If you have ever felt like the world around you is spinning and you cannot keep your balance, you may have experienced vertigo. Most people experience this at some point in their life, however, for some people it can be a recurring thing. Vertigo is a sensation of spinning (dizziness), that is generally associated with conditions of the inner ear. While experiencing vertigo, a patient may feel as though the world around them is spinning. People sometimes refer to the symptoms they’re experiencing as “dizzy spells” – referring to a recurrent issue with dizziness.
Keep in mind that vertigo may be accompanied by other symptoms (depending on the cause), such as:
– Ringing in the ears
– Loss of hearing
– Abnormal Eye Movements
One important fact to remember is that vertigo is usually a symptom of an underlying condition. The most common causes include:
1. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) – dislodging of calcium crystals in the ear which result in a pathological displacement of fluid within the ear,
2. Meniere’s Disease – a disorder that is believed to develop as a result of fluid build-up within the ear
3. Vestibular Neuritis – an inflammatory condition of the inner ear (due to viral infections)
4. Injuries to head and neck
5. Brain tumors, strokes, migraines
6. Certain medications (ACE inhibitors, etc)
Treatment involves the use of medications specifically targeted to treat any of the above-mentioned causes. However, there are several general remedies that can help in the symptomatic management of Vertigo.
While ginger is known for its potent anti-inflammatory, fertility-promoting, liver detoxifying and digestion stimulating effects, it is also useful in treating vertigo. In a double-blind crossover placebo-controlled clinical trial, patients taking ginger root reduced their induced-vertigo symptoms significantly (see study). In my experience, 1/2 a teaspoon of ginger powder mixed in a glass of warm water works quite well. This should be taken 2-3 times a day.
2. Ginkgo Biloba
Ginkgo Biloba is known for its energy boosting, memory enhancing, circulation boosting and stress-reducing effects. It has demonstrated the potential to support multiple mechanisms related to the nervous system and conditions associated with it. Most notably, Ginkgo Biloba is able to improve cerebral blood flow – which in my opinion, may play a role in how this herb helps treat vertigo. In a randomized, double-blind comparative clinical trial, Ginkgo Biloba and Betahistine were each administered to groups of patients with Vertigo. Both drugs were similarly effective, however, Ginkgo Biloba was better tolerated (see study).
(Always use medicinal herbs under the supervision of a physician)
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By Dr. Nishal Ramnunan BAMS
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