From herbs and vitamins to biofeedback and acupuncture, there are a number to choose from.
1. Herbal treatments
Herbal treatments have soared in popularity. There seems to be an herb for every ailment.
Some of the most commonly used herbs for epilepsy are: burning bush, groundsel, hydrocotyle, lily of the valley, mistletoe, mugwort, peony, skullcap, tree of heaven, valerian
Herbs to avoid:
- Gingko biloba and St. John’s wort may interact with antiseizure medications.
- Kava and passionflower may increase sedation.
- Garlic may interfere with your medication levels.
- Chamomile may prolong the effects of your medication.
- Schizandra may cause additional seizures.
- Herbal supplements containing ephedra or caffeine may worsen seizures. These include guarana and kola.
- Mint tea
Certain vitamins may help reduce the number of seizures caused by some types of epilepsy. But keep in mind that vitamins alone don’t work. They may help some medications work more effectively or reduce your necessary dosage.
- Vitamin B-6. It is used to treat a rare form of epilepsy known as pyridoxine-dependent seizures. This type of epilepsy usually develops in the womb or soon after birth. It’s caused by your body’s inability to metabolize vitamin B-6 properly.
- Magnesium. Severe magnesium deficiency may increase seizure risk. Magnesium supplementation may reduce seizures.
- Vitamin E. Some people with epilepsy may also have a vitamin E deficiency. Vitamin E increases antioxidant abilities. It helps decrease seizures in people with epilepsy whose symptoms aren’t controlled by conventional drugs.
- Other vitamins. Medication used to treat epilepsy may also cause biotin or vitamin D deficiency. In these cases, your doctor may recommend vitamins to help manage your condition. Infants with seizures caused by cerebral folate deficiency may benefit from supplementation.
3. Dietary changes
Certain dietary changes may also help decrease seizures. The best-known diet is the ketogenic diet, which focuses on eating a higher ratio of fats.
The keto diet is considered a low-carb, low-protein diet. This sort of eating pattern is thought to help decrease seizures, although doctors don’t know exactly why.
Children with epilepsy are often put on the ketogenic diet. Many people find the restrictions challenging. Still, this type of diet might complement other treatment measures to help reduce seizures.
Some people with epilepsy try to control their brain activity to reduce the rate of seizures. The theory is that if you can detect symptoms of an impending seizure, you may be able to stop it.
Many people with epilepsy experience aura symptoms about 20 minutes before a seizure occurs. You may notice unusual smells, see strange lights, or have blurry vision.
You may feel symptoms for several days leading up to the event. These symptoms include anxiety, depression, fatigue, bad headaches.
Self-control methods are used to prevent or decrease the intensity of the seizure once it arrives. There are several techniques, all of which require good concentration and focus. Examples are: meditation, walking, immersing yourself in a task, sniffing a strong odor, literally telling the seizure “no”.
5. Acupuncture and chiropractic care
Acupuncture and chiropractic treatments are sometimes considered alternatives to conventional epilepsy treatment.
Acupuncture may change brain activity to reduce seizures. One hypothesis is that acupuncture may keep epilepsy in check by increasing parasympathetic tone and changing autonomic dysfunction.
Spinal manipulations in chiropractic care may also help the body heal itself. Some chiropractors use specific manipulations to help control seizures on a regular basis.