For those of you new to the experience of dealing with epilepsy, you may find yourself lost in a hellscape of medical recommendations about what pills to take, what lifestyle changes to make, and what, ultimately, is best for you and your brain. The process of finding your perfect drug and lifestyle combination can be time-consuming and soul-sucking. Generally, your neurologist will recommend one or two FDA-approved anti-convulsants or, if you qualify, possible brain surgery. Additionally, lifestyle changes are recommended for individuals with epilepsy. These include exercise, eating well, more sleep, and fewer stimulants such as coffee.
You know, the usual list of things we’re all asked to do but we never actually do them.
Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that any specific drug or lifestyle regimen will work for all seizure types. Finding what’s right for you is definitely a trial and error experience, and the combination of medication and lifestyle change will be entirely dependent on your individual biological makeup.
I know, I know. This is a lot of information. Worse yet, there’s no simple fix for your seizures. Medicine doesn’t always work right away, and it takes a long time to make sufficient lifestyle changes. These factors can make “alternative” medicine look more appealing.
These “alternatives” are marketed and sold by those who believe and specialize in homeopathy. “Homeopaths” is a term for those super special people that attempt to guarantee that all medicine is, in fact, “bad” for you. These “doctors” will tell epilepsy patients that all you need is a mint leaf and the will of Hecate in order to cure your chronic seizures.
At best, this practice is hilarious; at worst, it’s deadly. There is a belief in the homeopathic world that one should “overwhelm” the seizure in order to stop the seizure activity. Basically, making more seizures cures epilepsy. What this method conveniently forgets is that epilepsy, when exacerbated, can cause death. This is a condition known as Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP).
Because of these real risks that come with epilepsy and the struggle to improve one’s overall quality of life, it is important to respect your body and to—despite the overwhelming urge not to— take your medication.
On that note, I thought would be interesting to find some of the more common homeopathic remedies for epileptic seizures. It is important to note that all of the suggestions listed everywhere do not actually work, have no studies to corroborate the possible effectiveness, and most of them are literal poison that doctors have said that all people, including epileptic people, should not take.
So, let’s get on with this tragedy:
Apparently, Sally had enough seashells to drown out big pharma. “Calcerea carbonica,” also known as the middle layer of shells shed by sea creatures. Or lake creatures, but you get the picture. According to several homeopathic sites, this is meant to be a natural antisporin.
Use for: acne, arthritis, vaginal discharges (because we need to cure that?), night terrors in children, and scalp ringworm…and epilepsy, apparently.
Final thoughts: At least it’s not poison.
2. Toad venom
Yes. You read that correctly. This fun remedy is called “Bufo rana,” which is meant to treat seizures caused by “sexual excessiveness.” These completely fictitious seizures only occur during sex…also known as an orgasm if you’re doing it right. In order to get this mixture, you have to agitate a poisonous toad and the toad will excrete the venom from glands located in the rear.
Use for: gout, heart disorders, cancer, meningitis, skin disorders, stammering, and immediate death.
Final thoughts: I’m almost 99% sure that this is animal abuse.
To be fair, which is something that will not happen again after this sentence, copper does actually work for some things. I’m thinking of a copper IUD, which is a birth control device implanted in the uterus. Copper IUDs last longer than hormonal IUDs and are as equally effective.
However, homeopathic sources recommend that epileptic patients intentionally take a poisonous dose of copper in order to, you guessed it, “overwhelm the seizure.”
Use for: menstrual pain, moral failings, and the fictional disease “hysteria”, which was a Victorian diagnosis for a woman who believed that she deserved equal rights.
Final thoughts: Can you feel the science, because I sure can!
Use for: ending human life.
Final thoughts: I mean, you can’t seize when you’re dead, so…mission accomplished?
In case you suddenly have a craving for fire kindling, this remedy is for you!
While it’s not exactly poison, it’s not really meant to be in the body either. Most homeopathic “experts” recommend this as a remedy for weakness and lack of resilience…whatever that’s supposed to mean.
Use for: hair, skin, and nails. And also epilepsy.
Final thoughts: I’ve started my life as an alcoholic now.
6. A Poisonous Plant
The homeopathic voids of the internet claim that something called the Strychnine tree will cure epilepsy. This is a plant native to parts of Southeast Asia. Like many of the items on our list, this plant is also poisonous and should not be consumed by actual humans. Concentrated doses of the plant can be found in several pesticides such as rat poison.
Use for: all the epilepsies, including those that don’t occur in the brain…which describes the antithesis of a neurological disorder. Also, it treats male infertility.
Final thoughts: Gentlemen, throw away your Viagra! A new age is upon thee!
Because wolfsbane wasn’t enough, we now have cowbane, also known as water hemlock.
Seriously, it’s hemlock. Again. These people are recommending hemlock twice, as if it’s two separate things. As if one will kill you less than the other.
Use for: screaming, waking up, excessive crying….and, of course, hysteria. Again.
Final thoughts: I’m not actually here. I left the page hours ago screaming in rage.
As you may be able to tell, I’m not a fan of homeopathy. I think it’s dangerous and misguided. I would cite peer-reviewed sources to show you this, but I can’t. Fun fact: the National Science Foundation doesn’t give grants to projects that would waste time, money, and resources to prove that poison is bad for you.
There are plenty of these awful “cures” going around in the world, and organizations like the National Center for Homeopathy make a pretty penny selling these types of products. The problem is that people with epilepsy who struggle with controlling their seizures through medication and lifestyle changes might feel like a dose of hemlock this is their best option.
Honestly, I’m not here to tell you what you should and shouldn’t do with your body. I’ve been there; I know what it’s like for people to order me around where my body’s concerned. I wouldn’t dream of doing the same thing to you. I won’t waste your time telling you something you would find on a motivational poster. I’m just going to tell you the truth: working through that struggle is how you’ll find what works for you.
I know that modern medicine isn’t perfect; the side-effects on any pill bottle will tell you that much. At the very least, just don’t take hemlock just to feel better. It will not improve your quality of life, and your life is worth much more than the fifty dollars you’d spend on a monthly National Center for Homeopathy Membership.
And on that note: