Herbs for Vestibular Disorders
Inner ear and brain are the main components of the vestibular system. However, disease or damage to these organs can occur due to genetic or environmental factors and can lead to vestibular disorders such as benign paraoxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), labyrinthitis, and secondary endolymphatic hydrops. Dizziness, imbalance, vertigo, nausea and blurred vision are the most common symptoms of these conditions.The treatment may involve rehabilitation therapy, medications and surgery. Certain herbs may also help treat and manage vestibular disorders. Always consult with your physician before taking any treatments or supplements.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Ginkgo is one of the most common herbs used to treat vestibular disorders. According to the book “User's Guide to Nutritional Supplements,” ginkgo can help control vertigo by increasing blood flow to the brain and by promoting accurate reception and evaluation of sensory signals 2. Gingko is usually obtained from the leaf of the ginkgo or Ginkgo biloba plant and is available in tablet, capsule and tea forms. Gastric disturbances and allergic skin reactions are the most common side effects. It can also increase the risk of bleeding in some rare cases and should, therefore, be used only under the supervision of a doctor.
- Ginkgo is one of the most common herbs used to treat vestibular disorders.
- According to the book “User's Guide to Nutritional Supplements,” ginkgo can help control vertigo by increasing blood flow to the brain and by promoting accurate reception and evaluation of sensory signals 2.
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The Sutter Medical Foundation recommends 15 mg of vinpocetine to overcome vertigo symptoms 3. Vinpocetine is made from an alkaloid known as vincamine that is extracted from the leaves of the periwrinkle plant Vinca minor. The common side effects include flushing, rashes and upset stomach. It may also interfere with blood thinning medications. As with other herbs, it is best to talk to a doctor before using vinpocetine to treat vestibular disorders.
- The Sutter Medical Foundation recommends 15 mg of vinpocetine to overcome vertigo symptoms 3.
- As with other herbs, it is best to talk to a doctor before using vinpocetine to treat vestibular disorders.
Indian gooseberry is a rich source of vitamin A and C, and may help overcome dizziness associated with vestibular disorders. According to the website Home Remedies, 5 grams of the fruit should be soaked along with coriander leaves in water for 8 to 12 hours 4. The water should be consumed after straining the fruit and the seeds. This preparation is generally safe to use and no major side effects have been reported. However, there is no scientific data available to prove its efficacy and hence, consult a doctor before using it.
- Indian gooseberry is a rich source of vitamin A and C, and may help overcome dizziness associated with vestibular disorders.
- The water should be consumed after straining the fruit and the seeds.
Herbs for Vertigo
The underground stem of the ginger or Zingiber officinale plant may help curb nausea, says Phyllis A. Balch in the book “Prescription for Nutritional Healing.” This may benefit vestibular disorder patients with regular nausea 1. Ginger is generally safe to use, although mild side effects such as heartburn, diarrhea and irritation of the mouth may occur. Ginger may also interact with certain blood thinning medications. Hence, it should not be taken without consulting a physician.
- The underground stem of the ginger or Zingiber officinale plant may help curb nausea, says Phyllis A. Balch in the book “Prescription for Nutritional Healing.” Ginger is generally safe to use, although mild side effects such as heartburn, diarrhea and irritation of the mouth may occur.
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- "Prescription for Nutritional Healing"; Phyllis A. Balch; 2006
- "User's Guide to Nutritional Supplements"; Jack Challem; 2003
- Sutter Medical Foundation: Vertigo
- Home Remedies: Dizziness
- Stanton M, Freeman AM. Vertigo. [Updated 2020 Apr 28]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan.
- Merck Manual Professional Version. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. Updated October 2018.
- Cleveland Clinic. Vestibular neuritis. Updated May 31, 2019.
- National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Ménière's disease. Updated February 13, 2017.
- Thompson TL, Amedee R. Vertigo: a review of common peripheral and central vestibular disorders. Ochsner J. 2009;9(1):20–26.
- National Organization for Rare Disorders. Ramsay Hunt Syndrome. Updated 2011.
- National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Dizziness and vertigo.
- American Heart Association. Syncope (fainting). Updated June 30, 2017.
- Walther LE. Current diagnostic procedures for diagnosing vertigo and dizziness. GMS Curr Top Otorhinolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2017;16:Doc02. doi:10.3205/cto000141
- Hussain K, Murdin L, Schilder AG. Restriction of salt, caffeine and alcohol intake for the treatment of Ménière's disease or syndrome. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018;12:CD012173. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD012173.pub2
- Hilton MP, Pinder DK. The Epley (canalith repositioning) manoeuvre for benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014;(12):CD003162. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD003162.pub3
- Han BI, Song HS, Kim JS. Vestibular rehabilitation therapy: review of indications, mechanisms, and key exercises. J Clin Neurol. 2011;7(4):184-96. doi:10.3988/jcn.2011.7.4.184
- Chiu C-W et al. Efficacy and safety of acupuncture for dizziness and vertigo in emergency department: a pilot cohort study. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2015; 15: 173. doi:10.1186/s12906-015-0704-6
A freelance writer and blogger since 2007, Shamala Pulugurtha's work has appeared in magazines such as the "Guide to Health and Healing" and prominent websites like Brain Blogger and NAMI California. Pulugurtha has a postgraduate degree in medical microbiology from Manipal Academy of Higher Education, India and has completed course work in psychology and health education.