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Convulsions

General characteristics

General characteristics

A convulsion is defined as a sudden, uncontrollable involuntary muscle contraction resulting in the body trembling/shaking for a period of time. It is a type of seizure. A convulsion is a symptom of an underlying disorder or other disturbance and is not in itself a disease. Often they are not serious and can last from a few seconds to a couple of minutes. If convulsions continue for longer periods and the person is unconscious or behaves strangely then consider this a medical emergency and phone for an ambulance.
They can result from many conditions including high and low blood sugar, high temperatures, metabolic or hormonal disturbances, head traumas, tumours (rarely), electric shock, meningitis, kidney failure, drug abuse, intestinal parasites, severe constipation, food allergies, poisoning, nerve damage or disease and stroke. They can occur regularly (such as in epilepsy) or as a one off (such as in febrile convulsions due to a fever). When convulsions occur regularly in a person for no apparent reason they are termed epileptic.

Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

Regular doses of omega 3 fatty acids are considered very helpful in preventing convulsions or seizures.

Foods rich in vitamin E, B vitamins and selenium prevent the damaging effects of convulsions and also help prevent them. See 'vitamins' in the 'natural healing' section for ideas on foods rich in these nutrients.

Avoid aspartame (present in diet cola etc, chewing gum and most diet or low sugar food and drink)as this has been linked with abnormal changes in the brain and nervous system.

Avoid caffeine and alcohol.

Eat organic foods wherever possible and avoid pesticides such as organophosphates as they are suggested as having a causative role in convulsions and seizures, particularly in children.

Eat a balanced diet based on fresh fruit, vegetables, grains and nuts and avoid high salt foods and junk food generally. High and low blood sugar are both implicated in convulsions. See 'blood sugar' in the 'common ailments' section for more information on the effects of overeating sugary and carbohydrate rich foods.

Eat plenty of foods rich in calcium and magnesium such as dark green leaves as a preventative to protect against convulsions.

The ketogenic diet, a type of Atkins diet based on eating large amounts of fat and protein and fewer carbohydrates can prove very successful in reducing or eliminating convulsions and seizures, especially in children.


Useful herbs

Useful herbs

If convulsions are occurring regularly then it is important to get a diagnosis, to find the cause and treat that accordingly. If there is no discernible cause then the herbs that build and restore the nervous system will be very important.
Herbs such as oats, gotu kola, skullcap, st johns wort, motherwort, wood betony and vervain can be used in equal parts as a daily formula in their tincture form. These herbs will help to strengthen and nourish the nervous system and encourage proper blood flow and therefore nutrient delivery and waste removal throughout the brain and nerve tissues. A teaspoon 3 times daily in a little water is a good place to start. Add a few drops of cayenne tincture to each dose to boost circulation.
A few drops of barberry tincture in a little water 3 times daily can help lessen convulsions.
Crampbark tincture can be dropped on the tongue during an episode to help relax muscles.
Aniseed tea is an old traditional middle eastern remedy for convulsions.
To relax and ease spasm use equal parts of tinctures of the anti-spasmodic valerian, black cohosh and lobelia. A few drops on the tongue at the first signs of a convulsion could stop it from developing or lessen the effect and duration.
A cup of chickweed tea is an old fashioned yet effective tea for the relief of convulsions.
Use herbs to help the body cope with the effects of stress and tension such as siberian ginseng. A teaspoon 3 times a day will help the body to deal more efficiently with the physical effects of stress.
Cups of chamomile tea can help to relax the body and mind. Use 2 teaspoons of herb per cup.
If the convulsions are from a fever make a tea of equal parts of elderflower, chamomile, peppermint and yarrow to help break the fever and reduce the temperature. Sip the tea while warm.

Natural healing

Natural healing

For convulsions caused by fever, sponge the body with tepid water to which a few drops of lavender essential oil has been added.
Make sure you are sleeping well, exercise regularly and eat regularly.

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