Natural Remedies for Epilepsy
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Sam
Posted on: August 19, 2003

I am looking for natural remedies linked to epilepsy not currently accepted by mainstream medicine. I would like any detail that can be had on ginger/and anticonvulsants. I have noted that asians like herbs and spices and have far less seizures. In environmental medicine I have noted that aspartame will create this difficulty. There are a significant number of compounds that can create sickle cell anemia Pauling (1949) and as a result can create seizures. Any salt, sugar, alcohol, artificial sweetners and lack of rehydration in combination with metal may create havoc with the mind. If you could help with a bibliography I would be very grateful.

My conclusion was that an elimination diet would be the minimum but is murder to maintain. Purifying tap water which is aggressive and corrosive notably in large cities is a pain in the neck.

There are many natural remedies used in epilepsy.

The "Encyclopedia of Natural Healing" (Alive Publishers, Canada, (800) 663-6580 or Natural Life Publishing Inc., U.S. (800) 663-6513) offers the following:

An epileptic seizure appears to be an overload of electrical current in the brain. Manifests in childhood or by changes in electrolyte, water or hormonal systems. Infections can precipitate. Injuries of brain during birth; blows to head; tumours and stokes; food allergies, toxins, alcohol, drugs, hypoglycemia, too much liquid consumption at one time; stress and lack of sleep; aspartame; heavy metal toxicity; nutritional deficiencies.

Recommendations include:

Eat small, frequent meals

Whole grains, leafy greens, legumes for manganese

Seafood for magnesium - if irritability, twitching, muscle cramps

Kelp stimulates endocrine system & helps improve condition

Mistletoe: antispasmodic & anticonvulsant

Black cohosh, nettle, irish moss, hyssop, skullcap - relieve inflammation & muscle cramps

chickweed for easing seizures

for hystero-epilepsy (connected with ovary dysfunction): Mugwort

Susun Weed, in "Healing Wise" suggests eating oats and drinking oat straw tea daily, as well as bathing in oats in acute situations. Weed suggests violet leaf infusion for epileptic memory loss.

Thomas Bartram, in "Bartram’s Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine" (available at Richters), suggests that epilepsy can be sparked by excess of zinc, and lists the possible causes as: hereditary, head injury (even before birth), chronic disease, stroke, tumour, hardening of arteries, drugs and lack of oxygen

Bartram lists herbs mentioned by the British Herbal Pharmacopoeia depending on the form of epilepsy: grand mal, temporal lobe or petit mal (unconsciousness lasting less than less than 15 seconds) For grand mal: passionflower, skullcap, verbena; for petit mal: hyssop. Bartram lists the standard central nervous system relaxants that are used in epilepsy: hops, lobelia, passionflower, vervain, valerian, skullcap and states that peony leaf tea had a long traditional use. He recommends skullcap and passionflower as the most important herbal remedies. Bartram cites the favoured remedies of some previous healers: Samuel Thompson used antispasmodic drops (lobelia and cayenne) given at the premonitory stage; Edgar Case: passionflower tea and hot castor oil packs.

Some practitioners claim that excess acidity & intestinal toxemia trigger an attack. For this, Bartram suggests: skullcap, mistletoe, meadowsweet and elderflowers . Other suggestions include: a salt free (some doctors link a high salt diet with epileptic fits), lacto-vegetarian diet; oatmeal porridge; a cleansing 8-day grape juice fast; vitamin E.

Melvyn Werbach, M.D. in "Nutritional Influences on Mental Illness" (Third Line Press, Tarzana, California, (800) 916-0076 or (818) 996-0076) notes the following recommendations from the research results described in his book:

Well balanced meals at regular intervals

No alcohol or caffeine

Ketogenic diet - only under hospital care

Folic acid, niacin, thiamide, vitamin B6, magnesium, manganese, zinc, glycine, taurine

NO omega 6 oils - evening primrose oil may exacerbate temporal lobe epilepsy

Rule out food sensitivities such as gluten, milk, peanuts, aspartame, salicylates and additives

Note: foods that are extremely high in salicylates include blueberries, cherries, dried currants, curry powder, pickles, licorice, paprika, prunes and raspberries. Other sources of salicylates include almonds, grapes, apples, peaches and tomatoes. Salicylate containing herbs include peppermint, willow bark, wintergreen, meadowsweet and black cohosh.

Supportive therapies are helpful in reducing, though not eliminating, the need for drugs: breathing exercises for relaxation and stress control; biofeedback to slow the brain waves; osteopathic adjustments; calcium-magnesium supplement to decrease nervous irritability.

In Japan, Kampo, Japanese herbal medicine, is being studied, as some formulae have been effective in genetic nervous system diseases in animals.

The eclectic doctors used herbs for specific sets of symptoms: Anshutz, in "New, Old and Forgotten Remedies" (Boericke and Tafel, c. 1903), a homeopathic text, lists the case of a child who had whooping cough with fever followed by convulsions, about a dozen times a day for several months. Blue vervain (Verbena hastata) cured after dozens of remedies failed. Ellingwood tells of one case of epilepsy where he gave Collinsonia (stone root) saying, "It acted in everyway similar to the bromides for which it was given as a substitute."

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