There are numerous types of mental and neurological conditions. These include things such as parkinsons disease, autism, down syndrome, epilepsy, and other conditions. Among all neurological conditions, epilepsy is one of the most common. The majority of cases concerning epilepsy and seizures are controlled by medications, but around one-third of individuals the medications have no effect. It has been only within probably the past twenty to thirty years that medical research on the actual affects of natural substances has been looked at. The most well-known of these is marijuana or cannabis. There are other natural substances that will assist in decreasing seizures as well, either alone, or when combined with cannabis. Here we go over how turmeric affects seizure, both while using it alone, and with marijuana.
What is Turmeric ?
Turmeric is a natural spice that has been used for thousands of years, specifically by those in eastern Asia and China. It is part of the cumuca longa plant and has been shown to help with inflammation, anti oxidation, and the immune system (1). There are numerous uses for this substance medically. This includes treatment for general pain, epilepsy, and even weight loss not to mention other medical conditions. In order for it to work effectively though, it must be as biologically available as possible, and it has been found that this may be in certain forms (7,18). So how exactly does turmeric work in the treatment of seizures and epilepsy ?
How does it work ?
Unlike other substances such as marijuana which main form of use is smoking, turmeric is usually used in the form of capsules. There are numerous factors that go into the treatment of epilepsy concerning targets that are used. Targets used for medical treatment include things such as enzymes, ions, ion channels, and other targets as well. There are some specific targets that are the base for most anti epileptic medications The use of turmeric concerns both the channel that is being used, and its possible affects on certain neurotransmitters. These include: the neurotransmitter GABA and its levels, and channels used for sodium. When it comes to the sodium channel, the goal is to block and decrease any excess absorbsion of sodium ions. The use of turmeric has been shown to assist in the inhibition of specific sodium channels (5) and help through the anti inflammatory and anti oxidation affects that it has (4). This will in turn, require a higher intensity in order for a seizure to occur, increasing the seizure threshold. (16).
Effects on neurotransmitters
Since the neurotransmitter GABA, it is an excititory neurotransmitter, it is a main factor looked at in epilepsy treatment. Decreasing the action of this excititory neurotransmitter through an inhibitor will decrease the chances of a seizure occurring. In some cases, treatment with turmeric has been shown to involve ones’ genetics and the neurotransmitter of serotonin (6), and it may help due to the affects that it has on specific side affects of epilepsy (11,15).
There are different parts to the turmeric plant, and it has been shown that specific parts being combined makes for possible anti epileptic affects that it has. Changing and alternating the GABA signal will inhibit it from being overly active which increases the seizure threshold, and decreases the chances of a seizure occurring (2). This inhibition is done through antagonist for the GABA neurotransmitter, which assists in turning off the signal. Since GABA is an excititory neurotransmitter, it can cause oxidation stress which leads to numerous conditions. One way in which turmeric was shown to work is by decreasing the amount of oxidation stress (3), seizures, and neuronal loss seen, reversing any negative affects that GABA may have caused. This is thought to work through inhibiting specific excititory neurons through two possible channels (12) Although it has been shown for acute accumulation to possibly facilitate GABA currents, an inhibition of post synaptic GABA currents through specific inhibitors and receptors have been seen (13). It has also been shown that when put with sative, an active component of marijuana to positively effect the state of neurotransmission (17).
When should it be used ?
If you’re using it in the form of capsules, there is really no specific time that it is best to use since you’re instructed to take only two pills in one dose. On the other hand, if another form is being used, this may provide more options concerning the time of use. An example is using it either in the form of oil, or possibly vaping since this involves oil. If it is possible to use in the form of vaping, the best time to use it may be prior to a seizure occurring if you are able to sense one coming on. This is the case for many types of seizures, but for some, it just occurs without any prior warning. Also, just as with any medications that you are taking, you will want to be on a regular schedule concerning its use. It has been shown through pre treatment to be effective in both preventing seizures, and its anti-seizure affects (19,9), meaning its probably best taken as previously mentioned just prior to a seizure possibly occurring. Also, if you see stress as a trigger for any seizures that occur, you may want to look at using it during the more stressful time during your day. You may still be asking will it work for me, so who does this work best for ?
Who should use it ?
As mentioned earlier, turmeric is a very common spice, so its used by many in the form of cooking. There are also many individuals that use it as a supplement for general health. It can assist not only in one’s general health and well-being, but it has been shown to help with weight loss, making it a good option for anyone that needs to lose some weight. For anyone using it in a supplemental form, it may also help with numerous medical conditions you may have. When it comes to using it as an additive for epilepsy treatment, it has been shown to assist with certain types of epilepsy (19). This includes temporal lobe epilepsy (14) which is one of the more common forms, and even with status epilepticus. This is a form of epilepsy where continuous seizures occur, with a small window of time between the seizures. Although it has not shown to decrease the seizures seen, it does show a decrease in the intensity of neuronal damage that occurs during status epilepticus (8,10). This makes using turmeric good for anyone from general health wellness, to use for medical purposes as well.
Since there are many cases in which medications are not effective in treatment for epilepsy, other possible forms of treatment are being looked at. The use of turmeric which is a natural spice has been shown to assist in decreasing the intensity of a seizure occurring, and the frequency of ones seen. This is thought to work through the inhibition of specific neurotransmitters, and changes to ion channels that are used by neurotransmitters. Turmeric can work either alone, or when combined with other things such as marijuana. The research done shows promising results in treating seizures, and may be a good supplement to add to ones current medication that is being taken.