Definition and Etiology

In most Ayurvedic texts, epilepsy is mentioned as Apasmara (or Apasmrti) and classified as a mental disease. As implied by its name, it involves partial or total loss of cognition (memory and sense-perception). Epilepsy (Apasmara), like several psychatric illnesses (Unmada), is attributed to humoral derangement. The original cause of such derangement lies in wrong conduct (mithyacara) and improper gratification of senses. The bodily humors deranged by such conduct gradually invade the sense-carrying channels of the body, causing loss of consciousness due to the gradual accumulation of tamas (inertia) inside the channels. Unusual physical activity in the shape of involuntary writhing, groaning, contortions of the limbs, and uncontrolled movements of the eyes are caused by the abnormal accumulation of rajas (potential energy) in other channels (4).

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