Meniere’s disease

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No-one knows for sure what causes the mysterious and debilitating Meniere’s disease and, especially because viable conventional treatment options are poorly supported by evidence for effectiveness, I wrote this article because, even though I have only worked with a handful of people with an official diagnosis of Meniere's disease, it seemed that the approaches we used were genuinely helpful, so I wanted to share the following general suggestions.

Much of what's written in this article is entirely suitable for a person to work through themselves but, especially if things are quite bad, or you just know that you need further help, then there may be a great deal of benefit to you to go to whatever lengths necessary to find a good herbalist to guide you on to a safe and strong treatment program. There's a short write-up to suggest how you might go about finding such a person here


Ginger drops

Anyone who suffers from Meniere's is highly likely to suffer from dizziness or nausea or both, and the best herb in all of Nature for these symptoms is Ginger.

It is not a cure, it will not treat the cause, but if taken in the right way it may greatly reduce the suffering that comes with this condition. The success or failure of all systems of medicines is often based around getting the dose right; not too little, not too much. In the case of Ginger, most people just don't take enough of it for it to activate the vagal nerve in the gut enough to rewire the misfiring signals in the brain.

The strongest way I have been able to devise to take this potentially important herb is in the form of Ginger drops whereby, as well as a mightily potent extract at the centre of it, there is a special technique of taking it that gets right to work when it is needed.

The key point is to take enough of it to actually feel it working right away, and to be ready to take a 2nd or 3rd dose in short order, and to use it frequently, especially at first, so you have a proper shot at rewiring the brain to get signal from the gut instead of an overwhelmingly confusing signal from an inner-ear that is misfiring from whatever has caused it to become swollen or inflamed. The more you get it to work, the better it will work.

The technique of taking the Ginger drops, and the recipe to get them made up, is described in detail in the article on Ginger found here


General Cleansing

An accumulation of toxicity in the body is a major contributor to many chronic illnesses and a consistent understanding throughout all the old systems of medicine is that, when needed, helping the body to cleanse can be the most important first step towards activating the healing process.

As mentioned, I have only worked with a small group of people with Meniere's over the 30 plus years I have been in practice, it is too small a number to draw any sure conclusions, however each time there has been clear indicators that an internal cleansing process has been required...

So, assuming you are reading this for yourself or for someone you care for, if you or they have a reason to believe that the system is likely to need cleansing, e.g. any kind of history of poor skin, bowel or kidney health, or if you or they feel that a build up a congestion in general may have been part of what has gone wrong, then taking cleansing herbs and eating a cleansing diet may help you to get free from the condition or at least to reduce its severity; more about the important process of detoxification here

common examples and a typical dose of cleansing herbs



General cleansing of the whole system has appeared to significantly help some people with Meniere's disease, at least in my experience. Likewise, helping the tissues around the ear to get cleaner with some 'steam-cleaning' may be of help and we have used this simple add-on approach in each case too.

The problem and the symptoms will surely be made worse by any kind of pressure coming from congestion in the middle-ear so, it can be generally recommended to start a daily regimen of a simple steam inhalation on a daily or twice-daily basis. You will need to obtain some Olbas oil (widely available) or some Eucalyptus oil as a plan B. These are the instructions.

Boil the kettle then pour about 50-60mls of freshly boiled water into any kind of cup, then sprinkle in around 5-6 drops of Olbas oil, or Eucalyptus oil if you cannot get Olbas. The oils will quickly evaporate in water this hot so you need to bring the cup up fairly close to your nose right away to inhale the steam, be careful to shut your eyes tight!

Inhale a deep full breath of the medicated steam into your nose as well as you can and then release the air back through your nose. If you can get at least four or five deep breaths, in and out, then you will have received a strong 'dose' of the cleansing steam. It may not be necessary, but you should know that it is ok to add a few more drops to re-charge the steam for another few breaths.

If your nose is very blocked, then you may have to use your mouth to breathe as well but try to get the steam through your nasal passageways as much as possible. This treatment can safely be repeated as often as required.

Olbas oil or Eucalyptus are widely available around the world


Sinus rinsing

I have not used this method with all of my own patients but I think that this treatment would be called for, at least to try once a day on a daily basis for a few weeks as a trial, if a person felt that they had a significant amount of blockage in their sinuses that was associated to an increased sense of fullness in their ear or ears, which as you will probably know is one of the primary symptoms of Meniere's along with dizziness, vertigo, hearing loss and ringing in the ear or ears.

No bacteria has been isolated that correlates to Meniere's but there are some who obviously think it is possible that some kind of viral or fungal infection is a trigger for this difficult condition and, if so, the addition of some drops of herbs (Echinacea, Golden Seal, Myrrh and Licorice root) in a sinus formula to add to the saline solution may be of much benefit

Rinsing the sinuses with nasal douching is not a nice idea to contemplate, but the actual doing of it is much easier than people think it will be. I think that, rather than try to describe it in writing, if you will pursue this further, look at an online video of it being done and be assured it is not supposed to hurt! There are more details about the process and a description of the herbs that I give to treat infection in the sinuses in the article on sinusitis found here

an example of one of the many 'neti-pots' readily available online


Immune health

Reading the literature on Meniere's disease, and thinking about my own experience in practice, there seem to be quite a few pointers to the immune system being involved at some level. People report being over-stressed and run-down before getting their first symptoms, or having more infections than they used to, before getting the Meniere's. Likewise, there is speculation that it may be caused by an auto-immune process, also something that strongly relates to people getting overly stressed or run-down.

Immune health is a big subject in itself, it relates to the whole of our health, how we eat, rest, exercise, and generally keep things in balance. Ideally, an experienced practitioner would be involved in having a close look at the broad picture of the health who could then make recommendations accordingly. So, find someone to help in person if you can but, if this is not practical or do-able, there are some general suggestions in the article on immune health that may be of help, found here

Two white blood cells amongst red cells under the microscope


Constitutional Health Note

Finally, you might benefit from learning about your constitution to know what kind of foods, herbs, exercises etc. will work especially well for your health in general.

Constitutional health is an old and fascinating way of understanding our differences. There's a brief introduction here and a more detailed section on working out which constitution you are here

Please understand that I cannot personally advise you without seeing you in my clinic.
This living 'book' is my labour of love so, wherever you are, I wish you peace & good health!



© 2011 R.J.Whelan Ltd