Article by – Dr. MS Krishnamurthy MD (Ayu), PhD (Ayu).
Epilepsy is a condition where transient loss of consciousness is found for certain period of time which may last from few seconds to few minutes. An epileptic attack is an abrupt and excessive electric discharge of cerebral neurons. Ayurveda explains epileptic attacks as Akshepaka (convulsions) and the syndrome is termed as ‘Apasmara’.
Acharya Charaka defined this condition as a disorder with the characteristic features of occasional loss of consciousness associated with suspended memory, intellect and mind. It is presented with the cardinal features of loss of memory (consciousness) by feeling or entering into darkness with involuntary movements.
Ayurvedic prevention tips
Ayurvedic prevention tips for epilepsy patients:
While going out on a sunny day, wear goggles to avoid sun glare or use a hat.
As far as possible, avoid flashing lights.
Sleep for at least 6 – 7 hours.
Have food rich in omega 3 fatty acids – fish, flax seeds, walnuts, sardines, soyabean, tofu, shrimp, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, winter squash.
Have foods rich in Vitamin E – Sunflower seed, almond, pine nuts, peanuts, spinach, taro root, flaxseed oil, soyabean, pistachio. Broccoli, carrots, chard, mustard and turnip greens, mangoes, nuts, papaya, pumpkin, red peppers, spinach, and sunflower seeds
Include ash gourd seeds in diet. It should be available online, please do a search.
Use lukewarm water for bath – neither too cold, nor too hot.
Do not skip meals or night sleep.
Do not skip medicines.
Have good amounts of butter, ghee, margarine, oil and cream.
Decrease high sweet foods and carbohydrates
Chapati is better than rice.
Slightly decrease amount of proteins.
- Consumption of unwholesome food and habits for a longer period by person who has delusional mind
- Long term grief, passion and anger
- Subconscious fear
- Subconscious hatredness
- Unethical regimens and celebrations
- Unethical recreations
- Debilitated mind
- Irregularly over excited doshas etc.
Origin of the disease
Aggravated doshas get accumulated in bran and produce the features based upon Doshic predominance. Then it exerts illusion of the mind and visual hallucination and seizures (tonic spasms and clonic jerks). Often it is presented with out warding tongue, deviation of the eyes, dribbling of saliva with froth, tonic and clonic movements of limbs etc. Usually, this attack phase lasts for few seconds to few minutes. Later it passes on to relaxation phase where the person goes to normal sleep.
- Contracted eyebrows
- Continuous deviation of the eyes
- Auditory hallucination
- Salivation and nasal discharge
- Loss of interest in food
- Sensation of spasm or congestion of heart
- Gurgling sound in the abdomen
- Pain all over the body muscles and joints
- Feeling of darkness
- Dreams of intoxication, dancing, stabbing, falling etc.
Important features of Apasmara
- Convulsions with teeth biting
- Dribbling of frothy saliva
- Expiratory dyspnea
- Roughness of the body
- Red or black discoloration of the body surface
- Involuntary speech or murmuring
- Head retraction to one side
- Constriction of the fingers
- Unstable movements of the limbs etc.
Based up on the doshic features, vataja, pittaja, kaphaja and sannipataja (mixed features of all the three doshas) varieties can be found in the practice. Based upon the doshic dominance, symptoms are produced.
Severe purgation, emesis and errhines (vamana, virechana and nasya)
Specific formulations to strengthen the body and mind (balakaraka oushadha)
Single drug usage
Single drugs referred for apasmara:
- Vacha- Acorus calamus Linn.
- Shankhapushpi- Convolvulus pluricaulis Chosis.
- Kooshmanda-Ash gourd– Benincasa hispida (Thunb.) Cogn.
- Jyotishmati- Celastrus paniculata Linn.
- Yastimadhu- Glycyrrhiza glabra Linn.
- Jatamamsi- Nardostachys jatamansi Dc.
- Tagara- Valeriana jatamansi Jones.
- Lashuna-Garlic- Allium sativa Linn.
- Amalaki-Gooseberry- Emblica officinalis Gaertn.
- Rasna- Pluchea lanceolata C. B. Clarke.
- Hingu-Asafetida- Ferula narthex Boiss.
- Choraka- Angelica glauca Edgew.
- Kushta- Saussurea costus (Fale.) Lipsch.
- Phalgu-Fig- Ficus carica Linn.
- Brahmi- Bacopa monnieri (Linn.) Pennell.
Formulations recommended for apasmara:
- Panchagavya ghrita
- Mahapanchagavya ghrita
- Kalyanaka ghrita
- Kooshmandaka ghrita
- Brahmi ghrita
- Smritisagara rasa
- Brahma rasayana etc.
Wholesome diet and habits
- Old rice (purana shali)
- 60 days rice (shashtika shali)
- Wheat (godhuma)
- Green gram soup (mudga yusha)
- Drum stick (shigru)
- Cow’s milk (goksheera)
- Cow’s ghee(goghrita)
- Wholesome and fresh food (pathyaahara)
- Cold water bath (sheetala jala snana)
- Smoothening music (manohiatakarani) etc.
Unwholesome food and habits
- Heavy food (guru ahara)
- Incompatible food (viruddhahara)
- Alcohol (madya)
- Fish (matsya)
- Suppression of thirst and appetite (vega-kshutvega dharana)
- Insult of teachers and elders (guru-vriddhapachara)
- Unethical activities (abhichara)
- Sleeplessness (anidra)
- Tiredness (shrama)
- Excess work (ativyayama)
- Mental irritation(chinta) etc.
Epilepsy is a diseased condition which needs long term medication. People often take the medicine for few weeks to few months and suddenly withdraw on their own, thinking that their complaint is cured. But, underlying pathology will not be checked completely. This leads to sudden manifestation of the attacks and hence the patient has to restart the medication. So, it is an illness which requires constant supervision by the psychiatrists and physicians. Also, it is mandatory to take the medicines for few years of time. Half knowledge about the disease is dangerous to the individual and the family as well.