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Acupuncture and Herbs Eliminate Meniere’s Disease

Acupuncture has been proven clinically effective for the treatment of Meniere’s disease, a disorder characterized by vertigo, hearing loss, and tinnitus. Researchers determined that acupuncture produces a 100% total effective rate. The results indicate that acupuncture is safe and effective for the treatment of Meniere’s disease. [1]

The total effective rate was determined by combining ) three tiers of patient outcomes: cured, very effective, effective. All patients improved significantly and none were included in the not effective category. A total of 26 patients were completely cured (no symptoms whatsoever), 6 patients achieved the very effective tier (complete relief of vertigo), and 12 achieved the effective tier (significant relief of vertigo). [2] Perhaps the most important finding in the total effective rate is that the completely cured tier of effectiveness is dominant.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Meniere’s disease is categorized as part of the Xuan Yun (vertigo) designation. The researchers provided examples of TCM theory on the topic. Hyperactivity of liver yang, phlegm turbidity, qi and blood deficiency, and kidney deficiency are part of the diagnostic patterns. Liver, kidney, and spleen are usually involved along with fatigue. Emotional stresses and overeating may contribute to the pattern. In many cases, the pathogenesis is excess in the upper burner and deficiency in the lower burner.

Hospital medicine produces inconsistent results for the the treatment of Meniere’s disease. [3] A review of acupuncture finds that it is highly effective with a low relapse rate. [4] The research by Liu et al. incorporated the use of the following acupuncture points: [5]

  • GB20 (Fengchi)
  • LI4 (Hegu)
  • LV3 (Taichong)
  • EX-HN22 (Anmian)
  • EX-HN3 (Yintang)
  • GV26 (Shuigou)
  • DU20 (Baihui)

The research team provided the TCM basis for the acupuncture point selection. Fengchi and Taichong belong to Gall Bladder Channel of Foot-Shaoyang and Liver Channel of Foot-Jueyin respectively, which are conducive to suppressing a hyperactive liver for calming endogenous wind and eliminating phlegm. Baihui and Fengchi acupoints are used to restore consciousness and relieve vertigo. For nausea and vomiting, the following acupoints were added:

  • PC6 (Neiguan)
  • ST36 (Zusanli)
  • HT7 (Shenmen)

The Zusanli acupoint is used to regulate the qi flowing in the channels. Neiguan, Shenmen, and Zusanli jointly play a role in regulating the spleen and stomach, dispelling dampness, harmonizing the stomach, and stopping vomiting. Neiguan has the function of relaxing chest and quieting the heart-spirit along with its powerful action to stop vomiting and nausea. For tinnitus, the following acupoints were added:

  • SJ17 (Yifeng)
  • SI19 (Tiangong)
  • GB8 (Shuaigu)
  • SJ3 (Zhongzhu)

Scalp acupuncture was added over the region of the superior temporal gyrus, an area of the brain containing the primary auditory cortex. Reducing needling methods were employed during acute stages and mild reinforcing-reducing methods were used for chronic stages. Needles were manually manipulated once every ten minutes. Needles were retained for thirty minutes per session and one session was administered daily for a total of ten days.

TCM Herbal Formulas

Chinese herbal medicine is effective for the treatment of Meniere’s disease. Researchers find a modified version of Ban Xia Bai Zhu Tian Ma Tang particularly effective. The modified herbal formula highlighted in the research contains the following herbs: [6]

  • Tian Ma 10 g
  • Jiang Ban Xia 10 g
  • Fu Ling 15 g
  • Ju Hong 10 g
  • Chao Bai Zhu 15 – 30 g
  • Ze Xie 30 – 60 g
  • Ge Gen 15 g
  • Shi Chang Pu 15 g
  • Yuan Zhi 10 g
  • Chuan Xiong 10 g
  • Ju Hua 12 g
  • Bai Shao 12 g
  • Chan Tui 15 g
  • Gan Cao 3 g

For hyperactivity of the liver and gallbladder, Zhen Zhu Mu was added. For patients with severe vomiting, Dai Zhe Shi was added. For patients with excess dampness, Yi Yi Ren was added. For chronic illness, Chuan Niu Xi, Ze Lan, and Dan Shen were added.

The prescribed dosage was one decoction daily. The above ingredients were brewed with water to obtain a 200 ml decoction, which was then split into two servings, taken separately in the morning and at night. It can also be split into 3 servings when a patient’s condition is serious. If patients have severe vomiting, the decoction is better taken in small doses at short intervals. Patients consumed the TCM herbal medicine at this rate for 1 – 2 consecutive weeks. Patients were advised to consume the TCM herbal medicine for 5 – 10 days after remission to consolidate the effect. Three tiers of effectiveness were rated:

  • Complete cure: All signs and symptoms disappear. There is no recurrence measured at the two year datapoint.
  • Effective: All signs and symptoms disappear. A recurrence occurs within two years, but symptoms are minor and are responsive to treatment.
  • Not effective: Symptoms have no improvement after one week’s treatment, or although the symptoms are alleviated, there is a recurrence during one year.

The total effective rate was 94.74%. The breakdown is as follows: 27 out of 38 (71.05%) were completely cured, 9 (23.68%) had excellent results in the effective tier, 2 (5.26%) were in the not effective category. A total of 23 patients experienced relief after 3 days of treatment, 9 had relief after 5 days, and 5 experienced relief after 7 days. The results of the investigation indicate that acupuncture and herbal medicine are effective for the treatment of Meniere’s disease.

Banking-up earth and quieting the wind is a five element term for the treatment of deficiency spleen earth insulting liver wood. Symptoms are due to spleen qi and yin deficiency causing internal liver wind. For this pattern, an herbal formula and associated modifications are presented for the treatment of Meniere’s disease, vertigo, and hypertension. Another section on the topic of Meniere’s disease covers the diagnostic pattern of liver qi stagnation transforming into wind. Visit HealthCMi.com and enjoy our online courses for acupuncture license renewal credit.


  1. Liu XL, Yue HX, Yu MK, Yang L. Acupuncture treatment of 44 cases of Meniere’s syndrome [J]. Journal of Emergency in Traditional Chinese Medicine, 2008, 17(8): 1144 – 1145.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Guan Y. The research progress of acupuncture and moxibustion in the treatment of Meniere’s syndrome [J]. Journal of Clinical Acupuncture and Moxibustion, 2012, 28(9): 66 – 68.
  4. Cao BY, Li R. Analysis of the acupoint selection and curative effect of acupuncture and moxibustion for Meniere’s disease in recent 10 years [C]. Annual Meeting of China Association of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, 2011: 652 – 659.
  5. Liu XL, Yue HX, Yu MK, Yang L. Acupuncture treatment of 44 cases of Meniere’s syndrome [J]. Journal of Emergency in Traditional Chinese Medicine, 2008, 17(8): 1144 – 1145.
  6. Ibid.

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