Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD(Ay)
Dizziness is a term used to describe a range of sensations. They include ‘feeling faint’, ‘woozy’, ‘spinning’, ‘weak’ or ‘unsteady’. If the dizziness is giving you a sense that you or your surroundings are spinning or moving then you are suffering from Vertigo. Therefore dizziness is also a presentation of vertigo.
To put it in simple words:
Any condition in which you would feel as if you are fainting, spinning, weak or unsteady is called Dizziness. These are also the main symptoms of dizziness. It affects the sensory organs, specifically eyes and ears, so at time it can cause fainting.
Dizziness is not a disease, but rather a symptom of various disorders.
- Feeling faint
- Loss of balance
- Feeling of floating or swimming
Dizziness generally points towards Light headedness or Vertigo
When you are feeling dizzy, you need to figure out if you are having light-headedness or vertigo. This will help your doctor to make a correct diagnosis and take appropriate action.
In this –
You have a feel that you are about to faint or ‘pass out’
You feel dizzy
But you do not feel that you or your surroundings are moving or spinning
You find improvement or light-headedness often goes away when you lie down
You may have a feel to vomit (nausea) or actually vomit
If light-headedness gets worse, you may feel as if you are ‘almost fainting’ or experience a fainting spell (syncope)
Other features of Light-headedness –
It may be caused by a momentary drop in blood pressure and blood flow to your head that occurs when you get up too quickly from a seated position or lying position (orthostatic hypotension)
If the light-headedness continues for a longer time, it means that you might have a serious problem at the backdrop and it needs to be evaluated
General causes for light-headedness:
- Illnesses such as flu or colds (may be relieved by home treatments)
- Vomiting, diarrhoea, fevers and other illnesses that cause dehydration
- Hyperventilation (very rapid or deep breathing)
- Anxiety and stress
- Use of tobacco, alcohol or illegal drugs
- Bleeding (serious cause) including occult bleeding (small amounts of bleeding in your digestive tract for a longer time) and heavy menstrual bleeding
- Abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia)
- Many medicines
You suffer from vertigo when there is a conflict between the signals sent to the brain by various balance- and position-sensing systems of the body. Your brain uses input from 4 sensory systems to maintain your sense of balance and orientation to your surroundings.
In this –
You feel dizziness
Along with it you feel as if you and your surroundings are spinning or moving
This happens due to the loss or disturbance of balance and position maintaining mechanism which is usually governed by one or more of the below said –
Vision – often informs you about your position and motion
Sensory nerves in your joints allow your brain to keep a track of the position of your legs, arms and torso and make small changes in posture to maintain your balance (proprioception)
Skin pressure sensation
Labyrinth (part of inner ear) including semicircular canals, contains specialized cells that detect motion and changes in position. Injury to inner ear or diseases of inner ear can send false signals to the brain. This indicates that the balance mechanism of the inner ear detects motion.
