Epilepsy: Herbs to Avoid
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Louise
Posted on: June 25, 1998

I am very interested in natural health care. I use some herbal products now, but my biggest concern is that I am an epileptic and need to now what herbs to avoid if any.

In general, for epilepsy, you want to use relaxants and avoid stimulants. Stimulants include coffee, tea, cola, chocolate, ephedrine containing products (often in diet pills). Herbs that stimulate the central nervous system, and therefore should be avoided, are Cramp bark, Kola nuts, Ephedra and Yerba mate.

Studies have shown that supplementation with Evening Primrose Oil may exacerbate temporal lobe epilepsy. Evening Primrose should be avoided.

Herbs that are calming, and recommended in epilepsy, are Lemon balm, Skullcap, Passionflower and Valerian. The holistic approach would also recommend an elimination diet, eliminating common allergy-causing foods such as dairy products, oranges, eggs, tomatoes and strawberries, to test if the seizures are related to allergies. Studies have linked epileptic seizures with the diet, and have shown epileptic seizures reduced or eliminated with avoidance of allergens, which as well as the above, can include gluten, food colourings and additives and aspartame.

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