Tinnitus; Kidney Yang deficiency.


Date: Thu, 18 May 1995 18:00:03 PST
Sender: Medicinal and Aromatic Plants discussion list <HERB.TREARN.BITNET>
From: Paul Iannone <p_iannone.POP.COM>
Subject: Re: ringing in the ear

: Can someone suggest an approach for ear ringing? My daughter (26) has recently had this problem and I would like to see if there is a homeopathic remedy.

Since she is an adult, and presuming that she hasn't had this problem before, a more sensible approach is to ask 'Why?' Why does she have ear ringing? While a homeopathic remedy might remove this symptom, if she has ringing ears as a result of lifestyle error (probable in an adult), then that result should be addressed. The most common causes are lack of rest, drug use, stimulant use including coffee, loud music, over-exercise, dehydration, excessive sex, and high stress. If any of those causes exist, start there. Treatment must start with lifestyle appraisal and correction. Simply homeopathisizing such things is probably inappropriate.


>I remember hearing an association between tinnitus and sugar consumption but I don't remember the exact reference.

Possibly the connection is yeast. Many people with candida overgrowth experience ear noise, and of course the consumption of sugar incourages the growth of yeast.

From: Paul Iannone <p_iannone.POP.COM>

> I would like to offer this passage from Between Heaven and Earth: A Guide to Chinese Medicine by Beinfield and Korngold (pg. 125) "With a deficiency if Kidney Yang, the person feels cold and is cold to the touch, and symptoms manifest such as diarrhea, frequent or incontinent urine, infertility, impotence, premature ejaculation, loss of hearing, *ringing in the ears*, dizziness from fatigue, and weakness and pain in the knees, lower legs, and low back."

The word for tinnitis in Chinese is Er3 Ming3, or 'ear chirping.' Ming3 refers to bird or insect noise, so 'ear buzzing' is an alternative translation.

Kidney Yang deficiency was NOT indicated in this particular case as I recall. The 'ringing' present in a case of KY Deficiency (and Fallen Spleen Qi) will be a low-pitched (and booming if associated with Damp accumulation), with inability of the Clear Yang to reach the ear (which causes a general hearing loss). Qi Xu Er Ming, or Qi Deficient tinnitis will be low-pitched and continuous, like the chirping of a cricket. The patient will be exhausted, and depressed (not excitedly complaining about the noise).

High-pitched ringing relates to YIN or Essence Deficiency Heat, Phlegm Heat, or Liver Heat. It is a type of Internal Wind-Heat--like steam whistling from a teapot. It is for this reason that Gallbladder Channel points, with the GB's predilection to Heat, are very commonly indicated for tinnitis. This sort of tinnitis is often only associated with loss of the ability to hear voices clearly (there is Something in the way, namely Heat or Wind). This is sometimes called 'Qi Block.' I suspect some sort of Qi Block in this case, and don't particularly believe the hearing has been damaged just because that's what the doctors say.

The one additional type of ear ringing is the occasional ringing ear that all people get from time to time. This is always associated with inactivity, and is a form of mild Wind due to Qi Stagnation, and doesn't point to a Pathology. Remember that these are very small bones buzzing, so even tiny amounts of Wind will ring them like chimes.

From: Paul Iannone <p_iannone.POP.COM>

> How do you diagnose a Kidney Yang deficiency (as opposed to other problems causing similar symptoms), and what is the suggested cure/re-balancing?

Kidney Yang Deficiency is a complex term that should be understood essentially as a condition in which the Warming nature of the body has been harmed by Depletion. This Fire is Stored in the Kidney region, and is what keeps us alive. When Kidney Yang wanes entirely, death occurs. Disharmonies in the Kidneys CAN cause ear complaints, since the 'Kidneys come out at the ears.' Black ears, for example, signal pending death in terminal illnesses (Kidney Yang Collapse).

Even though this is so, it is not possible to simply gobble a bunch of Kidney Yang Replenishing herbals to extend life. To do so can Damage Yin, which is equally problematic for continued existence. In fact, most Americans are tending toward Depletion of Yin, NOT Yang, and certainly the incidence of Yang Deficiency in the young is uncommon (youth is usually the time of Yang).

In a healthy society, Depletion from daily living rarely taps the Kidneys at all. People living balanced lives Deplete their Qi and Blood through their activities, which are primarily replenished by rest and food (respectively). Chronic Depletion, however, forces the Reserve Energy System ('Kidneys') to produce Qi and Blood directly--which is very Draining to that Reserve.

While it is true that Depletion of Kidney Yang produces tinnitis, it is of quite different sort than that caused by Heat (such as an infection). To treat Hot-type tinnitis with Heating therapies or Kidney Yang Boosting herbals would cause FURTHER DAMAGE to both the ears and the Kidney Yin, which is often harmed in severe Heat Attacks.

The bottom line is that if you don't know if you are Kidney Yang Depleted (by diagnosis of a qualified party) DON'T take that category of herbals. You will just make your problems bigger. And if you don't know what characterizes an illness pattern don't just turn to a reference work from a tradition you haven't entirely internalized.