Read related: Vertigo Causes, How To prevent, Ayurvedic Treatment
Causes of Dizziness (Differential diagnosis of Dizziness) –
- Migraine headache, Vestibular migraine
- Problem in the ear where the body balance is regulated
- Benign positional vertigo (BPV) or benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPVV)- Causes shot term dizziness when you change positions quickly, such as sitting up from a lying down position
- Meniere’s Disease – causes fluid to build up in the ear with fullness in ear, hearing loss and tinnitus
- Acoustic neuroma – a type of non-cancerous tumour that forms of the nerve that connects the inner ear and the brain (acoustic nerve)
- Labyrinthitis – inflammation of the labyrinth of the inner ear
- Vestibular neuritis with labyrinthitis – inner ear problem usually related to viral infection and inflammation of the inner ear around the nerves that help in body sense balance
- Decreased blood flow to the base of the brain
- Low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia)
- Bleeding (external or internal)
- Sudden drop in blood pressure
- Diseases of heart muscles, Abnormal heart rhythms, Heart attack, Ventricular tachycardia, Atrial flutter, Arteriosclerosis
- Decrease in blood volume
- Hypovolemic shock – (haemorrhagic shock) – life threatening condition that results when you lose more than 20% of your body’s blood or fluid supply
- Middle ear infections
- Hyperventilation (very rapid or deep breathing)
- Anxiety disorders
- Panic disorder – feeling of sudden overwhelming terror or fear with no obvious cause
- Anaemia (iron deficiency anaemia)
- Infections of the ear
- Heat stroke – due to excessive exposure to hot weather and Sun
- Excessive exercise
- Motion sickness – usually occurs when you are travelling in a car, bus, boat, plane or train
- Multiple sclerosis
- Stroke, TIA (transient ischemic attack)
- Malignancy (brain tumours)
- Brain injury, Epidural hematoma (filling of blood between the skull and the protective covering of the brain), Head and neck injury
- Complications of diabetes
- Certain medications which cause ear damage
Other rare causes –
- Peptic ulcers (sores in stomach and small intestine with internal bleeding)
- Hyperemesis Gravidarum – excessive nausea and vomiting during pregnancy
- Anorexia nervosa (eating disorder leading to severe weight loss)
- Acute mountain sickness – occurs when you can’t adjust to high level of altitude
- Post traumatic stress disorder
- Diabetic neuropathy
- Agoraphobia – anxiety disorder that makes people very fearful of certain places and situations
- Allergic asthma
- Exposure to carbon monoxide, alcohol, aspirin etc
- Caffeine overdose
- Cold and flu
- Beriberi – deficiency of Vitamin B1
- Whiplash – occurs when a person’s head moves backwards and then forward very suddenly with great force, commonly after a car collision
Call your doctor when you have –
- Continuous and repeated bouts of dizziness
- Dizziness associated with:
- Head injury
- Neck pain
- High fever
- Blurring of vision
- Hearing loss
- Difficulty to speak
- Numbness or tingling sensation
- Drooping of the eye or mouth
- Loss of consciousness
- Chest pain
- Constant vomiting
- Hypothermia – body temperature dropping below 95°C
Lifestyle and prevention tips
Lifestyle and preventive tips for frequent episodes of dizziness –
Sit or lie down – When you feel dizzy, sit or lie down immediately. Wait until the dizziness goes away. This helps in preventing the possibility of losing your balance, falling down, fainting and suffering from serious injury.
Use a cane or walker – when you are off-balance to maintain stability and posture
Handrails – Don’t forget to use handrails whenever you are going up or down stairs.
Avoid sudden movements – Be calm and do the activities and movements slow and steadily. Sudden movements might trigger episodes of dizziness or bring the symptoms of dizziness.
No driving – Avoid driving car when you feel dizzy, stop the car and rest till the episode of dizziness passes away
Don’t operate machinery – Avoid using machinery and heavy tools if you frequently experience dizziness
Avoid – caffeine, alcohol and tobacco, fast and junk foods
Healthy diet – Always consume healthy diet including lot of vegetables, fruits and lean proteins. These will prevent attacks of dizziness.
Have water – Drink at least 8 glasses of water in a day
Sleep good – Make sure you sleep for at least 7 hours in a day
Avoid triggering medicines – If you suspect that your dizziness is being caused by a particular medication, talk to your doctor about lowering the dose or switching to another medication
Over-the-counter medication – like meclizine or an antihistamine (nausea with dizziness), these may cause drowsiness, avoid them when you need to be active or productive
Rest – in a cool place and drink water if dizziness is due to overheating or dehydration
Doctors opinion – talk to your doctor if you are concerned about frequency or severity of your dizziness
Positioning – Don’t keep your head tilted back for a long time, don’t raise your arms over your head
Exercise – Exercise regularly to stay active and avoid stress
Caution at home – Make your home safe to prevent unnecessary falls (ensure that the home is free of clutter, well lit, install grab bars and use non-skid mats in the bathroom
Shoes – Wear shoes with low heels, non-slippery soles and always see that they are tied.
