Loss of equilibrium, with light-headedness, a sensation of spinning, often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, sweating, or fainting.
What is Dizziness?
From Modern Western Medicine
Harmless in most cases, dizziness usually is caused by a momentary decline in the blood pressure of the brain brought on when one gets up quickly from a sitting or lying position. Such sudden drops in brain blood pressure (called postural hypotension) are most common in the elderly and in people taking medication for high blood pressure. Similar symptoms may come from temporary or partial blockages in the blood supply to the brain, known as TIA (transient ischemic attack).
Other causes include fatigue, fever, stress, anemia, disorders of the heart, and hypoglycemia. Chronic loss of equilibrium is usually due to a disorder of the inner ear, acoustic nerve, or brain stem.
Brief episodes of mild dizziness usually clear up after taking a few deep breaths or resting for a short time. Severe, prolonged, or recurrent dizziness requires medical attention.
From Traditional Medicine
In Chinese medicine, dizziness is thought to be brought on by an imbalance in the liver meridian and the condition known as wind. Wind is described in Chinese classics as an environmental force that enters the body, often in combination with heat, cold, dampness, or dry conditions. The general signs of excess wind are instability or turbulence of one’s physical health or onsets of anger, for example. Fat- and cholesterol-rich foods raise blood pressure and heat within the body. As heat rises, a turbulent condition (wind) develops in the liver meridian, blood vessels, and brain, causing dizziness. The person with turbulent wind and dizziness needs yin fluids—fluids that create relaxation—to cool, calm, and nurture the liver, all of which will inhibit wind and heat. (See page ???)
- Rest and get plenty of sleep to calm the liver and liver meridian.
- Drink vegetable juice, especially celery and carrot juice.
- Avoid anger, stress, and emotional upset.
- Take warm baths for short periods (no more than 20 minutes).
- Spend time in relaxing environments, such as nature.
Foods to Eat
The following foods stimulate the liver out of stagnant condition and overcome dizziness:
- Sour and pungent foods
- Onion family
- Mustard greens
- Raw foods, herbs, and spices
- Honey mixed with lemon, lime, or grapefruit juice: 1 tsp. honey per cup of juice
- Black pepper
- Sauerkraut: 1 -2 tsp., three to four times per week
- Vegetable juices, especially carrot and celery
Foods for building liver yin and blood:
- Mung beans and sprouts
- Chlorophyll-rich foods
- Fresh, cold-pressed flaxseed oil
- Dark grapes
- Blackberries and raspberries
- Blackstrap molasses
The following specifically reduce liver wind:
- Black soybeans
- Black sesame seeds
Foods to Avoid
According to Chinese medicine, the following foods obstruct and damage the liver:
- Hydrogenated and poor-quality oils
- Nuts and seeds (in excess)
- Chemicals (as found in food and water)
- Processed and refined foods
Herbs to Treat Dizziness
- Catnip: infusion, steep 5 – 15 minutes, 1 oz. to 1 cup as needed. (Do not boil herb.)
- Chamomile: tincture, 30 – 60 drops, three times per day; infusion, steep 10 – 30 minutes (do not boil flowers), 6 oz., two to three times daily
- Peppermint: infusion, steep 5 – 15 minutes, 6 oz., three times daily; fluid extract: ½ – 2 tsp., three times daily
- Chinese herbs: Dong quai, rehmannia, and peony can be used singly, but are even more effective when taken together in equal part. Good when liver blood is excessive tight from stress, alcohol, high fat, and deficiency.
- Ginger compress on liver