Epilepsy refers to a chronic condition in which repeated fits or attacks of unconsciousness occur with or without convulsions. Known as ‘falling sickness ‘ it is a serious disorder of the central nervous system. It occurs in both children and adults. Most attacks however, occur in childhood and in early adult life. Attack rates show a progressive decline in frequence with age.
Epilepsy is a very ancient disease which afflicted some of the world’s greatest personalities, including Napoleon, Alexander and Julius Ceasar. The actual word "epilepsy" comes from the Greek word which means "to seize upon " . The ancient people believed that evil spirits entered the body of the persons afflicted, seized upon his soul and threw his body into convulsions. The Greeks believed that the goods induced this disease. The early Christians blamed the Devil for these convulsions.
Epilepsy is recognised by recurrent sudden attacks at irregular intervals. The patients twitch convulsively and fall unconscious to the ground during these attacks which cause tremendous nervous upheavel. There are two main types of epilepsy known as petit mal and grand mal . Each follows its own specific pattern.
In petiti mal, which is a less serious form of epilepsy, an attack comes and goes within a few seconds. The patient has a momentary loss of consciousness, with no convulsions except sometimes a slight rigidity, or there may be a slight convulsive attack such as a jerk, or movement of the eyes, head, trunk or extremities, with no perceptible loss of consciousness. The patient may not fall. He may suddenly stop what he is doing and then resume it when the attack is over, without even being aware of what has happened. Petit mal attacks may occur at any time in life but are most frequent in children.
The attack in case of grand mal comes with a dramatic effect. There are violent contractions of the arms, legs and body, accompanied by a sudden loss of consciousness. Before the onset of an attack, some patients have a warning or aura in the form of strange sensations such as a current or air or a stream of water flowing over the body, noises, odours and flashes of light. In a typical attack, the patient cries out, falls to the ground, loses consciousness and develops convulsions. With the convulsions may come foaming at the mouth, twitching of the muscles, biting of the tongue, distorted fixation of limbs, rotation of the head and derivation of the eyes. The patient may lose control over his bladder rectal muscles. The attack may last several minutes and is usually followed by a deep sleep. On waking up, the patient may remember nothing of what happened to him.
People who suffer from epilepsy are not abnormal in any other way. They usually know that fits can be triggered off by particular stimuli. Between epileptic attacks, their brain functions normally.
Epilepsy denotes electrical malfunctioning within the brain due to damage to brain cells or some inherited abnormality. There are many causes of epilepsy. Digestive disturbances, intestinal toxaemia and a strained nervous condition are very often the main cause of petit mal. Grand mal usually results from hereditary influences, serious shock or injury to the brain or nervous system. Meningitis, typhoid and other diseases, attendant with prolonged high temperature, can also lead to grand mal.
Epilepsy may be caused by several other factors. It may result from allergic reaction to certain food substances, especially some particular form of protein which is the main constituent of meat. Circulatory disorders such as hardening of the arteries leading to the brain may also cause epileptic seizures. This type is rare and occurs only in very aged people.
Chronic alcoholism, lead poisoning, cocaine and other such habits can also lead to this disease. Other causes of epileptic seizure include mental conflict, deficient mineral assimilation, particularly of magnesium and calcium and wrong vitamin metabolism. According to some researchers, hypoglycemia or low blood sugar is also involved in most cases of epilepsy.
In the natural treatment, the sufferer from epilepsy has to follow a rigorous regimen consisting of a strict diet, complete relaxation and optimum exercise in the open air. He must adhere to a simple and correct natural life. He must assume a cheerful, optimistic attitude, refrain from mental and physical overwork and worry.
The most important aspect of the treatment is the diet. To begin with, the patient should be placed on an exclusive fruit diet for first few days. During this period, he should have three meals a day of fresh juicy fruits such as oranges, apples, grapes, grape-fruits, peaches, pears, pineapples and melons. Thereafter, he may gradually adopt a well-balanced diet of three basic food groups, namely seeds, nuts and grains ; vegetables and fruits, with emphasis on sprouted seeds such as alfalfa seeds and mung beans, raw vegetables and fruits. The diet should include a moderate amount of raw milk, preferably raw goat’s milk, and milk products such as raw butter and home-made cottage cheese.
The diet should eliminate completely all animal proteins, except milk, as they not only lack in magnesium but also rob the body of its own magnesium storage as well as of vitamin B6. Both these substances are needed in large amounts by the epileptics. Best food sources of magnesium are raw nuts, seeds, soyabeans, green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale and beet tops. The patient should avoid all refined foods, fried and greasy foods, sugar and products made with it, strong tea, coffee, alcoholic beverages , condiments and pickles. He should avoid overeating and take frequent small meals rather than a few large ones.
If the patient has previously taken strong drugs for many years, he should not leave off entirely, all at once. The dosage may be cut to half to begin with and then gradually reduced further until it can be left off completely.
Epileptics should strictly observe all the natural laws of good health and build and maintain the highest level of general health. They shooed remain active mentally but avoid all severe mental and physical stress. And above all, they should avoid excitement of all kinds.