No pillow – Sleep without pillow for better blood circulation to the brain
Precaution at night time – If you get up at night, make sure that you are using good lighting
Have an eye on BP and body fats – Control high blood pressure (hypertension) and high cholesterol
Eye exercises – Practice eye exercises by looking from near to far, up and down or side to side
Supplements – Vitamin D supplementation (BPPV), Eat more iron supplements
Take breaks – Take breaks from computers, TV and gadgets
Avoid pushing – Avoid pushing shopping cart filled with groceries
Cigar in the ear – Putting the butt end of lighted cigarette in your ear will draw out the air from your ears
Focus – Focus your vision on any place or building when you feel the onset of an attack of vertigo
Breathe ease – Take slow and long breathing when you feel dizziness or vertigo
Stress control – Manage and control stress and anxiety by practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, Yoga or meditation, Live happy and cool. Avoid all sorts of stress or situations that initiate or trigger stress
Dizziness Tips related to Restrictions:
- Limit salt as this may help to minimize the amount of build up in the ear
- Avoid caffeinated drinks (coffee, tea), chocolates, foods high in sodium and fried foods
- Limit foods with high cholesterol like fried foods, whole dairy products and red meat
- Less oily foods
- Take less salt and sugar
- Reduce sweets and foods with high sugar
- Avoid refrigerated items and junks
- Quit smoking and tobacco (smoking constricts blood flow to the inner ear)
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, fast and junk foods
Food related tips for dizziness:
- Eat something – Dizziness can be caused due to a low blood sugar level, especially for diabetics. Hunger can make you more prone to dizziness. So when you get dizzy, try eating something. Eat a snack that is high in carbohydrates or sugar like a chocolate bar or a banana. Eat any fruit which has high water content. A bowl of yoghurt with fruit is also a good option when you feel dizzy. A handful of roasted nuts like cashews, almonds or walnuts may also work.
- Eat healthy food and Drink lots of water
- Drink 2-3 glasses of cold ice water whenever you get dizzy due to vertigo
- Take fresh and organic, seasonal fruits and vegetable juices
- Develop a habit of eating salads
- Take green herbal tea
- Poppy seeds, Raisins, Dates, Citrus fruits are good
- Eat vitamins and protein rich foods including green leafy vegetables, salad and fruits
- Drink celery juice everyday
- Consume brown rice, wholegrain bread, veggies, legumes etc
Exercises useful for vertigo, dizziness and light headedness:
Move your eyeballs in all directions. Rotate your neck in clockwise and anticlockwise directions to counts of five.
Do visual fixation exercises (focussing your eyes at a point for some time and then rapidly blinking them several times).
Walking exercises are also useful. Walk with your eyes closed and alternate with eyes open.
You can also walk on an inclined surface keeping your eyes focussed at a point.
Easy to do therapies
Manoeuvre’s and easy-to-do therapies –
Deep breathing – Sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Place your thumb on one nostril, close your mouth and inhale slowly through your open nostril. Hold the breath in, close both nostrils and purse your lips. Exhale slowly after 2-3 seconds. Repeat these steps for 10 times. Sit quietly for 5 minutes and breathe normally to avoid getting dizzy again.
Head massage with essential oils – like lavender oil
Water therapy – drink a glass of ice cold water whenever you are dizzy. Later pour cold water on your head and back of your neck.
Sterno-cleido-mastoid muscle massage – Sterno-cleido-mastoid is that diagonal muscle on the front of your neck which connects the sternum to your head. Gently massaging this muscle will help.
Some easy interesting manoeuvres
Epley manoeuvre – is a type of physical therapy which involves head and body movements done while sitting on a bed. Usually it is done in a clinic or under supervision of a physical therapist. It may also be done at home after having received proper guidance and instructions.
