic-Depression 

SPD - Sensory Processing Disorder

PTSD - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

SAD - Seasonal Affective Disorder

ACT -  Action Consequence Trigger - monitoring forms devised and supplied by Living ADDventure®