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Over-the-Counter Dizziness Herbal Cures – Hype or Help?

Dizziness Herbal Cures and Remedies: is it safe to try one?

Dizziness herbal cures are all over the Internet, TV, magazines and your local pharmacy.  You have been suffering from dizziness and want it to go away now. The labels sound wonderful.  The dizziness herbal cures promise relief from dizziness, nausea, vertigo if you buy them.  You think, “it couldn’t hurt to try it, after all it is “all natural”, “safe”, “FDA Registered” and has a “money back guarantee”….so why not?”  Let me give you food for thought.

That innocent looking bottle of hope could countain ingredients that are actually poison.  Yes, your local innocent drugstore may be selling dizziness herbal cures you should think twice (or more) about before buying.  I am not anti-homeopathic medicine or trying to scare you. I just believe in informed decisions. You need to consider the side-effects of anything you put into your body. How does this drug (it is a drug too) interacts with the medications or herbals you already take?  Just because it is natural may not mean it is safe.

Examples of some dizziness herbal cures on the market:

Here is an example of two dizziness herbal cures  which contain ingredients known to be toxic/poisonous: VertiFree and ZyVestra. Both of these over-the-counter dizziness herbal cures claim they are safe and at therapeutic dosage, but as I point out below, this is not regulated.  Even though the ingredients may be listed in the “Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States” you must trust the company to verify and assure they are at safe levels.
Ingredient number one contained in these is Levant Berry (cocculus indicus). This herb has been been largely abandoned for use in the USA and Europe due to safety concerns. Whole fruit berries are even used in some countries to kill birds or dogs. It is considered unsafe to take by mouth and the chemical in it, picrotoxin, can cause DEATH even in small amounts.  Cocculus Indicus is also considered to be unsafe when put on the skin. It may cause side effects such as: headache, dizziness (hmmmm- wasn’t that supposed to be what it was curing?), nausea, diarrhea, rapid breathing, sleepiness, irregular heartbeat, decreased heart rate, unconsciousness and death.
So let’s assume the selling companies have reputable hemopathic herbalists and have the therapeutic level correct in the medications. A peer reviewed research study published in a REAL scientific journal , Psychology and Behavior in 2007 did a comparison of cocculus indicus vs. placebo (sugar pill) in controlling nausea and vertigo after the research subject were in a flight simulator which induced spatial disorientation (motion sickness). The testing was repeated  3 days separated by at least 2 weeks with the subjects and testers not knowing which medication they received. There was no improvement in sickness or vertigo and in fact postural instability (poor balance) increased in the group taking the cocculus indicus!

Ingredient number 2, Gelsemium sumpervirens: All parts of this plant are very poisonous. Even small amounts can cause serious toxicity, including DEATH. Symptoms of poisoning include headache, vision problems, difficulty swallowing, dizziness (hmmmm there we are again with what it was supposed to cure) muscle problems, seizures, breathing problems, slowing of the heart and is very dangerous to use if you have a heart problem. It can poison children very easily. It is currently being tested in mice for regulating anxiety behavior. A research study published last year on heart rate variability in humans showed significant heart rate disruption with this plant.

I don’t have the space to go into the many other ingredients and dizziness herbal cures I have seen on the shelves and in my practice that patients have tried in hope of relief from their dizziness.

Before you believe the claims a marketing company put on the lable of one of these dizziness herbal cures, look up the ingredients on WebMD or the National Institutes of Health website http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/list-all/.  Look for peer reviewed scientific journal research on PubMed before you believe claims. Be an informed consumer.  Like a favorite show of mine used to say… The truth is out there.

Additional Info:  The “FDA Registration” does not mean it is tested or safe.   Section 211.137 specifically exempts homeopathic drug products from expiration dating requirements.  So what you have purchased may be so old it doesn’t work anyhow!  Furthermore, homeopathic drug products are not required to give information on the strength of each active ingredient.   So you have no idea if the levels of the drugs in the over-the-counter ”cure” you just purchased are below therapeutic levels or could be unsafe.

If it seems to good to be true, it probably is.

Dr. Dizzy

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