How to perform Epley manoeuvre? Watch videos:
Deep head hanging maneuver
Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qw1QciZWfP0
Lempert (BBQ) Maneuver to Treat BPPV Vertigo
Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwTmM6uF5yA
Brandt – Daroff Exercises for BPPV
Effective herbs for treating vertigo, dizziness and light headedness:
- Lemongrass – helps to treat nausea and dizziness. Herbal tea prepared with lemongrass is highly effective.
- Cayenne – contains a chemical called capsaicin which helps enhance blood flow in your brain. Boil a cup of water with some cayenne and take it whenever you are feeling lightheaded.
- Gingko biloba – its herbal tea is effective in vertigo if taken everyday
- Use mustard greens (Brassica juncea)
Home Remedies for dizziness and vertigo:
Take home remedies if you are diagnosed with vertigo. Try them with the consent of your doctor.
Amalaki (Emblica officinalis) powder – 1 spoon mixed with honey
Amrita churna (powder of Tinospora cordifolia) 1-2 grams or Giloy satwa ½ to 1 gram with 1 spoon honey or with ½ spoon honey and 1 spoon ghee
Powder of Shankapushpi 1-2 grams mixed in milk
Mix equal quantities of powders of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) and Vacha (Acorus calamus – sweet flag) and store it in an air tight container. Take 1 gram of this powder with ¼ litre of milk once or twice daily
Triphala Churna 1 tsp should be mixed with ¼ tsp Sarpagandha powder (Rauwolfia serpentine). Take this twice daily mixed with hot water or honey or ghee or sugar as recommended by your doctor. This will help when episodes of dizziness and vertigo are preceded by headache.
Ashwagandha powder (Withania somnifera) 1 spoon mixed in milk at bed time
Powder of Kapikacchu (Mucuna pruriens) or Vanari Kalpa 1 spoon dissolved in milk
Powder of Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) – 1 spoon mixed with milk
Take 1 tsp each of cumin powder and nutmeg powder, mix them well and take with honey
Mukta bhasma (calx or ash of pearl) 125 mg with 1 spoon honey or ghee
Sutashekara Ras – 1 tablet crushed and mixed with juice of Indian gooseberry and honey (1 spoon each)
Decoction of Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia) – 50 ml twice daily before food
Decoction of Aragwadha (Cassia fistula) or Haritaki (Terminalia chebula) 50 ml twice daily before food to ward off constipation
Small piece of smashed ginger and 3 pieces of smashed garlic slices should be boiled with water and taken warm, twice daily
Arjuna Ksheerapaka – Milk processed with powder Arjuna or Terminalia arjuna (1 spoon Arjuna powder + 50ml milk + 200ml water – boil and reduced to 50ml, filtered and taken warm, twice daily)
Ashwagandha Ksheerapaka – Milk processed with powder Ashwagandha or Withania somnifera (1 spoon Ashwagandha powder + 50ml milk + 200ml water – boil and reduced to 50ml, filtered and taken warm, twice daily)
Bala Ksheerapaka – Milk processed with powder roots of Bala or Sida cordifolia (1 spoon Bala powder + 50ml milk + 200ml water – boil and reduced to 50ml, filtered and taken warm, twice daily)
Almond milk – Soak some almonds in water overnight. Make a paste in the morning and mix well in a glass of milk and drink it.
Raisins – Dip 8-10 crushed raisins in water overnight. Crush them in the same water, the following morning and take it on empty stomach.
Amalaki (Emblica officinalis) juice – 1 spoon with equal quantity of honey
Lemon juice with sugar
Mix 1 spoon each of ginger juice and honey and have it. Chew small pieces of ginger.
Lemon – Squeeze ½ lemons in a glass full of lukewarm water, 2 pinches of pepper powder, 1 pinch of salt – mix well and drink. Sprinkle lemon peel in your salad. Use lemon as many as you can.
