April 21, 2006

Epilepsy and Herbal Treatments

We went to a lecture given by Dr. Pearl about treating epilepsy with herbs. He wrote a chapter on the subject in a book that talks about all kind of alternative therapies for epilepsy. It was nice to get a little preview of him before our appointment but unfortunately he was paged by the emergency room so we didn't get to talk to him afterward.

His talk was interesting, and it was clear that his position on the subject was not in favor of using herbs to treat epilepsy, but rather that doctors need to be aware that patients are using these treatments on their own and it's important to have an open dialog. A lot of the herbs have interactions with the drugs and can actually make the medication less effective. There are currently no reliable clinical studies on the effectiveness of using herbs to treat epilepsy, but NIH is starting to do some research in that area.

Overall, we were impressed with him, and his views about herbal therapies don't fall too far from our own somewhat conservative opinions about these options. I know there are people who will argue this point, but I don't have a whole lot of faith in herbal treatments for dramatic medical issues. There is a lot of testing on conventional medications and a scientific track record on the successes, side-effects and complications people experience when taking them.

1 comment:

James said...

I agree with your view on herbals. Unless there has been a scientific, double blind study done on the herbals, it ain't science. Now if those tests have been done, and they work, well, that particular treatment would then be called, MEDICINE!

Love you all, and Mary and I are thinking of you.