Natural remedies for tinnitus
Q. I have been given drugs for tinnitus – are there also any natural remedies?
A. Tinnitus has multiple causes, and these need to be determined before embarking on treatment. However, these ideas may help – discuss them with your healthcare professional. Magnesium deficiency may cause tinnitus, and supplements (1,000mg a day) may relieve tinnitus associated with Meniere’s disease and protect ears from further damage. The B-group vitamins and vitamin C have shown positive benefits for those with hearing loss.
Eat foods that contain zinc, as zinc deficiency is associated with tinnitus and certain kinds of hearing loss. Good sources include pumpkin seeds and spinach (two of the best), shellfish, papaya, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, beans, endive, prunes, and asparagus. It is difficult to get the recommended daily amount of zinc (60mg) from food alone, so you could also take a supplement.
Herbs can help, especially for tinnitus related to allergies and poor circulation. For example, the active constituents in ginkgo, ginkgolides, increase small arterial circulation in the extremities, like ears; dong quai is warming and anti-inflammatory; and butterbur decreases histamine, a key chemical released by the body in an allergic reaction. In one study, 33 percent of tinnitus patients tested had tinnitus related to allergies – stinging nettle leaf has significant anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic qualities.
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) sees tinnitus as having two causes – excess liver heat or deficiency in the kidney – and will treat it with either honeysuckle flower and baical skullcap, or Chinese foxglove and Asiatic cornelian cherry fruit, respectively. Acupuncture can be very effective.