Vertigo is a kind of dizziness in which the world seems to spin around you. These symptoms commonly occur when you whirl around rapidly and then stop. Often, vertigo is accompanied by nausea and a loss of balance. Vertigo may pass quickly, or it may last for hours or even days.
There are many possible causes of vertigo, including motion sickness, infection in the inner ear, vision problems, head injury, insufficient blood supply to the brain, and brain tumors. A condition called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo involves attacks of vertigo triggered by certain head positions; its cause is believed to be deposits of calcium in the inner ear. Another condition, Meniere's disease, is characterized by sudden, intense attacks of vertigo often accompanied by nausea and vomiting, along with ringing in the ears and progressive deafness. Its cause is unknown.
Note: Because of its wide variety of causes, persistent episodes of vertigo should always be investigated by a physician.
One double-blind study found that a particular combination homeopathic remedy sold as Vertigoheel was just as effective as standard treatment for vertigo.1 This study followed 105 people with acute or chronic vertigo of various causes, including Meniere’s disease and positional vertigo. The homeopathic treatment used contained Ambra grisea, Conium, Petroleumm, and Cocculus. The treatment was tested against betahistine hydrochloride, an antihistamine widely used in Europe for vertigo symptoms. To evaluate the success of the treatment, researchers recorded the frequency, duration, and self-reported intensity of participants’ vertigo attacks. The results showed that the homeopathic mixture was as effective as the antihistamine during the 6 weeks of the treatment period. Unfortunately, these results are not as meaningful as they sound; betahistine is at most modestly effective for vertigo, and since there was no placebo group in the study, it is quite possible that the benefits seen in both the vertigoheel group were no different than what would have been seen with placebo treatment.
Another study found this same remedy equally effective as the herb ginkgo for vertigo.2 However, since ginkgo itself has not been proven effective for for this purpose, these results mean little to nothing.
In classical homeopathy, there are many possible homeopathic treatments for vertigo, to be chosen based on various specific details of the person seeking treatment.
The homeopathic remedy Cocculus is often recommended for the treatment of vertigo, especially when it is a result of motion sickness. The symptom picture of this remedy includes a pattern of symptoms being made worse by eating or drinking, rising up from bed, or exposure to bright light, along with a sense of confusion, and possibly a sick headache. Lying down usually relieves the symptoms.
In contrast, the homeopathic remedy Conium is associated with a symptom picture in which vertigo is made worse by lying down, turning over, or moving the head.
For more information on herbs, supplements, and other alternative treatments that may be useful for this condition, see the vertigo article.
For a thorough explanation of homeopathy, including dilution of therapies, see the Homeopathy Overview.
1. Weiser M, Strosser W, Klein P. Homeopathic vs. conventional treatment of vertigo: a randomized double-blind controlled clinical study. Arch of Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1998;124:879–885.
2. Issing W, Klein P, Weiser M et al. The Homeopathic Preparation Vertigoheel((R)) Versus Ginkgo biloba in the Treatment of Vertigo in an Elderly Population: A Double-Blinded, Randomized, Controlled Clinical Trial. J Altern Complement Med. 2005;11:155-60.
Last reviewed September 2014 by EBSCO CAM Review Board Last Updated: 9/18/2014