Briefly about Vertigo
Vertigo (sometimes considered a subtype of general dizziness) is typically described as a sensation of faintness or inability to maintain normal balance while in a standing or sitting position.
At the best of times, vertigo is a debilitating illness that will make it difficult to carry on with a normal life. However, when ‘attack’ strikes, it makes it hard to do just about anything. That's why it's important to know about home remedies for vertigo.
Even lying down during an attack brings with it a whole set of problems.
Sometimes associated with states of giddiness, mental confusion, nausea, motion sickness, or general weakness (in more severe cases), vertigo typically results from a sudden change in the functioning of the balance mechanisms of the inner ear (technically, the vestibular system) or in the balance structures' connections to the brain.
Of two varieties, geocentric (the feeling that the room is spinning) and egocentric (the feeling that the individual is him/herself spinning), vertigo is known to affect 20—30% of the population at one time or another to varying degrees, and can manifest in individuals of any age and for a variety of reasons.
While a number of conditions can bring on bouts of vertigo including inflammation of the inner ear, Meniere's disease (caused by the buildup of excessive fluid in the inner ear), a vestibular schwannoma or “acoustic neuroma” (a noncancerous, benign growth manifesting on the vestibular nerve), or a condition called “benign paroxysmal positional vertigo” (triggered by a sudden shift of the head position), vertigo is generally a temporary condition that corrects itself with time.
However, except with more serious cases, there are a number of natural remedies for vertigo that can be quite effective in lessening the severity, restoring balance, and reducing recovery time.
While there are prescribed medical treatments for vertigo, having home remedies to lessen the effects of attacks is imperative. Ultimately, the right home remedies can make vertigo manageable, which will lessen its impact on your day to day life.
In this guide, we will explore several home remedies for vertigo and look at how they can help you if you are suffering.
It should be noted, however, that since vertigo is not one but a variety of related conditions with varying symptoms and origins, not all remedies work effectively for all conditions. Even so, there are a number of natural remedies for vertigo that have been in common use for centuries—as well as some more recently discovered.
Self Care Techniques
As well as the home remedies for vertigo that we have explored, it is important you ensure you follow these simple, but important points to ensure the effects of vertigo are limited:
- Minimize your head movements – ensure you do not jolt your head sharply as this could cause an attack. Fix your vision on one object – focusing on a single object will also minimize your head movements.
- Try not to read or play games during an attack as your eyes and head will move sporadically. Relax – make sure you learn an effective breathing technique. As mentioned with the alcohol swabs controlling your breathing is important as it can minimize the effects of vertigo. Get fresh air – if you can, open a window.
A Word About Exercises at Home
Talking about natural remedies for vertigo, there cannot be anything more natural than movement of your body.
See our post about vertigo exercises here.
That's why we decided to include one exercise (maneuver) that showed to be especially effective in treating “benign paroxysmal positional vertigo” (the most common type of vertigo - BPPV). The so-called Epley Maneuver has proven quite beneficial for many individuals.
To perform this maneuver, the individual begins by placing a pillow on the bed lengthwise.
The individual then sits on the lower end of the pillow, extends the legs straight out in front of them, and then slowly rotates the head to each side—stopping when dizziness occurs. Next, the individual lies down on top of the pillow so that the top edge of the pillow is located just behind the nape of the neck, causing the head to be tilted slightly back and the chin protruding forward. This position is maintained for a few minutes; usually until the entire body fully relaxes.
While in this reclined position, the individual then rotates the head to either side, holding the non-affected side for perhaps 20 seconds, the affected side at least three minutes.
The general goal of this position is to allow gravity to draw the otoconial structure (organs in the ear sensitive to changes in horizontal movement and particularly active in situations such as riding in an elevator) out of the inner ear. The individual then rolls their entire body onto the non-affected side (while keeping the head as stationary as possible) with the arms folded at the sides, holding this position for three minutes. Then turning their face so that the nose touches the mattress, this position is held for three minutes more.
Returning to a supine position (on the back, face up), the individual then brings the chin to the chest and slowly sits up (with assistance, if necessary). Swinging the legs over the side of the bed, the individual then sits up with the chin still touching the chest, and remains in this position for a few minutes (while the inner ear adjusts).
If the procedure has been successful, vertigo will be gone upon standing.
Check out an in-depth look on Epley Maneuver including printable brochure and step-by-step infographic here.
