Essential Natural Remedies and Home Treatment for a Concussion

Author: | Modified: May 24, 2018


By Deirdre Layne

May 24, 2018
Updated May 24, 2018 3:00 p.m. PST

A concussion, also known as a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI), is caused by a bump, jolt or blow to the head. Millions of concussions occur worldwide each year from car accidents, sports injuries, falls, or by accidentally banging one's head into an automobile trunk. Not only are athletes at risk for multiple blows to the head from sports like wrestling, hockey, soccer, football, cheerleading, and gymnastics, but a new 2018 study now points to traumatic brain injury in hundreds of thousands of US troops from repeated trauma to the brain caused by explosions while training on weapons.

Natural treatment for a concussion focuses on promoting recovery through well-documented supplements like Magnesium and Omega 3 Fish Oil, getting adequate rest in a stress-free environment, and making sure not to overstimulate the brain during the healing process. Calming essential oils like lavender oil are also used as a natural aid and to help ease the depression and anxiety that can often follow a brain injury.

Nutritional Supplements in Concussion Treatment

After a concussion, there is a secondary injury to the body that immediately follows, consisting of heightened damage by oxygen radicals and a highly acidic pH, which leads to the release of iron and production of more oxygen radicals. An increase in these oxygen free radicals has been observed in studies sometimes minutes within the primary injury.  At the same time, there is a dramatic increase in inflammation and excitotoxicity in the brain after a brain trauma. 2

Supplements are used to help counter these secondary injuries following a concussion. Certain supplements can ease inflammation and repair tissue and blood vessel damage after a concussion. Top supplements to ease inflammation and to counter oxidative stress include fish oil, magnesium, curcumin, resveratrol, and vitamins E and C.

Fish Oil for Post Concussion Syndrome

Omega 3 fish oil is one of the most important of supplements to administer following a traumatic brain injury. According to one animal study in The Journal of Neurosurgery, Dr. Julian Bailes and Dr. Barry Sears found that supplementing with fish oil containing EPA/DHA fo 30 days after head injuries reduced inflammation in the observed tissues.

“One implication of the study is that concussions, such as those that occur in football, may be best treated with immediate high-dose fish oil supplementation to reduce brain inflammation. The same may hold true of all brain trauma patients,” Dr Sears said. 3

A dosage of approximately 1 tablespoon (15 grams) of high-purity fish oil every day for one month was found to be beneficial for many of Dr. Sears patients with concussions.

Best Forms of Magnesium for Concussions

Magnesium is an essential supplement for Post-Concussion Syndrome recovery. Studies have shown that magnesium levels in the brain fall approximately 50% within hours of a traumatic brain injury and remain low for at least 3-5 days before returning to normal levels.

When magnesium levels are decreased after a head trauma, cells are less capable of providing enough energy to restore and repair, which may result in cellular death. 4 This severe decrease in magnesium was most likely due to enhanced glucose metabolism by glycolysis and/or urinary losses. 5

It is believed that excessive calcium entry into the cells is the biggest threat to brain damage, as the calcium excess ultimately leads to increased free radicals, proteolysis, initiation of apoptosis, and inflammation.

Magnesium is a calcium channel blocker and helps to control intracellular calcium activity. Magnesium also increases cardiac output and cerebral blood flow, aiding in recovery from injury. It is therefore advised that magnesium supplementation begin as soon as possible following a brain injury.

1. Magnesium Threonate

According to one study, restoring the brain magnesium levels with Magnesium L-Threonate, a permeable magnesium salt, immediately after injury improves outcome. 6  Magnesium Threonate is one of the most bioavailable forms of magnesium and used by many naturopaths specifically for improving magnesium levels in the brain.

Dosage: 1 to 3 capsules can be taken daily. The body will be able to tolerate higher doses of magnesium than usual following a concussion. However, note that magnesium can cause loose stools, so start this supplementation slowly with just 1 capsule for the first day or two.

