6 Natural Seizure Remedies: Discover What Natural Treatment Works Best For Seizure Disorders06 April 2023
- Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that causes seizures. Seizures are brief periods of uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain, often associated with loss of consciousness, convulsions and other symptoms.
- Currently, there are no known cures for epilepsy. Treatment aims to control seizures, prevent complications and improve quality of life.
- Anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) are the most effective medications for seizure disorders. However, they can cause unwanted side effects and often must be taken for life.
- There are many natural treatment options for seizure disorders. These include the use of herbs, vitamins and supplements that have been used for thousands of years by traditional cultures worldwide.
- Medical cannabis shows promise in reducing the severity and frequency of seizures. Cannabis has been shown to be effective in treating various seizure disorders. CBD, the non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis, is thought to be responsible for most of the therapeutic effects.
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that affects millions of people around the world. It is characterised by recurrent seizures and caused by a variety of factors.
These include genetics, head trauma, brain infection, stroke, and other medical conditions. A large percentage of epilepsy cases have unknown causes.
While there is no cure for epilepsy, a variety of treatments are available to help manage the condition. Medications known as anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) are the most common treatment for epilepsy. They can reduce or eliminate seizures in about 70% of patients.
Many people with epilepsy may experience side effects from these medications, including drowsiness and weight gain. Natural cures for epilepsy, which can be used with traditional treatment, can help reduce the frequency and severity of seizures.
This article discusses the various natural treatments for epilepsy, including diet, herbs, vitamins and more. We will look into how to treat epilepsy naturally and the potential risks and benefits associated with alternatives.
But before that, let us introduce you to Lyphe – the leading medical cannabis clinic in the UK. We offer patients with epilepsy, chronic pain and other conditions access to medical cannabis. Our goal is to provide safe access to high-quality medical cannabis while supporting those looking into alternative treatments.
1. Medical Cannabis
Recent studies have shown that medical cannabis can be an effective natural remedy for seizures, particularly for uncontrollable and treatment-resistant cases. EPIDIOLEX® is the only FDA-approved cannabis medication for treating seizures in patients with Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. It is also approved for certain types of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.
But this isn’t the only medical cannabis treatment that can help people with epilepsy. Some studies have shown that using cannabidiol (CBD) may be effective at reducing seizure frequency. CBD is the non-psychoactive component in cannabis that’s been shown to have multiple clinical and therapeutic benefits.
A 2018 randomised, placebo-controlled trial published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that adding CBD to traditional seizure medication decreased the frequency of seizures in both adults and children. The researchers administered CBD twice a day for two weeks.
Another study published in Epilepsia found that CBD improved the effect of clobazam, a benzodiazepine used as an add-on treatment for seizures in both children and adults. A previous study reported that combining the two medications led to a more than 50% per cent decrease in seizures in the patient population.
A 2020 retrospective study published in Drug Science, Policy and Law supports a combination of THC and CBD to reduce seizure frequency in a range of epileptic conditions. The researchers concluded: “We encourage specialist physicians and relevant bodies to permit greater ease of access of these medications to those patients where efficacy has been shown.”
That being said, obtaining medical cannabis isn’t as easy as popping by your local pharmacy. And if you’re thinking about getting it through illegal means, forget about it! It’s not safe, and you won’t be able to use it effectively for epilepsy treatment.
Instead, you should talk to a licensed medical professional who can evaluate your health and decide whether medical cannabis could be a good option for you. They’ll also make sure it doesn’t interact with any other medications you might be taking. If you’re curious about using medical cannabis as a natural treatment for epilepsy, you can book an appointment with a doctor at Lyphe, the UK’s biggest medical cannabis clinic. Our specialists will be happy to answer any questions you have!
2. Ketogenic Diet
One of the most popular treatments for epilepsy is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet called the ketogenic diet. It’s been around since the 1920s and has been shown to help reduce seizures in children with epilepsy.
The diet helps prevent seizures by changing the way your body uses energy. It causes a shift in metabolism away from glucose (sugar) and towards fat as an energy source. This change can reduce the circulating glucose that passes through brain cells.