Coriander seeds – Soak 1 teaspoonful coriander seeds in water with 1 tsp gooseberry powder at night. Strain it in the morning, add ½ tsp sugar and drink it.
Almonds and watermelon seeds – Soak 8-10 almonds and watermelon seeds, 2 tsp wheat grains and 1 tsp poppy seeds in water overnight. Make a thick paste of them in the morning. Fry 2 cloves and the above said paste in 1 tsp ghee. Mix it in milk and drink (Boil the whole mixture in milk and mix some sugar or sugar candy powder if needed. Take it warm). Repeat this for a week. Take it for 7-10 days
Ginger – Drink ginger tea or eat a piece of raw ginger
Basil – Chew a few leaves or drink basil tea
Mix 2 tsp each of honey and raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar in a glass of cold or hot water. Drink it 2-3 times in a day. Honey can be taken with lemon juice mixed in water. 1 tsp each of honey and cinnamon powder should be taken once daily in the morning for several weeks.
Ripe strawberries mixed in yoghurt
Strawberry – Mash fresh and ripe strawberries in fresh yoghurt and have it
Take 1 teaspoon powder of Ginkgo Biloba with water or drink its juice
Vinegar – Mix 2 tsp of apple cider vinegar with 2 tsp of honey in a glass of water. Take it twice or thrice daily.
Feverfew – can cure headaches, nausea and vomiting associated with vertigo. It also improves blood circulation. Eat a few fresh feverfew leaves when you feel dizzy. Steep 1 tsp each of dried feverfew leaves and peppermint leaves in a cup of hot water for 15-20 minutes. Then strain it. Drink this tea a few times daily for a few weeks.
External measures –
Mix ½ tsp each of finely powdered cardamom and cinnamon in warm sesame oil (2 spoons) and apply on the crown of the head
Take 2 spoons sesame oil and heat it in a pan. Add 2 cloves of garlic to it and fry till they are brown. After the cloves get cooled, strain them through sterile cloth or a sieve. Make the extract lukewarm and fill the ear with it. Leave it for 5-6 minutes and drain it off. Repeat it with the other ear also.
Dip a sterile cotton piece in peroxide. Squeeze it into your ears until it fills up. Drain after 8-10 minutes.
Warm coconut oil drops into the ears
Get 2 big strong magnet blocks. Put them together to make 2’ by 2’ block, 1/4’ thick. Put them together and wrap in hand towel and place them under the bump on the back of your head. Tie the 2 ends together at your forehead. Do it for 15-30 minutes
Diagnosis is based chiefly on thorough history of illness and the complaints you narrate to your doctor. This will help the doctor to know the right cause of dizziness.
You need to narrate your dizziness in terms of:
When it occurs?
In which situations it occurs and how frequently
Severity of symptoms
Other associated symptoms
Other tests you may undergo:
- Eye examination
- Ear examination
- Neurological examination
- Thorough physical examination
- Postural tests to check your body balance
- CT scan
- MRI etc
Treatment for Dizziness, Modern perspective –
Treatment should focus on the underlying cause of dizziness. Any disease which causes dizziness should be effectively treated. The dizziness will go away along with the disease. Example: medications and at-home exercises to tackle inner ear diseases, maneuvers or surgery in BPV, healthy low-salt diet, occasional injections or ear surgery in Meniere’s disease, medications, lifestyle changes and learning to avoid migraine triggers in Migraine, medicines and anxiety reducing techniques to deal with anxiety disorders, drinking plenty of fluids in dizziness caused by excessive exercise, heat or dehydration etc.
Dizziness, vertigo and light headedness as per Ayurveda:
In Ayurvedic literature, Bhrama is a term given to a disease which resembles dizziness. It covers vertigo and heavy-headedness also.
Bhrama means ‘to move’ or ‘to rotate’ or ‘to spin’. We do not get an elaborate explanation of Bhrama in Ayurvedic texts.
What causes Bhrama?
