Ménière’s Disease is the result of too much fluid in the labyrinth of the ear. It may cause dizziness, lack of balance, nausea and vomiting, and may affect the hearing.
Chinese Medicine attributes Ménière’s Disease to a Kidney weakness, as the Kidneys are paired with the ear. According to Chinese Medicine theory, one of the other functions of the Kidneys is to nourish the marrow which feeds the brain. In TCM, both the marrow and the brain are classified as extraordinary organs. If the Kidneys are weak, the brain is improperly nourished, and dizziness and loss of balance are the result.
For a patient with Ménière’s Disease another outcome of Kidney weakness is internal cold. Therefore the water which the Kidneys normally process becomes mucus, or in extreme cases, Phlegm and a deficiency of the Spleen can develop. This excess fluid goes into the ears, and treatment is needed to warm and tone the Kidneys and strengthen the Spleen to clear away the gunge.
Treating Meniere’s Disease with TCM
A Chinese Medicine practitioner will prescribe herbs including the well-known Gui Pi Tang (Restore the Spleen Decoction) or Buzhong Yiqi Wan (Central Qi Pills). Huang Qi (Radix Astragali), Ren Shen (Radix Ginseng), Chen Pi (Pericarpium Citri Reticulatae), Sheng Jiang (Rhizoma Zingiberis Recens) or Rou Gui (Cortex Cinnamomi) are also used for Meniere’s Disease.
People with Ménière’s Disease should avoid “cold” and raw food such as salads, cold drinks or ice cream and also sugar and dairy products. These can increase the dampness in the body and create more fluid, which will lead to further attacks. Tian Ma (Rhizoma Gastrodiae) is a very effective herb to treat dizziness. A ‘tang’, a herbal soup made with these ingredients and drunk from time to time, can help to prevent future attacks.
Clinical research also indicates that acupuncture is a highly effective treatment for Ménière’s Disease, particularly when combined with Chinese herbal medicine.
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