Food and Supplementation
- Increase the dietary intake of fish and essential fatty acids to help reduce inflammation and increase circulation to the micro-capillaries of the ears. Foods which are high in essential fatty acids include fish, flaxseeds, nuts, seeds and avocados* Increase antioxidant intake in the diet such as berries, fish, turmeric, ginger, garlic, citrus, vegetables, onions and grapes
- Drink ginger/ turmeric tea or take a ginger/ turmeric capsule as the warming effects of these help to promote circulation, reduce congestion and address inflammation* Consider a Vitamin B supplement to encourage better circulation
- Use coconut oil in cooking to increase healthy fats in your diet
- Ensure adequate dehydration, the ear canal is regulated by fluid and a decreased intake or fluid retention produce problems
- Reduce saturated fats from the diet as a diet high in these can promote circulatory congestion and cause blockage of the circulation. Foods such as rancid oils, deep fried and fatty foods, fried chips, bakery foods, cakes and slices have high amounts of cholesterol and detrimental fats
- Take a supplement which contains essential fatty acids such as fish oil or flaxseed oil
- Take a Magnesium supplement to address deficiency, 80% of people have a need for higher levels of Magnesium due to refined or poor diets, stress, smoking, nervous system disorders or nutritional deficiencies* Consider increasing your Vitamin.
- Migraine can be effectively treated with oral magnesium supplementation (Obermann 2014; Peikert 1996; Chiu 2016), and magnesium supplementation may be beneficial in migraine-associated vertigo. A thorough analysis of randomized clinical trials found that, in cardiac patients, magnesium orotate supplementation reduced the risk of dizziness by 78% (Torshin 2015). Magnesium modulates smooth muscle tone in blood vessels (Kolte 2014), suggesting it might favorably impact vertigo related to vestibular blood flow restriction.
- Magnesium deficiency is a common underlying cause of vertigo. Magnesium is an essential mineral to balance Calcium levels in the circulation. An influx of Calcium concentrations may cause hardening of the small capillaries which feed the circulation to the ears. Foods which are high in Magnesium are nuts and seeds, green leafy vegetables, soy beans, brewers yeast, cacao, molasses and wholegrain cereal
Lifestyle factors to (re)consider
- Address any of the above common causes
- Determine if occupation is a contributing factor
- Check blood pressure
- Address any present infections, virus’ and inflammatory conditions which may be a contributing factor
- Begin a detoxification program if there has been chemical exposure, heavy metals, mercury exposure from dental filings or petrochemicals
- Check for food (salicylates) and chemical sensitivities
- Check for hypoglycaemia
- Avoid alcohol, smoking and recreational drugs
- Address ongoing sinus congestion, immune weakness, coughs, congestion and colds
- Anxiety may be a contributing problem
- If you have recently suffered from congestion, sinus or an ear infection you may wish to help clear any residue lymphatic waste by doing an ear candling session
- Physical examination of the ear canal
- Assess cholesterol levels
Although a great many herbal concoctions have been tested through the centuries for their ability to relieve the symptoms of vertigo naturally, four herbs in particular have proven reliable above the others: turmeric, cayenne, ginkgo biloba, and ginger root.
While infusions of the fresh, dried herbs are relatively easy to prepare, dosage is difficult to accurately compute by this method. Dried prepared capsules are generally suggested in the following dosage:
- turmeric, 500 mg twice daily;
- cayenne, 300 mg twice daily;
- ginkgo biloba, 60 mg twice to thrice daily;
- and ginger root, 500 mg twice daily (with a strong cup of ginger root tea twice daily said to be quite effective as well).
Ginger has long been one of the most effective home remedies for vertigo. Chinese sailors many centuries ago used ginger to cure motion sickness. Furthermore, it is often recommended for nausea during pregnancy. Therefore, taking ginger can alleviate the two main symptoms of vertigo.
Ginger is a healing powerhouse for a human body. It's one of the most studied gifts of nature with a capacity to help you with your vertigo, nerve pain, headaches, and migraines.
Here's a short overview about Ginger:
- Traditionally used to treat inflammatory and infectious ailments
- Takes effect in 25 minutes and lasts for at least four hours
- Shows to be significantly more effective than placebo, link
- Improves migraine symptoms better, or on the same level, as precipitation drugs, link
- Lots of clinically proven other health benefits, link
- Studied in comparing ginger with prescription drugs - this, this, and this
- Better than Dramamine at suppressing motion-induced nausea
- Helps with Vertigo in controlled clinical study, link
- Better with BPPV (positional vertigo) than manual repositioning (Epley)
- Demonstrated to be effective anti-inflammatory agent as well as to help with nausea and vomiting
- Ginger may help to prevent some of the side effects associated with conventional painkillers as well.
- Ginger may help protect the lining of the stomach from damage due to these drugs, as well as alcohol and excess hydrochloric acid produced by the stomach in some conditions.
- May prevent side effects of conventional painkillers and alcohol - helps to protect the lining of the stomach
If supplement, typical dose is a 550mg capsule at the first sign of vertigo or headache or dizziness. Maybe be repeated.
You can also mix half a teaspoon of powdered ginger in tea, or another warm beverage. I simply drink it with warm water sometimes. But you need to double your ginger if using fresh grated ginger root (which can be steeped in boiling water for 5 minutes). Add honey to alleviate bitterness.
It will certainly help. Give it a try.
Turmeric is another root (part of a ginger family) that helps alleviate different types of pain and dizziness. It's been studied and used extensively in both traditional medicine and western medical practice.
- Active compound in Turmeric called Curcumin
- Curcumin is not completely absorbed by itself (better to use curcumin supplement, or add black pepper which helps with absorption)
- Plenty of evidence of its anti-inflammatory effects, nerve pain reduction, migraine pain reduction, and more
- Extensively studied with more than 37 different health benefits
- Even though the research is limited on Turmeric's direct effects on headaches, plethora of other positive effects may bring about relief by balancing and healing underlying imbalances in the body
*For vertigo or headache: 500mg every 3 hours as needed. Take 4 in a day at most and may be used with most other headache medicines. May be combined with ginger or triptans. Limit to 5 days a week at most.
Or, 1/4 ts turmeric powder with 2 tbs of lemon juice and dilute with 1/2-1 cup of warm water, sweeten with honey.
Caution: Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant/Antiplatelet drugs) may interact with turmeric.
See here how science confirms turmeric as effective as these 14 drugs
By National Institute of Health: "Research suggests that curcumin can help in the management of oxidative and inflammatory conditions, metabolic syndrome, arthritis, anxiety, and hyperlipidemia. It may also help in the management of exercise-induced inflammation and muscle soreness, thus enhancing recovery and subsequent performance in active people. In addition, a relatively low dose can provide health benefits for people that do not have diagnosed health conditions."
Together. Ginger and Turmeric. Golden Tea.
This is my go-to remedy for all iterations of my headaches, dizziness, and anxiety. It helps me to sleep better. It helps me to unwind after a long day. It helps me to relax into my chair and just smile.
I don't know more effective and delicious way to soothe the pain in the head as well as calm my mind.
Taking Ginger and Turmeric together is shown as the way to reduce pain even more effectively than taking those separately. And it may surprise you but the "mixture" made correctly is actually pretty comforting, warming, and calming.
Golden Tea (in its simplest form) is an easy-to-make paste of ground turmeric, ground ginger, cracked black pepper (increases absorption of turmeric), and raw honey. You can prepare a paste, put it into container, and have it ready with you in case you'll need a cup of pain-relieving warm brew.
To increase the level of absorption of turmeric (and with that - overall benefits) it's better to add healthy fats like coconut oil and drink using warm water, or milk.
Below you will find a general recipe as well as upgraded version which I personally prefer after several years of experimentation.
Original Golden Milk (experiment with ratios along the way):
- 1 Cup of milk (I recommend coconut, or almond)
- 2 tablespoons of turmeric powder or fresh turmeric root (or more to taste)
- 1 teaspoons of black pepper
- 1-2 cup of honey (adjust for your taste)
- Just mix a teaspoon of this paste in a warm cup of water and drink as a warm beverage
Upgraded Golden Milk - everything from above, plus:
- Add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, or MCT oil (to help with absorption)
- Add 2 tablespoons of ginger root or powder (reduce if it's too bitter)
- Add 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon (just to make it more comforting)
Upgrade Golden Milk for nerve pain:
- Add a squeeze of lemon and a dropper-full of feverfew extract
- NOTE about Feverfew extract: It's one of the most studied herbal supplements on the market. It's used to relieve pain and inflammation all over the world. Particularly, it's effective with chronic pain which results from hypersensitivity known as "skin sensitivity". It's worth to mention, migraine sufferers use feverfew extract as a treatment. Feverfew has been used for centuries to treat headaches, stomachaches, and toothaches. Nowadays it's also used for migraines and rheumatoid arthritis. More studies are required to confirm whether feverfew is actually effective, but the herb may be worth trying since it hasn't been associated with serious side effects. Mild side effects include canker sores and irritation of the tongue and lips. Pregnant women should avoid this remedy.
Upgrade Golden Milk to calm your mind:
- Add 1 teaspoon of ashwagandha powder
- NOTE about Ashwagandha: It is an adaptogen (class of herbs). Adaptogens are known for combating your body's stress response and calming your mind.
Gingko is used in many countries to treat everything from cognitive decline to vestibular disorders and altitude sickness. It's well known to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidative effects.
So, in case of vertigo or migraine - when stress is almost always a companion - gingko may be especially useful.
Also, it's been used in traditional medicine all over the world to improve reduced blood flow to the head which often contributes to a headache.
- One of the oldest living species of trees in the world and one of most widely researched herbs worldwide
- Well known for increasing blood flow to the head and brain
- At least as effective as the world's most popular agent (betahistine) for treating vestibular issues (think vertigo-like symptoms), link
- Improves neuronal plasticity (ability of the brain to change its structure), mitochondrial function and energy metabolism (levels of energy in your body and in your life), link
- Shown to improve equilibrium disorders, link
If taking supplements, there's no clearly defined dosage. Start slow. Take no more than 150-250 mg a day and see how you feel.
Cayenne contains capsaicin, which helps improve blood flow towards the inner ear and brain, thereby reducing the symptoms of dizziness and vertigo. In combination with apple cider vinegar (which is shown to reduce blood sugar levels), blood sugar spikes are greatly reduced - a factor that definitely contributes to headaches.
I drink this mix at least once a month for several days in order to balance things out. It feels so afterwards. And I'm not alone. There's a flood of people raving about it. Of course, as with everything, don't abuse it. Most importantly, pay attention to your body and how it responds.
Here's the way I prepare this mix (followed by the experience of thousands of people):
- Teaspoon of cayenne
- Half a teaspoon of black pepper
- Pinch of salt
- Tablespoon of unpasteurised ACV (apple cider vinegar), like Bragg ACV
- Raw honey to your taste (begin with 1.5 - 2 tablespoons)
For those unfamiliar with homeopathic methodology, this ancient science of like-cures-like connects naturally-occurring substances with specific symptoms, rather than general disease. For example, for individuals experiencing vertigo when tilting their head forward, prepared borax is prescribed.
To treat nausea and vomiting associated with vertigo, nux vomica (seeds of the strychnine tree) is recommended.
Similarly, for vertigo accompanied by nausea and a cold, clammy feeling, tabacum (from the tobacco plant) is proven effective.
Interestingly, while homeopathic remedies are seldom endorsed by the medical community at large, a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine presented evidence that when 105 patients were given the homeopathic remedy Cocculus indicus (fruit of the Anamirta cocculus plant) or the conventional vertigo drug betahistine in double-blind tests, both treatments proved equally effective. And when patients were given the option of using a synthetic or natural remedies for vertigo, nearly half chose the homeopathic natural remedy.
See another study about therapeutic value of homeopathic complex in vertigo treatment
(Note: Vertigo/dizziness can be a symptom of much more serious conditions such as anemia, epilepsy, heart trouble, and diseases of the inner ear, so individuals experiencing persistent or chronic bouts of vertigo should seek professional medical help for testing.)
It might be one of the simplest home cures for vertigo, but ensuring you sleep the right number of hours is imperative. Studies have shown that those suffering from vertigo that
If you are feeling dizzy or nauseous and you can lie down, try to have a nap. Every sufferer will tell you that it’s very hard to sleep with vertigo, especially during a bad patch.
However, if you can, having a nap will most likely remove the immediate issues.
According to many, alcohol pads when sniffed, can almost instantly remove the feeling of nausea. The pads, which are generally used to clean a potentially infected cut before it is covered, can be purchased from just about every pharmacy and even online.
A study conducted showed that 87 per cent of people that used this technique stopped feeling nauseas in less than five minutes. The scientific reason that sniffing these pads can help is because breathing works to reduce nausea as the vomiting centre of the brain is close to the respiratory centre.
Many vertigo sufferers swear by alcohol pads to remove or reduce feelings of nausea.
Hydrogen peroxide, which is used in the treatment of blocked ears, or to remove earwax can also help sudden onset vertigo attacks.
Simply saturate the cotton bud with the hydrogen peroxide solution, lie on your side and drip it into your ear until it is full. Lay on your side for about 5 – 10 minutes or until the popping noise stops, drain the peroxide into the tissue and you should find that the feelings of vertigo have subsided.
If you are suffering from extreme dizziness, nausea/vomiting, light-headedness and loss of balance make sure you seek out professional medical diagnosis as soon as you can.
While highly unlikely, the symptoms commonly associated with vertigo could be something much more serious.
Once diagnosed, steps can be taken to ensure your recovery is quick. Having this list of proven home cures for vertigo will help you to alleviate the symptoms thereby ensuring that the symptoms affect you as little as possible.
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