..रजः पित्त अनिलात् भ्रमः। (यो.र.मूर्छा चिकित्सा.Verse18)
Rajaha Pitta Nilaat Bhramaha (Ref – Yoga Ratnakara Moorcha Chikitsa, 18)
Bhrama is a condition which is caused due to the vitiation of Vata and Pitta and involvement of Rajo guna. The morbid Vata, Pitta and Rajo guna afflict the brain and cause Bhrama.
Bhrama is a condition explained in the context of a disease called ‘Murcha’ i.e. loss of consciousness or fainting. This
gives us an idea that Bhrama is a type of Murcha, may be a premonitory condition of Murcha.
Panchakarma options and preferable treatments for Bhrama (Dizziness) –
Nitya snehapana – Daily consumption of small metered doses of medicated ghee or oils or both will help in getting relieved from vertigo and its symptoms. They will alleviate morbid Vata and Pitta and also pacify the predominance of Rajo guna.
Ghritam / Tailam (medicated ghee and oils) used for Nitya snehana–
- Kalyanaka Ghritam
- Brahmi Ghritam
- Panchagavya Ghritam
- Shatavari ghritam
- Ashwagandha ghritam
- Ksheerabala tailam 101
- Dhanwantaram tailam 101
Nasya – Nasal instillation of medicated ghee or oil provides unparalleled relief in vertigo. Below said medicines are used –
- Ksheerabala tailam 101
- Dhanwantaram tailam 101
- Anu Tailam
- Shadbindu Tailam
- Mahamasha tailam
Virechana – Therapeutic purgation to alleviate morbid Vata and Pitta
Nitya Virechana – Daily consumption of small metered doses of purgation medications will detoxify the body, flush off the morbid Vata and Pitta, soothes the nerves and cures Vertigo.
The below mentioned medicines are preferred for Nitya Virechana –
- Gandharvahastadi Kashayam
- Sukumara Kashayam
- Sukumara Ghritam
- Kalyanaka Ghritam
- Gandharvahastadi Eranda tailam
- Nimbamritadi Eranda tailam
- Drakshadi leham
- Trivrit leham
- Naradiya Lakshmivilas Ras
- Madiphala Rasayana
- Abhyanga – Soothing herbal massages
- Shiro-Abhyanga – Head massage with herbal oils
- Taila-Shiro Dhara – Stream pouring of medicated oils over the head
- Ksheera-Shiro Dhara – Stream pouring of medicated milk over the head (pitta predominant vertigo)
- Taila-Sarvanga Dhara – Stream pouring of medicated oils all over the head
- Ksheera-Sarvanga Dhara – Stream pouring of medicated milk over the body (pitta predominant vertigo)
- Shiro-Vasti – Oil pooling over the head
- Shiro-Pichu – Keeping a sterile cotton pad dipped in medicated oil on the crown of the head
- Shiro-Lepa – Application of herbal pastes over the head
- Karna-Purana – Filling of the ear with medicated oil
- Anjana – Collyrium
- Dhumapana – medicated smoking
Medicines used for Abhyanga, Dhara etc measures mentioned above:
- Ksheerabala tailam
- Mahamasha tailam
- Dhanwantaram tailam
- Balashwagandhadi tailam
- Yashtimadhu tailam etc
Useful medications used in treatment of Bhrama (classical):
- Pippali churna (powder of Piper longum) with honey
- Paste of Kola majja (fleshy part of jujube fruit), Maricha (black pepper), Ushira (Vetiveria zizanioidis) and Kesara (Crocus sativus – saffron) mixed with honey
- Decoction of Shunti (ginger), Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Draksha (Vitis vinifera), Pushkaramula (Inula racemosa) and Chitraka (Plumbago zeylanica) mixed with powder of Pippali (Piper longum)
- Narikelambu (coconut water) mixed with Sattu (powder of parched barley / roasted gram flour) and sugar
- Shatavaryadi Ksheera – milk processed with SHatavari (Asparagus racemosus), Bala mula (roots of Sida cordifolia) and Draksha (Vitis vinifera) mixed with sugar