2. Magnesium Oil (aka Magnesium Chloride)

Magnesium Oil, which is very simply an oil made by adding water, witch hazel, or vodka to magnesium chloride flakes, is beneficial for traumatic brain injuries. Studies have shown that Magnesium Chloride improved behavioral and neurochemical outcome in several models of experimental brain injury. 7

Magnesium oil is sold in most health food stores and online and may be used in addition to Magnesium L-Threonate since it is quickly absorbed by the body.

Magnesium oil should be applied on or near the site of injury. If skin is broken, avoid applying magnesium oil to that area and instead use oil on unbroken skin. Ideally, magnesium oil should also be applied to the neck, forehead, temples and scalp near the area of trauma. Leave magnesium oil on the skin for at least 30 minutes before rinsing off.

3. Epsom Salt Baths

Epsom Salt is a magnesium sulfate mineral compound. Epsom Salt Baths are an additional helpful way to restore magnesium levels to the body after a concussion, especially when used in conjunction with magnesium supplements and magnesium oil.

For post-concussive care, add 2 cups of epsom salts to a warm bath. Stir the bottom of the tub vigorously to make sure the crystals are fully dissolved. 

Important! Make sure to fill the bathtub with enough water to fully submerge your torso, arms and legs. A 30 minute soak time is ideal.

4. Magnesium Sulfate Injections

A 2008 study reported that patients who were given a magnesium sulfate injection within 12 hours after a closed head injury displayed less brain swelling and lower mortality than patients not given magnesium. Magnesium sulfate is only obtainable with a doctor's prescription and therefore is not the best choice of magnesium for home treatment. 8

Vitamins E and C

Recent studies have begun to support the vitamins E and C in reducing neuropathology and cognitive deficits following a brain trauma. 9  An additional study suggests that antioxidant reserves of Vitamin C are severely compromised after a brain trauma due to oxidative stress. 10 

Vitamin E Dosage:

1 400iu capsule of Vitamin E per day. Less for children. Note: get doctor's approval before taking this because at high doses, vitamin E can increase bleeding.

Vitamin C Dosage:

Option 1: 500-1,000mg of Vitamin C twice a day.

Option 2: Hourly dosing of 100mg vitamin c is suggested directly after a brain injury.

Note: The body will be able to tolerate more than usual amount of vitamin c without diarrhea after a brain injury. Many naturopaths suggest taking vitamin c up to the point of diarrhea. For some, the daily dosage of vitamin c will be above 5,000 mg, depending on the severity of the brain injury.

Curcumin

Curcumin, one of the phytochemicals in the spice turmeric, has been shown in animal studies to reduce swelling, pain and oxidative brain injury. 11 Studies have also shown that curcumin can help depression, a common side effect from concussions.

Resveratrol

Resveratrol, a plant compound found in red wine, has been shown to help recovery from concussions by increasing cerebral blood flow and reducing inflammation. Resveratrol is often used after a concussion as its potent antioxidant properties can decrease the amount of brain damage and cognitive decline. 12

The dose of Resveratrol is 500mg. capsule once a day for 30 days following a brain injury.

Melatonin

Melatonin, a hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain, is a safe and well-tolerated supplement with useful properties following a traumatic brain injury. Melatonin has been shown to have antioxidative, neuroprotective, and anti-inflammatory properties. Multiple studies have shown that melatonin helps improve mood, decrease brain edema, decrease intracranial pressure and reduce inflammation by increasing superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase. 13

Dosage varies, but 3 mg. for youths and up to 10 mg. for adults per day of sublingual melatonin for 28 days to treat post-concussion syndrome has been mentioned.

Essential Oils for Concussion

Using essential oils that promote circulation such as frankincense oil can aid in the healing process of head injuries. Frankincense can increase the oxygenation of the blood going to the brain. Lavender oil can also be helpful in treating headaches, anxiety and depression following a concussion.

Treatment:  Add 5 drops of organic frankincense or lavender oil to a diffuser. Replenish oil when the scent has dissipated.

Home Treatment for a Concussion

1. Rest & Relaxation in a Peaceful Environment

After a traumatic brain injury, it is vitally important to give the brain a chance to recover by resting and relaxing in a quiet, darkened, and serene environment. Anything that  causes emotional stress response, such as a loud television, jarring music, or conversation should be avoided for a few days.

It helps greatly if family members looking after an individual with a concussion be patient, kind, extraordinarily gentle and soft spoken.

2. Limit Mental Activity

Talking and mentally-taxing activity like working on a computer should be avoided while recovering from a concussion. Too much stimulus can prevent timely healing from a concussion.

If music is played, classical music from composers like Bach and Mozart is often touted as being extremely healing to the brain.

What are the Symptoms of a Concussion?

Concussion symptoms can appear at any time, from immediately following the injury to several days after the injury. Symptoms can include one or more of the following:

  1. Headache
  2. Confusion
  3. Difficulty Concentrating or Remembering
  4. Difficulty Speaking and/or Slurred Speech
  5. Irritability
  6. Balance and Coordination Issues
  7. Dizziness
  8. Ringing in the Ears
  9. Nausea
  10. Vomiting
  11. Fatigue
  12. Light Sensitive
  13. Noise Sensitive
  14. Depression
  15. Loss of Smell
  16. Taste Issues
  17. Seizures
  18. Blurry Vision
  19. Numbness or Tingling
  20. Sluggish, Hazy or Groggy
  21. Pressure in Head
  22. Sad
  23. Nervous
  24. Highly Emotional (More than Usual)
  25. Sleep Disturbances

When To Seek Urgent Medical Care for A Concussion

Get medical help immediately if any of the following symptoms occur following a concussion:

  1. Loss of Consciousness for Any Amount of Time
  2. One Pupil is Larger Than the Other
  3. Vomiting 
  4. Seizures 
  5. Headache Lasting More Than 48 hours
  6. Issues with Physical Coordination
  7. Loss of Mental Function
  8. Symptoms Get Worse Over Time

How Does A Concussion Get Diagnosed?

Since confusion is often the key sign of a concussion, those with suspected brain injuries are asked simple questions such as: What is Your Name? What Month is it? Where Are We Now? Is It Before or After Lunch?

Did you try one of these remedies or have another remedy to suggest?  Please let us know!

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Deirdre Layne is founder and owner of Earth Clinic and has studied natural remedies, movement arts, and alternative healing modalities for over 25 years.


About the Author: Deirdre Layne

Founder and CEO of Earth Clinic, has an extensive background in health and healing. She created EarthClinic.com in 1999 as a way to teach people about natural remedies and alternative healing therapies. Since then, thousands of people around the world and their pets have been healed by the remedies found on Earth Clinic. Deirdre holds a BA from Mount Holyoke College in Philosophy and is the author of the book Apple Cider Vinegar: A Modern Folk Remedy.


Natural Healing Modalities for Concussion  

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Posted by Marysia (South Pasadena) on 05/24/2018
5 out of 5 stars

After two cement blocks fell on my head I became disoriented and very confused and it felt like my heart was also in shock from the trauma so I used a combination of essential oils like 2 drops of peppermint oil under the tongue along a supplement which has a proprietary blend of Black Cumin, Heart Harmony, Immune Harmony, Present Moment and Sore to Soar. Also immediately sprayed liquid Magnesium on the site of the injury which luckily was not an open would but a egg sized bump on the top of my head and also sprayed the Magnesium on my heart and neck.

I then rubbed Orange oil into my palms and took a big whiff of that to send it directly to the brain. Also took 1000 msg of Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C which also has 1000 mg. Essential Phospholipids it in AM and again at night, plus Lipo-Spheric B Complex Plus which contains All the B Vitamins, Minerals and Cinnamon in AM and before bed.

Recovering well and keeping quiet with lots of sleep to allow for healing. Important not to be alone and to ask someone to keep an eye on you with this injury in case of further complications which thankfully I did not experience. In fact, I healed in record time with just a slight headache during the first two days. I thank God for these wonderful natural healing modalities!