Diagnosed with Ménière's disease in 2006, the author has strived to manage the effects of tinnitus and vertigo with natural remedies.
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is the medical term given to noises that are heard in the ear, but which have no external noise source. It is derived from the latin word tinnire which means to ring.
Although coined ringing in the ear, the noise varies among sufferers. Tinnitus may sound like buzzing, whistling, ringing, humming, roaring, swooshing, hissing, clicking or even pulsating. The American Tinnitus Association also advises that some patients report hearing music, although these cases are rare.
The sounds are most irritating and prominent during the evening and nighttime, when everything is much quieter.
Before Using Herbal Supplements
If you already suffer from tinnitus then you really don’t need me to tell you how debilitating the symptoms are. Equally as frustrating is the realization that there is presently no known medical cure for this ringing in the ears, something which can have such a significant and detrimental impact on your daily life.
For thousands of years, natural herbal remedies have been studied and used as an effective means of improving health and treating a wide variety of human ailments. We often turn to alternative medicine, out of sheer desperation, when there is no known cure for our diagnosed condition.
There are many herbal supplements on the market which claim to 'cure' tinnitus. Nonetheless, as already stated, there is presently no recognized medical cure for tinnitus.
Therefore, you should always view these products as a means of managing your tinnitus symptoms. Also remember that what works for one individual may not work for you. It is often a case of trial and error to determine which supplements provide the best tinnitus relief for you personally.
As with most forms of medication, improvement usually occurs over a period of time and is not instantaneous. It is also important to bear in mind that herbal supplements can be equally as toxic as prescription medications. Never exceed the stated dose and always inform your medical practitioner of any supplements you may be taking to ensure that there are no contraindications.
Below are some of the most common herbal remedies frequently used by tinnitus sufferers.
#1: Ginkgo Biloba for Tinnitus
Ginkgo biloba is my go-to supplement for tinnitus and the one that I have had most success with. However, as with any supplement, it is important not to use it unless you really need to and I only buy a low dose supplement of 60mg.
Ginkgo Biloba Benefits
Native to China, Ginkgo Biloba is the only present day survivor of a group of ancient trees which pre-date dinosaurs. Commonly known as the Maidenhair tree, Ginkgo Biloba extract has long been used for medicinal purposes by the Chinese.
It is a popular and widely researched supplement that boosts blood flow to extremities of the body such as the hands, feet and brain. This improved circulation helps with memory, concentration, vertigo and tinnitus. If your tinnitus is attributable to restricted blood flow in the inner ear, then Ginkgo Biloba extract may be beneficial in helping relieve the symptoms of tinnitus.
However, please bear in mind that Ginkgo Biloba is slow acting and you will need to take it for a period of 12 weeks before noticing any significant improvement. You should also ensure you use a high quality product that contains a minimum of 24% standardized Ginkgo Biloba extract and low residual Ginkgolic Acid.
#2: Black Cohosh
Black Cohosh is a tall, leafy perennial herb which has a large, knotty root. It is also known as Rattleroot, Black Snake Root and Squaw Root as historically, it was used to treat rattlesnake bites.However, there is no current research to support its effectiveness in this regard.
Black cohosh is native to the United States of America and it is the root which is used for medicinal purposes. It should not be confused with the unrelated plants of white cohosh or blue cohosh.
Black cohosh is probably best known for combating hot flushes and night sweats commonly experienced by menopausal women. However, when taken alongside Ginkgo Biloba extract, Black cohosh helps dilate blood vessels thus improving circulation in the ear. The sedative properties of Black cohosh can also help alleviate any anxiety associated with tinnitus.
Please note that Black Cohosh is not recommended for use by women during pregnancy. There is also some debate as to whether or not Black Cohosh can have an adverse effect on liver function.
Once again, please allow several weeks for the Black Cohosh to take effect.
#3: Goldenseal Hydrastis
Goldenseal Hydrastis is one of the top selling herbal supplements available to purchase in the United States. It has multiple medicinal uses due to its anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and astringent properties. It is often combined with the immune system booster, echinacea, to enhance the effects of the latter. However, it is the anti-catarrhal properties which can help with the effects of tinnitus by improving the flow of mucus in the middle ear. If this mucus becomes too thick, then it is unable to drain effectively. This, in turn, causes a build up of pressure in the ear and may even lead to infection. It is this pressure build up which can cause “pounding” tinnitus symptoms.
Goldenseal hydrastis works by soothing irritated mucous membranes and alleviating this congestion. The thickness of the mucus is reduced which improves the flow/drainage of the mucus and ear pressure is subsequently diminished. This can provide tinnitus relief relatively quickly.
Goldenseal is a useful supplement if you suffer with your sinuses and can be used to treat the common cold. For tinnitus relief, it is recommended that Goldenseal be taken in conjunction with Black cohosh.
Goldenseal hydrastis is not recommended for use by women during pregnancy.
I have already discussed Lipoflavonoids in my earlier hub Lipoflavonoid so will simply précis that information here.
Lipoflavonoid and lipo-flavonoid are registered trademarks of DSE Healthcare Solutions. Lipoflavonoid is essentially bioflavonoid with some added ingredients. Bioflavonoid was once known as Vitamin P but is not strictly a vitamin.
Bioflavonoids help alleviate tinnitus symptoms by improving the circulation in the inner ear.
#5: Lycopodium Clavatum
Lycopodium Clavatum is also known as ground pines or creeping cedar. Lycopodium powder, which is yellow in colour, is derived from the dried spores of the mossy Lycopodium plants.
It is a homeopathic remedy best suited to those who experience some degree of hearing loss in addition to tinnitus symptoms. Homeopathy is based on the principle that 'like cures like' when used in a highly diluted doses. Whilst homeopathic remedies are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it should be noted that the FDA does not evaluate the remedies for either safety or effectiveness. You should always ensure that you advise your health care practitioner of any complementary remedies that you use.
Lycopodium Clavatum is recommended for those who experience reverberating tinnitus, difficulty hearing and continual ear infections, possibly with discharge. It can also ease vertigo symptoms and help with ears that are highly sensitive to everyday sounds.
If In Doubt
The above outlines some of the options available in respect of alternative remedies for tinnitus relief. Please note that not all of these remedies will be suitable for you as it will entirely depend upon the cause of your tinnitus symptoms. If you are hesitant about taking herbal supplements then you should consult a qualified Herbalist who will be able to advise you accordingly. As stated earlier, you should always check with your medical practitioner to determine whether or not there are any contraindications in respect of prescribed medications and/or pre-existing medical health problems.
- American Tinnitus Association. Understanding the Facts. Retrieved August 4, 2019.
- Hilton MP, Zimmermann EF, Hunt WT. (2004). Ginkgo Biloba for Tinnitus. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013;3:CD003852. Retrieved August 4, 2019.
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. (2016). Ginkgo. Accessed August 4, 2019.
- Mei, N., Guo, X., Ren, Z., Kobayashi, D., Wada, K., & Guo, L. (2017). Review of Ginkgo biloba-induced toxicity, from experimental studies to human case reports. Journal of environmental science and health. Part C, Environmental carcinogenesis & ecotoxicology reviews, 35(1), 1–28. doi:10.1080/10590501.2016.1278298. Retrieved August 4, 2019.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2012 C L Grant
Your Comments Are Most Welcome
Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on December 12, 2019:
I've not tried any of these remedies. But, having suffered with tinnitus for several years now, I will definitely look into some of these. Thankyou!