- Powder of seeds of Bala (Sida cordifolia) mixed with sugar
- Duralabha Kashaya – Decoction of Duralabha (Tragia involucrate) mixed with ghee
- Triphala churna (powder of Terminalia chebula, Terminalia bellirica and Emblica officinalis) mixed with honey in the night
- Gudardhraka – Equal parts of ginger paste and jaggery in the morning
- Amalaki kalka – Paste of boiled fruits of Indian gooseberry is mixed with paste of Draksha (raisins), added with Shunti (ginger) powder, mixed with honey and taken
- Kalyanaka ghrita is taken daily in small dosages
- Ghee processed with Haritaki (Terminalia chebula)
- Ghee processed with Amalaki (Emblica officinalis)
Yogas mentioned in Sahasra yoga text book
- Vatapittajvarahara kashayam
- Madatyayahara kashayam
- Tiktaka Ghritam
- Mahatiktaka Ghritam
- Vrisha Ghritam
- Sudarsana choornam
- Rasnadi choornam
- Kacchuradi choornam
- Rasnadi gutika
- Puvankuruntaladi eranda tailam
Vata prakopa treatment
Treating Dizziness on the lines of treating Vata Prakopa –
Aggravation of Vata can independently cause Bhrama. Bhrama is mentioned as one of the symptoms of Vata Prakopa Lakshanas (symptoms of aggravation of Vayu).
Treatment of such conditions includes balancing the morbid Vayu.
Treating Vayu: The morbid Vayu can be taken care of by intellectually combining the below said measures –
- Sneha – Administration of medicated oils / ghee, Massage, oil pouring etc
- Sweda – Steaming / sudation / sweating therapy
- Mridu shodanam – Evacuation treatment (mild cleansing treatments like Virechana etc)
- Svadu bhojana – Consuming sweet foods
- Amla bhojana – consuming sour foods
- Lavana bhojana – consuming salt foods
- Ushna bhojana – Hot and fresh foods
- Abhyangam – Massage with herbal oils
- Mardana – Tapping the body with closed fists after application of vata alleviating oils
- Seka – Pouring of medicated oils over the body in streams
- Paishtika Madhya – Alcohol or fermented products prepared with flours
- Goudika Madhya – Alcohol or fermented products prepared with jaggery
- Snigdhoshna Vasti – Medicated enemas with oils and ghee, given luke warm
- Deepana pachana sneha – Oils and ghee processed with deepana (appetizer) and pachana (digestant) drugs
Single herbs, formulations
Single herbs helpful in Bhrama (dizziness) –
- Guduchi – Tinospora cordifolia
- Amalaki (Emblica officinalis),
- Vacha – Acorus calamus
- Parpataka – Fumaria officinalis
- Yavasa – Alhagi pseudalbagi
- Sariva – Hemidesmus indicus
- Ashwagandha – Withania somnifera
- Shatavari – Asparagus racemosus
- Draksha – Vitis vinifera
- Lashuna – Allium sativum
- Bilwa – Aegle marmalos
- Apamarga – Achyranthus
- Brahmi – Bacopa monnieri
- Shankapushpi – Convolvulus pluricaulis
- Ushira – Vetiveria zizanioidis
- Kushmanda – Benincasa hispida
- Kapikachchu – Mucuna pruriens
Useful formulations for dizziness (traditional/classical):
Kashayas – Herbal Decoctions:
- Drakshadi Kashayam
- Duralabha Kashayam with ghee
- Kalyanaka Kashayam
- Pathyakshadhatryadi Kashayam
- Pathyashadangadi Kashayam
- Mustadi Marma Kashayam
- Maharasnadi Kashayam
- Dashamula Kashayam
- Punarnavadi Kashayam
Vati / Gulika (Tablets) –
- Sutashekara Ras
- Suvarna Sutashekara Rasa
- Sarivadi Vati
- Yogendra Ras
- Punarnava mandura
- Navayasa loha
- Shotari mandur
- Mandura vatakam
Rasayana / Leha (confections / herbal jam):
- Ashwagandha Rasayana
- Amalaki Rasayana
- Drakshadi Leham
- Vilwadi Leham
- Brahma Rasayanam
- Agastya Haritaki Rasayana
- Kushmanda Rasayana
Asava / Arishta:
- Arjunarishtam (Parthadyarishtam)
