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General characteristics

General characteristics

The word tinnitus comes form the Latin word for 'ringing'. It is described as the perception of sound/s without any external corresponding cause for the sound. It is not a disease in its own right but rather a symptom.

The sound seems to be generated within the ears or head and may take the form of ringing, whirring or whooshing and be high, low or mid pitched. Sometimes the tinnitus is heard in one ear only, it may also be pulsatile (in rhythm with the pulse or heart beat). Tinnitus may be continuous, sporadic or a one off event and it is very common to suffer from it at some point during ones life.


The actual mechanism by which tinnitus occurs is not fully understood but it is assumed that blood vessels and nerves in the ear and auditory system are implicated. Often there is no discernible cause. Occasionally the tinnitus may be a sign of a more serious condition and so should be investigated, especially if the onset is sudden or the noise is severe and interrupting normal life.


Many things can cause or worsen tinnitus such as loud music, loud noises, using headphones, getting older, stress and anxiety, a bang to the head, perforated ear drum, ear infections, catarrh, ear wax build up, sinus infection, long term aspirin use, other medications (e.g. antibiotics, antidepressants), anaemia and B12 deficiency, high or low blood pressure, thyroid disease, hardened or furred arteries in the head/ear region, impacted teeth or tooth decay, Menieres disease and tumours.

Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

Eat foods rich in co-enzyme Q10 (e.g. wheat germ and the germ of any grain), vitamin B12 (e.g. good quality red meat) and zinc (e.g. pumpkin seeds).


Take a tablespoon daily of organic blackstrap molasses for its rich nutrient content.


Eat at least one clove of raw garlic daily with meals.


Some people find that avoiding all salt for a while helps to reduce or eliminate their symptoms.

Useful herbs

Useful herbs

Ginkgo has proved useful for many people who have suffered from tinnitus. Ginkgo has a thinning effect on the blood and helps to improve blood flow to the entire head region. Take a couple of cups of tea daily or 2 teaspoons of tincture daily.

If anxiety and stress are the cause try equal parts of tinctures of skullcap, passionflower, vervain, st johns wort and hops. take a teaspoon of the mix 3 times daily in a little water.
When associated with blood vessel disorders try equal parts of tinctures or dried herbs of hawthorn berries, hawthorn blossoms, yarrow and limeflowers, with a pinch or dash of cayenne added to each dose.
Black cohosh tincture can be added to any of the above formulas for its beneficial effects on the blood vessels and nerves.
Mullein tincture or tea is also used to help tinnitus.
Ground ivy and horsetail tea is another old fashioned remedy for 'ringing in the ears'.

Natural healing

Natural healing

Many people have found that acupuncture sessions can help to reduce or eliminate their tinnitus.


An old gypsy remedy for tinnitus is to put a few drops of fresh onion juice in each ear.

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