Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disorder characterised by temporary loss of consciousness which can last from a few seconds to a few minutes. During an epileptic attack there is a sudden and abnormal electric discharge form cerebral neurons. Sudden jerky movements of the body parts occur followed by loss of consciousness termed as seizures.
In ayurveda epilepsy is called ‘Apasmara’. It is found in both children and adults. It caused due to imbalance of all the three doshas- Vata, Pita and Kapha. Mainly there are two categories- Petit Mal and Grand Mal. Vata epilepsy is mainly a mental issue including other causal factors like stress, lack of sleep, mental exertion, constipation and gastritis. Pita type of epilepsy is caused due to inflammations in the head due to diseases like encephalitis. Kapha type of seizures occur due to blockages in the nervous system due to sedentary lifestyle.
Causes and symptoms of epilepsy
Factors causing epilepsy are broadly divided into two categories:
Some of the symptomatic causes are:
However in some cases epilepsy symptoms may start surfacing in the age group 5 to 20 without any discernible causes. These kind of instances are more prevalent in the people who have a family history of epilepsy.
Epilepsy is a disorder that requires long term medication. Many times people take the medicine for a few weeks or months and then suddenly withdraw it thinking that they are fine, this lead to dangerous consequences. The medicine must be taken regularly for a few years so that the disease is fully treated.
Epilepsy treatment in Ayurveda works by unclogging the various channels of mind and heart that are blocked due to an imbalance of doshas. This process of unblocking the channels is achieved by using various concoctions and purgatives. These medicines are taken orally and are cooked in pure oils and ghee. Coupled with this some external oil massages and baths also form an integral part of the treatment.
Nature has provided us with many herbs that are effective in treatment of epilepsy. The following herbs for epilepsy are known to show positive effects in both children and adults.
Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) - This herb is known as the brain booster. A teaspoon full of brahmi juice may be taken thrice a day to alleviate the symptoms.
A case study presented by Rajdip R Rao on ayurvedic management of epilepsy through herbal means, highlights the uses of brahmi for this condition. A 24 years old patient was suffering from epileptic seizures, weight gain and fatigue for seven years. This patient was administered a number of ayurvedic procedures like panchakarma, oleation and udavartana. Besides this internal medicines and nasya with brahmighrita (a polyherbal formulation) were also advised for a month with regular weekly follow-up. Marked improvement was observed in the severity of attack, frequency of attack and duration of attack. A marked improvement in the quality of life was also observed.
Vacha (Acorus calamus) – Finely ground powder of the root of this herb mixed with honey thrice a day, it is also known as mind clarifier.
Jyotishmati (Celastrus paniculatus Willd) - This herb is used as a brain tonic. It helps to sharpen the memory and stimulates intellect.
Shankhapushpi (Convolvulus pluricaulis) - It’s one of the most trusted ayurvedic brain tonics. It is helpful in improving memory and intelligence.
A research presented by Parul Agarwa mentions about many uses of shankhpushpi. In Ayurveda this plant is referred to as a brain tonic. This plant can improve memory, it is a psychostimulant, a tranquilizer and reduces mental tension. The pharmacological studies of the herb have shown varying degree of its hypotensive and tranquilizing effects. The herb induces a feeling of calm and peace, good sleep and a relief in anxiety, stress and mental fatigue. The herb appears to produce its action by modulation of neurochemistry of the brain. The plant improves the balance and vitiation in kapha-vata-pitta doshas. With all these properties the herb is very useful for patients suffering from epilepsy.
Besides these herbs some other natural remedies for epilepsy are:
These herbal remedies are safe for children with epilepsy as they are not very strong but they must be taken after consultation with an experienced ayurvedic practitioner.
It is imperative for epilepsy patients to follow some diet suggestions to curb the frequency of seizures. The following may be considered:
Epilepsy is a serious disorder and the natural cures for seizures are powerful enough to bring about positive results. However the patient and his family need to understand that the treatment of epilepsy is long term and one needs to be very regular with the medicines.
We understand that every individual is unique with a different constitution and thus needs a custom made treatment. Before starting the treatment a detailed case study of the patient is conducted so that the root cause of the disease can be established. We focus not only on eliminating the disease from the body but also increasing the immunity and overall vitality of the system.
Panchakarma- the mind and body healing therapy, also forms an integral part of the treatment methodology. It cleanses the system of all the toxins that have been collected in the body for years. We are very fortunate to have an experienced team of ayurvedic doctors in Melbourne who share our ideology. Walking an extra mile for our patients is something that they love to do.
Dr. Gurnam Saini
Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery
MD Alternative Medicine
Panchkarma Detox Expert
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Ayurveda stads for extensive and elaborate clinical examination to understand thenature of the disease