Natural medicine can successfully treat tinnitus aurium constant or intermittent ringing of the ears so long as you follow a step by step treatment procedure, each step of which has been scientifically proven to work.

The first port of call for most people with ringing in the ears is an osteopath or chiropractor, who attempts to manipulate the neck or jaw. Only very occasionally does this help tinnitus, while vertigo, which is related, often responds well (A Stoddard, Manual of Osteopathic Practice, Hutchinson and Co, 1974).

Make sure you are not hypersensitive to salicylates. A large number of common foods contain salicylates. By abstaining from them, those who are sensitive to them find improvement or relief. (Am J Otol, 1989; 10 (3): 256; AADA News, 1987; 5 (4): 10).

Reduce saturated fats in your diet. In patients with high cholesterol levels, ringing in the ears often lessens and sometimes disappears once they lower fat in their diet. ( South Med J, 1981; 74: 1194-7; and Acta Otorhinolaryngol (Stockh), 1970; 70 (4): 242-7).

Supplementing your diet with a combination of vitamins A and E can often improve or cure tinnitus (Acta Vitaminol Enzymol, 1985; 7 Suppl: 85-92; and Arch Otolaryngol, 1991; 5: 515-26).

Check your mineral status by means of a sweat test and an atomic emission and atomic absorption hair mineral analysis (To enquire about such tests, Biolab in the UK: 071 636 5959; Jonathan Wright in the US: 206-631-8920). When there are deficiencies, zinc, magnesium and potassium supplements have been shown to help (for zinc: Am J Otol, 1986; 7 (6): 476-77; for potassium iodide: Am J Otol, 1989; 10 (3): 256; for magnesium: Med Hypotheses, 1983; 10 (4): 353-58).

Have a qualified homeopath prescribe one of the following proven remedies in a lower potency: Abroma august,

Antipyrinum, Cannabis indica, Carboneum sulphuratum, Glycosmis pentaphylla, Melia azabirachta, Ocimum sanctum, Salicylicum acidum or Terminalia argjuna (W Boerick, Materia Medica with Indian Drugs, B Jain, New Delhi, 1990).

The most promising approach through medical herbalism is with Gingko biloba extract, according to two double blind clinical studies.

In the first, tinnitus improved no matter how dire the prognosis; in the other, of 33 patients, 12 were cured and five noted improvement of symptoms (J E Pizzorno Jr and M T Murray, Textbook of Natural Medicine, vol I section V, Gingko-6; Aerztliche Praxis, 1986; 12: 938-40.

For tinnitus that hasn’t responded to those natural remedies mentioned so far, reducing your daily intake of salt to 150-400 mg may help (J Appl Nutr, 1988; 40 (2): 750-84).

Reduce your toxic metal load, if your body carries high levels of aluminium and/or lead (as demonstrated in a hair mineral analysis) (Townsend Letter for Doctors, Feb/Mar 1985: 31; and P

Yannik and J G Clark, Tinnitus and its Management, Charles C Thomas, Springfield, Illinois, 1984).

Replace refined commercial sugar completely with complex carbohydrates and naturally occurring sugar. Some tinnitus sufferers show high insulin levels with a simultaneous abnormal glucose tolerance test. A low carbohydrate, high protein diet is likely to help (Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol, 1981; 90(6 part): 615-618).

If nothing else works, you may improve or completely resolve symptoms by taking supplements of O (beta-hydroxyethyl) rutoside, a bioflavonoid related to rutin (Otolaryngol Polon, 1989; 43 (3):

214-7). Like gingko biloba, this is a particularly good remedy when your tinnitus is caused by a circulatory problem.

!AHarald C Gaier

Harald Gaier is a registered naturopath, osteopath and homeopath.

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