Its best-case use is for severe, treatment-resistant cases. Various studies have shown that the ketogenic diet may be helpful in some epilepsy conditions, including:
- Myoclonic-astatic epilepsy, a form of infantile epilepsy
- Dravet syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that typically begins in infancy or early childhood
- Tuberous sclerosis-associated epilepsy, which is a type of focal epilepsy with seizures that are often resistant to treatment
- GLUT1 deficiency, a rare genetic disorder in which the body does not produce enough glucose transporter protein (GLUT1) to metabolise glucose properly.
The ketogenic diet involves eating only a minimal amount (around 20 grams) of carbohydrates daily. Most calories come from fat sources such as butter, heavy cream and mayonnaise.
Those who go keto should also get enough protein, so they don’t lose muscle mass. Ideally, one should take 1 gram of protein per kilogram (2 pounds) of body weight daily.
Despite the keto diet’s effectiveness, it is not usually recommended to adults as dietary restrictions can make it hard to follow. The ketogenic diet is not recommended for pregnant women either.
Talking with your dietitian and neurologist before starting a ketogenic diet is important. There are also some risks associated with the keto diet that you should know about, including kidney stones, dehydration and constipation.
Nutritional therapy for epilepsy can help reduce the frequency of seizures. Typically, this approach to epilepsy treatment involves taking various supplements while on anti-seizure prescriptions.
This vitamin is important for the body to produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood. It’s also essential for normal brain development and function.
In a study of children with epilepsy who took high doses (50 mg per day) of pyridoxine (the active form of vitamin B6), the frequency and severity of seizures decreased significantly. Children with vitamin B6-dependent epilepsy do not respond well to traditional treatment methods.
A 2014 review published in Intractable & Rare Diseases Research showed that decreased pyridoxine levels are associated with increased seizure frequency. The active form of vitamin B6 is essential for synthesising gamma-aminobutyric Acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter involved in slowing down movement.
A 2016 double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in Advanced Biomedical Research found that vitamin E supplementation can help reduce seizure frequency.
In the study, the researchers administered 400 IU per day for six months. At the end of the trial period, they recorded a reduction in seizure activity from 16 out of 32 patients (50%).
It’s unclear exactly how this works, but researchers think it may be related to antioxidant effects on brain cells. Oxidative stress, a byproduct of oxygen metabolism, has been implicated in seizures. Anti-epileptic medicines (AEDs) are known to cause oxidative stress.
Vitamin E is also known to help prevent blood clots from forming inside arteries. Blood clotting in the brain is a common cause of strokes among people with epilepsy.
Also known as the “sunshine vitamin”, vitamin D is important for developing strong bones and teeth. It also helps keep your immune system healthy.
Some anti-seizure medications can interfere with how the body metabolises vitamin D. A 2014 study published in Epilepsy Research found that vitamin D deficiency is common among epilepsy patients.
In a 2012 clinical study, researchers showed that correcting the deficiency reduced seizure frequency. At the start of the study, only 1 out of 13 participants had sufficient vitamin D levels in their blood.
All participants took vitamin D supplements within 90 days of testing. At the end of the intervention period, 10 of the 13 patients reported a significant decrease in seizures.
There’s also preclinical data showing that vitamin D supplements can help reduce the risk of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP), which may be caused by irregular heart rhythm. While the exact mechanism is still unclear, it’s believed that vitamin D helps prevent cardiac arrest.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice that involves inserting needles into specific points on the body. It’s been used to treat many conditions, from chronic pain to lupus. The most common use is pain relief, but it’s also used for various other conditions, including epilepsy.
Several studies show that acupuncture can help reduce seizures and prevent them from happening altogether. In 2017, researchers conducted a study suggesting acupuncture may help reduce seizures in patients with treatment-resistant epilepsy.
The study included 78 people with intractable partial seizures, which come back repeatedly. Each participant received up to 13 sessions of acupuncture over six weeks. After a three-month trial period, those who received acupuncture reported fewer seizures than those who did not.
Currently, there are ongoing trials to test whether acupuncture can help treat post-stroke epilepsy. Traditionally, acupuncture has been used to treat seizures. However, the mechanism of how acupuncture reduces seizures is still not well understood.
5. Music Therapy
The current research on music therapy as an alternative for epilepsy is promising. Several studies have confirmed that music therapy can be effective at reducing seizures and epileptiform discharges, providing a new option for clinicians and patients.
The brains of people with epilepsy appear to react to music differently from the brains of those who do not have the disorder. For example, one study found that the brainwave patterns of those with the disorder sync with classical and jazz music.
