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9 natural remedies for epilepsy

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DietHerbal remediesReducing alcoholReducing caffeineFollow a sleep schedule SupplementsCBD and cannabisStress reductionMusic therapyOther treatment optionsSpeaking with a doctorSummary
Epilepsy is a chronic condition that can result in seizures. It may be managed with natural remedies such as dietary changes, reducing alcohol, and stress management techniques.
Medically reviewed by Kerry Boyle D.Ac., M.S., L.Ac., Dipl. Ac., CYT
Written by Uxshely Carcamo
Updated on

Epilepsy is a neurological condition that causes seizures as a result of abnormal electrical signals in the brain. An epilepsy seizure can sometimes occur following a stroke or brain tumor, but most of the time, there is no known cause.

Not all seizures are caused by epilepsy but can also result from other health conditions, such as hypertension or infections.

About 3.4 million people in the United States have epilepsy. Treatment options for epilepsy typically include:

  • medication
  • surgery
  • lifestyle measures

Alongside medical treatment, there are also several natural remedies that may help with the condition.

1. Diet

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Studio Firma/Stocksy United

A ketogenic diet is a high fat and very low carbohydrate diet. You can use this diet to manage epilepsy. It shifts the body into a state of ketosis, where it uses fat instead of carbohydrates as its main fuel. This can work to reduce inflammation in the brain and help manage seizures.

Examples of foods to eat on the keto diet include:

  • seafood, such as salmon and mackerel
  • eggs
  • avocados
  • cheese
  • leafy green vegetables, such as kale and spinach
  • peppers

Research suggests that over half of the people who follow the diet have more than 50% improvement in seizure management. The diet can be especially beneficial for children and people with certain types of epilepsy.

Some research suggests that the ketogenic diet may be helpful for epilepsy because it can change the gut microbiome, which is the range of bacteria and other microbes found in the gut.

The diet can be difficult to follow. Other less restrictive diets are also being studied to help with epilepsy. If you are considering diet changes to manage epilepsy, consider speaking with a healthcare professional, such as a registered dietician, who can help you identify your best options.

2. Herbal remedies

Some herbal remedies may help with epilepsy because they can be relaxing or they might have antiseizure effects. These include:

  • ginseng
  • kava (Piper methysticum)
  • mistletoe (Viscum)
  • purple passion flower (passiflora incarnata)
  • skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora and S. baicalensis)
  • valerian (Valeriana officinalis)

It’s important to note that there is no strong evidence to support the use of these herbal remedies for epilepsy. Many of the studies in this area have been performed on animals.

Several herbal remedies can also interact with other medications you are taking and may have side effects. It is important to speak with a doctor before taking any herbal remedies for epilepsy.

3. Avoiding or reducing alcohol

Some studies suggest that there may be a connection between alcohol consumption and epilepsy. The Epilepsy Foundation mentions that the risk of seizures can be much higher when you have had 3 drinks or more.

Some people with epilepsy are advised to stop drinking, whereas others are able to drink moderately. A doctor can advise what a safe level of alcohol is for you to drink.

4. Reducing caffeine

Research suggests that, for some people, too much caffeine can increase the risk of a seizure. But other studies performed on animals also suggest that a certain amount of caffeine may protect against seizures.

Caffeine can also interfere with some medications used to treat epilepsy, like topiramate (Topamax). A doctor can advise how much caffeine you should be having.

5. Following a sleep schedule

The Epilepsy Foundation advises that not getting enough sleep can trigger a seizure for some people. If you have epilepsy, it can be helpful to build a regular sleep schedule. You can also take the following steps to improve the quality of your sleep:

  • exercise regularly
  • keep your bedroom quiet and dark
  • avoid caffeine for 6 hours before bedtime
  • meditate before you go to sleep

6. Supplements

The Epilepsy Foundation says that the only vitamin deficiency known to cause seizures is vitamin B6. This deficiency is usually found in babies. A doctor may supplement with B6 to try and manage the seizures. There is, still, currently no good evidence that supplementing with B6 can help adults with epilepsy.

A 2016 study suggests that vitamin E supplementation may help with seizures, but further research is still needed. A doctor can advise you on what supplements may be beneficial for you.

7. CBD and cannabis

Cannabidiol (CBD) may help manage seizures. A 2017 study suggests that cannabis can help improve seizures, alertness, and motor skills.

Still, for some people, CBD may trigger seizures, so more research is needed to confirm whether cannabis can help with epilepsy.

8. Stress reduction techniques

Living with epilepsy can sometimes affect your mental health. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NIH) estimates that 1 in 3 people with epilepsy will have depression in their lifetime.

Using relaxation techniques may help improve anxiety, depression, and the quality of life for someone with epilepsy. Stress management techniques can include:

  • meditation and breathing exercises
  • listening to music
  • having regular massages
  • spending time in nature

9. Music therapy

A 2020 study suggests that listening to a piece of Mozart music regularly could reduce seizures. More research is needed, but this study suggests that music may be able to offer a natural way to manage seizures.

Other treatment options

Natural remedies are not an alternative to medical treatment. The NIH suggests that your medical treatment options for epilepsy can include the following:

  • Medications: Antiseizure medication is the most common way of managing seizures. There are several antiseizure medications available, including:
  • Surgery: This option is usually only considered if at least two medications haven’t worked or if you have a brain lesion that is causing your seizures. There are different types of surgery used for treating epilepsy, such as:
    • resective surgery, involving the removal of the part of your brain which causes seizures
    • corpus callosotomy, a procedure that involves the cutting of nerve fibers to stop seizures
    • hemispherectomy, the partial or total removal of half of the brain
  • Brain stimulation: For those who do not respond to antiseizure medication, brain stimulation may be an option.

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When to contact a doctor

It is best to speak with a doctor to find the right epilepsy treatment options for you. The Epilepsy Foundation notes that within a few years, about 6 out of 10 people with epilepsy can live seizure-free with the right treatment. For many, antiseizure medication is the first-line treatment for the condition.


The main approaches for treating and managing epilepsy include medication, lifestyle measures, and surgery.

Several natural options, such as following a ketogenic diet or cutting down on alcohol, if applicable, may also help you manage your condition. It’s important to know that there isn’t much clear evidence for the use of herbal remedies to treat epilepsy.

You should work with a doctor to decide on a suitable treatment plan for you. With the right treatment in place, most people with epilepsy can manage seizures without it affecting their day-to-day life.

Download the free Optum Perks Discount Card to save up to 80% on some prescription medications.

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