Ghrita and Taila (Medicated ghee and oil) –
- Brahmi Ghrita
- Kalyanaka Ghrita
- Panchagavya Ghrita
- Mahakalyanaka Ghrita
- Shatavari Ghritam
- Ashwagandhadi Ghritam
- Sukumara Ghritam
- Indukantam Ghritam
- Saraswatha Ghritam
- Mahamasha Tailam
- Ksheerabala Tailam 101 etc
My experience in treating dizziness –
I have got substantially good results adapting Pandu Roga Chikitsa in dizziness, vertigo and heavy headedness. (Some of the best medications used in Pandu Roga will be enlisted in the formulation list at the end of the discussion). A Hb count and thorough blood picture and if possible liver function tests will come in handy in prolonged dizziness and vertigo cases not responding to any other treatments. If no treatment is relieving dizziness, the medicines explained in Pandu chikitsa (treatment of anaemia) and rakta vaha sroto dushti janya vikara chikitsa (diseases caused due to dysfunctions of haemopoetic system including liver and pancreas) will be highly effective.
Similarly I have found that the medicines advised in the below said conditions also useful in dizziness –
Hridroga (heart diseases) like Arjunarishta, Prabhakara Vati, Drakshadi Kashayam etc
Brain tonics and anti-stress medicines like Saraswatharishta, Ashwagandharishta, Balarishta Kalyanaka Kashayam, Kalyanaka Ghrita, Brahmi Ghrita, Panchagavya Ghrita, Amalaki churna, Shatavari Churna etc
In acute conditions of dizziness not associated with any chronic disorders, I have found Nasya (nasal medication) and Shiro Abhyanga (head massage) are highly effective, so as Shiro dhara and Shiro Vasti treatments. Shiro dhara and Shiro Vasti are useful in chronic dizziness also.
In my clinical experience, in Bhrama or dizziness with pitta-vata vitiation or in Pitta and Vata constitution people I have successfully administered Virechana and Matra Vasti and got good results. This was followed by nasya and measures like dhara. This set of treatments, I have found to be highly effective in chronic dizziness associated with conditions like vertigo etc. Karna purana (ear filling with medicinal oils) done under aseptic conditions yield fruitful results in Bhrama vis-à-vis dizziness.
Limitations of Ayurveda in handling dizziness –
Ayurveda, to be frank has much promise to offer in effectively dealing dizziness or any condition presenting with dizziness. Since dizziness is a symptom of many diseases and not a disease by itself, the dizziness wanes off once the disease causing it gets rid off. Ayurveda is highly successful because it can provide a wide range of options to heal and cure dizziness.
Apart from effective medicines, Ayurveda provides beneficial treatments and therapies which help in tackling the issue from the root base. If the diseases are diagnosed even in modern way as a support to Ayurvedic diagnosis and if critical and complicated conditions like tumours and other structural deformities causing dizziness are ruled out, Ayurveda has a good chance of getting rid of the dizziness.
Anyhow it is difficult handling dizziness associated with serious and life threatening conditions including brain tumour, other type of benign tumours, severe haemorrhage or bleeding disorders where there is uncontrolled bleeding etc. Proper diagnosis of even such conditions in an Ayurvedic way can throw light on management but generally these conditions involving risk are referred to concerned specialties rather than following ‘trial and error method’.
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