There are studies showing Pine Bark extract improves ADHD in children (study link below). I started taking it myself and it has helped me concentrate and focus better as I've been feeling all over the place these past few years...can't get my act together, forgetful/terrible memory, brain fog, not organized. I supplemented and after a week or so (not right away) I started noticing changes. I was able to stick with tasks longer and finish them...I was doing things faster without getting distracted anymore. My overall focus was so much better! I would get through my lists so quickly. I could also remember people's names again! I've always been horrible with names...to the point where it's embarrassing (b/c I really know some of these people). Walking my child through orientation I was remembering the names of kids I haven't seen in several years...that was a shock to me.
And it's so subtle. You remember like you never had forgotten it...not a lightbulb eureka moment where you have to concentrate and finally have it...but rather it's just there as if you never forgot it. Basically, I forgot I was bad at names. Not until the 4th time and suddenly I realized...wait, how are all these names coming to me?? Also you have energy but you don't feel wired or anything, like with caffeine. Suddenly you're just focused...but in a normal way...like how you're supposed to be! I was quite pleased. It's more of a feeling of blocks being lifted...rather than a stimulant creating these scenarios if that makes sense.
PBE has also been shown to alleviate anxiety and improve test scores in college kids. I take 1/8 tsp in a capsule each day. I bought the loose powder an fill my own 00 capsules. My son has ADD, OCD and anxiety (I believe caused by heavy metals) and I plan to start him this week as school begins (but I wanted to test it on myself first for any side effects).
Incidentally, I originally discovered Pine Bark Extract (PBE) b/c I was searching natural ways to lighten to lighten melasma (and then stumbled upon the ADHD research). PBE has been shown to lighten is successfully. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12237816
It's my deepest belief that ADD/ADHD is caused by heavy metals in the brain and ultimately these kids (and adults) need to be detoxed from them. This is why many kids w ADD/ADHD are deficient in zinc and magnesium...because heavy metals are the "heavier" of these good/bad metals and thus displace these lighter good metals/minerals out of our body.
I told a wellness business owner (previously a pharmacist until she converted to natural health medicine) that I'd like to test my system for heavy metals and she said "sure, I will give you a full spectrum vitamin/mineral test to see if you're mineral deficient". I said 'why"? She said...if minerals are low it's well-known that it's b/c they're being displaced by heavy metals in the body. I held off on the test in order to research this myself...and sure enough I found it to be true. (Heavy metal detox should be done carefully and slowly so I'm still in the research phase in order to detox my son...he had an amalgam cap and vaccines.)
Heavy metals also cause leaky gut...so it's important to detox and heal the gut btw. Interestingly...in you search on earthclinic for Ted's ADD & ADHD remedies...he recommended things like magnesium and zinc, probiotics (that heal the gut) and selenium, NAC, ALA which detox the body of heavy metals.
I believe Pine Bark helps with focus and concentration b/c its a powerful polyphenol that boosts glutathione which is critical in detoxing heavy metals. Here's a study showing an increase in glutathione (GHS) in children with ADHD by taking pine bark extract. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16984739