by Kimberly Allen R.N.
Epilepsy is a disorder of the electrical system in the brain. It is the malfunction of the electrical system that causes the seizure activity that is associated with the disease.
Epilepsy is not one particular disorder, it is a term that encompasses a vast array of seizure disorders. There are many different types of seizure disorders as well as numerous causes of seizure disorders. Many of the seizure disorders are related to their cause. For example, a person that suffers a head trauma of the frontal lobe that develops seizures from the trauma is usually diagnosed with frontal lobe epilepsy. If the cause of the seizure is known the treatment will be centered around things that affect that particular are of the brain affected. However, frequently the cause of the seizure disorder is unidentified.
Many people with epilepsy do not like the way their current anti-convulsant medication makes them feel. Some simply stop taking them without notifying their doctor and hope for the best, others stop taking their prescribed medications and look for alternative treatments. Both avenues are dangerous.
Epilepsy is a medical condition and should be treated as such. Always talk with your doctor before making any changes and especially before stopping any medication. There are numerous alternative treatments available, but is is dangerous to try any new treatments without first discussing them with your doctor. Most alternative treatments are meant to be used as ‘complimentary’ treatments. In other words, used along with conventional treatments.
Epilepsy has been around for centuries and has been treated with diet and herbs long before pharmaceuticals arrived on the market. One of the earliest treatments was altering the diet of the seizure patient using the Ketogenic diet. The Ketogenic diet is a high fat, low carbohydrate diet that has been around since the 1920’s. The Ketogenic diet causes excess production of ketone bodies which changes the biochemistry of the neurons, decreasing their excitability.
Other studies have found that a significant percentage of patients with epilepsy also suffer from glucose intolerance. One way to counteract this is to eat a diet that is free of grains wheat, barley, oats, and rye because of their high gluten content.
Then there are the nutrients that can be beneficial and should be increased in your diet. those include calcium, magnesium, and zinc. Certain vitamins like B1, B6, D, E and folic acid have found to be low in children with epilepsy so eating foods high in these nutrients can be beneficial in managing seizures. Avoiding caffine of all types, including caffinated sodas and alcohol, are also an essential component of dietary management.
The addition of the ash gourd to your diet is an excellent home remedy for seizures that has been used for centuries. This vegetable contains nutrients that facilitate the equilibrium of the chemicals in the brain. In the past, it was used as the medication for epilepsy – drinking 1 cup of the juice from the ash gourd every day.
There are also several herbs that have been used for many years for the treatment of epilepsy, the two most common are scullcap and passiflora. Making and drinking herbal teas using these herbs twice a day, morning and evening soothes the nervous system and help maintain normal stimulation levels.
There are numerous other types of alternative therapies that have been used to treat epilepsy including acupuncture, aromatherapy and biofeed back. Though there is documented evidence that these therapies work there is little to no scientific evidence to back it up. That does not mean these treatments don’t work, but they should always be used in conjunction with conventional treatments and with your doctor’s knowledge.
Kimberly Allen is a registered nurse with an AND in nursing. She has worked in ACF, LCF and psychiatric facilities, although she spent most of her career as a home health expert. She is now a regular contributor to HealthAndFitnessTalk.com, dispensing advice and knowledge about medical issues and questions. You can reach her with any comments or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.