horseradish root and grated

Q. I have tinnitus and once when having a meal containing horseradish, the ringing and hissing in my ears completely went away. I eat it periodically to see if it still works and it does. Just wanted to share my experience.

A. We are amazed by your report. As far as we can tell, there is nothing in the medical literature that would suggest horseradish could be helpful in dealing with the terrible manifestations of tinnitus (sounds that can seem like crickets chirping for some, hissing, ringing or a high-pitched whine for others).

We found one story on the web about grating horseradish root and combining it with sour cream. The recommendation was to eat a teaspoon of this glop with food. We could find no verification that this approach would work and we have no mechanism that might explain it should it be helpful.

To learn more about tinnitus and what causes it and some possible treatment, here is a link to a radio show we conducted on this topic:

We did hear from one person who got benefit with an antiseizure drug called Tegretol:

“I was experiencing a loud static type sound in my right ear that came on and off every 15 seconds. A doctor prescribed Tegretol for this problem. I took the drug for about a month, and the condition went away.

“The tinnitus came back years later, and again I used Tegretol to get rid of the annoying noise.”

Unfortunately, a review of the scientific literature did not find convincing support for the use of Tegretol (carbamazepine) or other such drugs (gabapentin, lamotrigine) against tinnitus.

If anyone has had success with a medication or a home remedy in the treatment of tinnitus we would love to hear about it. Share your story below.

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  1. Marjorie
    United States

    Just one more thing to get used to about aging. I have hearing loss in the upper ranges and that is the pitch of my tinnitus. I’ve gone without caffeine but it is still there, so I am adding it back and will see if enjoying tea again will make any difference.

  2. em

    Try the Epley maneuver used for dizziness/vertigo caused by shifting of crystals in the ear canal. There are videos online that describes it and Drs who perform it. It is a specific movement of the head at 45 degree angles.
    Also, acupuncture and B12 LOZENGES dissolved under tongue give some people relief.

  3. cm

    I’ve been eating horseradish everyday since this discussion began and so far, it has not helped. Perhaps there is more than one reason for tinnitus and the horseradish helps tinnitus caused by some things but not others. I’m very much interested and would like to hear from others who have been helped by eating it.

  4. AG

    I had intermittent ringing in both ears and concluded it was due to something I was eating. After some internet research, I discovered that foods with salicylates can cause ringing in the ears. Foods high in salicylates are berries, dried fruit, and some nuts.
    I have sadly cut way back on those foods, but it has cured the ringing. I hope this helps someone else.

  5. Mary K.

    Ohle, where do you get that idea? That a remedy would only be useful if 100 people benefited from it? Not 99, or 101? Precisely 100. ” And THEN tests of thousands substantiated those findings.”
    I believe you are misinformed as to how things work. I suggest you go back to whatever the source of your information and reread it; for example, you may be assuming that in scientific studies, 1000s of people are tested; this, however, is not generally true. Check your facts.
    If my son the veteran who suffers from tinnitus from guns used during service experiences any relief from that as a result of horseradish or any remedy, then it was a benefit. A very large benefit, I’d say.
    And that is one of the reasons for the Graedon’s awesome website.

  6. paul43

    I would like to keep up to date about this also.

  7. EMV

    Recently I developed tinnitus where it sounds like thousands of crickets are in chorus between my ears. Last week, while visiting friends, I used their horseradish mustard for three days. It didn’t occur to me until I returned home [and the crickets started their song again] that I had been “chirp free” while away and eating the horseradish mustard.

  8. SMW

    I have the static in my right ear and also am told there is a hole in that ear drum. Some times it is worse than other times.

  9. CJ

    Ohle K., it may be relegated to folklore, but the purpose of this website is for folks to share what has worked for them, whether it’s accidental, incidental, sentimatal, or just plain, “…mental.” Attitude is everything here.

  10. Lou G

    Here we go again. In all the years I’ve subscribed to the online version of peoples pharmacy, ever since first reading an article years ago in the local newspaper, never have I read Joe and Terry Graedon categorically state that any remarks from readers are true and factual. What they have said, as they do above, that they have no knowledge of such a use is successful, however they suggest if other readers experience similar success, to report it also. What Ohle K is apparently suggesting is the Graedons not publish just one instance of a success for one person.
    I’ve written many replies in many columns attesting that a certain suggestion has and is working for me. Many others have written that they haven’t had success. Whether mind over matter is no concern to me, if I feel better, I will tell everyone in this forum about it. As Ohle K is one of the many, perhaps he needs not to waste his time on his perceived drivel of this website, on the one.

  11. Abigail

    Is this plain grated horseradish or a prepared horseradish with other ingredients in it that provided relief from tinnitus? thanks.

  12. Lou G

    As one that suffers from tinnitus but haven’t sought treatment for it, I’m amazed at all the ads touting “formulas” that will work or your money back. I take gabapentin for spine disc problems, and it works well, but certainly nothing for tinnitus. I also have a pharmacy mixed cream containing I can rub on back, and it helps, but it takes very long to be absorbed into the skin therefore I feel a stickiness when I put clothes on.
    I doubt it would help to rub a little in/on my ear though. I like small amounts of horseradish on certain foods, but never paid attention to see if it affected tinnitus. I will in the future.

  13. JDS

    I have been taking gabapentin (neurontin) for neuropathy in my legs since last november when I had Aortic bifemeral bypass (they must have clipped some nerves in the surgery). I haven’t really paid attention whether it helps my tinnitus or not but just a couple of days ago, while listening to your program about tinnitus, I realized I don’t have it anywhere near like I used to. Perhaps the gabapentin is helping.

  14. Donnie

    I have tinnitus that comes and goes. It can be affected by my allergies, as well as weather conditions. Especially changes in barometric pressure.

    • Kevin
      Portland, OR

      My doctor also concluded that the hissing in my ears was the cause of allergies and sinus blockage. He prescribed Loratadine, an antihistamine to help clear the blockage. I’m not big on taking drugs, so in looking for alternatives, I discovered the joys of the Nettie Pot to help clear pollens etc. from the nasal passages and stinging nettles and quercitin, which works as an antihistamine.

      I can’t say that the hissing is completely gone, but it has been reduced tremendously.
      I also notice that the hissing is more active when there is silence, so by playing soft classical music in the background, my hearing focuses on that verses the hissing. Also recommended by my doctor.

  15. Beach Boui

    I recently experienced a bad case of sudden hearing loss in my right ear. After a couple weeks, it finally subsided. Probably had to do with seasonal allergies… I dunno. But, during that two week period, my tinnitus became considerably more noticeable. I would be very interested in hearing of anyone else’s experience with horseradish and tinnitus.

  16. GaryB

    Very interested, I will give it a try and send a followup.

  17. DS

    Keep me posted on this.

  18. Ohle K.

    Tinnitus is a nuisance and as explained to me by my ENT it’s the result of nerve endings that don’t connect as they should.
    Anecdotal mentions of “cures” would only be helpful if 100 persons noted improvement and then tests of 1,000’s substantiated those findings.
    In the meantime, horseradish should be relegated to more folklore. Perhaps appearing to be helpful to one, but not the many. But, please let me know if a true solution if found.

  19. L.A.

    Could the writer’s ringing be caused by a sinus issue, since frequently the “heat” of the horseradish can open mine and relieve pressure or congestion?

  20. Ruth

    I started using a product I saw,I do not know if this is the same product, but I did see ii In the newspaper possibly in an article by you. After taking two pills I developed symptoms like Parkinson Disease.. I was hoping it would work. My ringing has a schedule and come and goes by it. on an off.

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