Although the exact mechanism of this phenomenon is unknown, research suggests that resonance, mirror neurons, dopamine pathways and parasympathetic activation may all play a role.
Some people with epilepsy may use music to relax, as stress can cause seizures to occur. Still, there is a need to understand better music’s therapeutic effects and how music may be used to treat epilepsy.
6. Herbal Treatments
Some herbs for epilepsy show promising results in reducing the risk of seizures. Some have been shown to reduce the frequency and severity of seizures and improve the patient’s overall quality of life. This is especially true for children with epilepsy, who often experience side effects from traditional medications.
Herbs like valerian root, passionflower and chamomile are well-known natural sedatives. They have also been used as first-line treatment for seizures. Some studies also support their use in amplifying the effects of anti-epileptic medication.
In a 2015 study published in BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies, researchers found that valerian extracts enhanced the effects of both clonazepam and phenytoin. Although the study used an animal model, the results were promising for future research.
Risks of herbal treatments for epilepsy
Herbal treatments are not without risks, however. Some herbs can cause side effects when used in conjunction with traditional medications. In addition, some herbal supplements have not been tested for safety or efficacy in people with epilepsy.
As such, discussing herbal treatments with a doctor or pharmacist is important. In addition, people with epilepsy should consult their healthcare providers before taking supplements.
Tips for using herbal treatments for seizures
- Start with low doses. It’s important to remember that home remedies for seizures are rarely as potent as prescription medication. You may need to start with lower doses and work your way up.
- Monitor for side effects. Stop immediately and consult your doctor if you experience unusual symptoms or side effects while taking herbal medication.
- Keep track of progress. Natural cures for epilepsy may take time to deliver results. You should monitor your progress, including any improvements in seizure control. If you don’t see any improvement after taking a herbal remedy for several months, talk to your doctor about other treatment options.
Tips for managing epilepsy
Though medication (both prescription and natural) can help manage your seizures, it’s important to make lifestyle changes as well. Here are some tips:
- Get plenty of sleep and rest. Sleep deprivation can trigger seizures, so ensure you get enough rest each night.
- Stay away from excessive alcohol consumption. Recreational use of controlled substances can affect brain function and worsen both frequency and severity of seizures.
- Avoid environments where you might be exposed to dust, chemicals or fumes. Pollutants have been shown to trigger seizures in some people with epilepsy.
- Take medications as your doctor prescribes – and don’t stop without prior consultation. Stopping suddenly could cause withdrawal symptoms and increase the risk of having a seizure attack.
Final Thoughts – Natural Epilepsy Treatment
Debilitating epileptic seizures can come from a variety of causes, both known and unknown. But even if seizures can be controlled by medication, don’t forget about holistic approaches to managing the condition.
There’s no easy way to stop seizures naturally. Still, it’s worth giving natural remedies for epilepsy a shot. After all, prescription medications and even surgery can have serious side effects.
Medical cannabis, ketogenic diets and vitamin supplementation all show promise as natural seizure medications. Early clinical studies and anecdotal evidence also support using herbal supplements like passionflower and chamomile.
That said, the best way to treat epilepsy is through medication and lifestyle changes. If you have epilepsy, it’s important to work closely with your doctor to find the right treatment plan for you.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What plant can cure epilepsy?
While there is no cure for epilepsy, various studies show that medical cannabis can help reduce the frequency of epileptic seizures. CBD-THC medications have been increasingly prescribed together with conventional treatments (i.e., clobazam) for epilepsy conditions, including infantile spasms, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, and Dravet syndrome.
What foods should epileptics avoid?
Those with epilepsy should avoid consuming stimulants such as coffee and tea. They should also avoid alcohol, which can increase the risk of seizures.
What natural supplements help with epilepsy?
Certain supplements (e.g., vitamin B6, vitamin E, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acid) may help reduce the frequency of seizures. CBD supplements have also been shown to reduce seizure frequency in those with Dravet syndrome.
Does turmeric cure epilepsy?
Some evidence supports using turmeric as a natural seizure remedy. Preclinical studies suggest that curcumin can help reduce seizure severity.
Is ginger good for epilepsy?
A 2014 study published in Epilepsy Research shows some evidence of ginger’s anticonvulsant (anti-seizure) properties in mice. However, more research is needed to understand the effects of ginger in human cases.
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