Alternative medicine

By Mayo Clinic Staff

People with common neurological conditions, including seizures, tend to use complementary and alternative medicine more often than those who don't have these conditions. People with seizures may use:

  • Herbal medicines
  • Acupuncture
  • Psychotherapy
  • Mind-body techniques
  • Homeopathy

Researchers are looking into these therapies, hoping to determine their safety and effectiveness, but good evidence is mostly still lacking. There is some evidence that a strict high-fat, low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diet may be effective, particularly for children.

Many people with epilepsy use herbal remedies in particular. However, there is little evidence for their effectiveness and some can cause increased risk of seizures. Some specific remedies include:

  • Marijuana (cannabis). Current evidence does not show that cannabis is useful for treating epilepsy. However, little data are available and research into its usefulness is ongoing. It's important to let your doctor know if you are using cannabis.
  • Huperzine A. Research shows promise for an herbal remedy called huperzine A, but more studies are needed.

The Food and Drug Administration does not regulate herbal products, and they can interact with other anti-epileptic drugs you take, putting your health at risk. Make sure to talk with your doctor before taking any herbal or dietary supplements for your seizures.

July 03, 2013