As a mother, I know that ear infections are something we all dread. Suddenly you have a very disturbed child with severe pain. The only thing you want to do is to relieve that pain and a drive to the chemist often doesn’t seem the best solution, considering the level of discomfort the child might be in.
It is possible to use natural remedies with anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. As a ‘medicine woman’, you will feel powerful having this kind of knowledge.
Let’s look at how you can treat an ear infection fast with what you already have at home.
Natural options for ear infection treatment
When you’re looking for home remedies for ear infections, make sure you’re not causing more harm than good. Bear in mind that you should never introduce anything into anyone’s ear if the eardrum is ruptured.
You might suspect the eardrum is perforated in these cases:
- Hearing loss. The number one symptom of a perforated eardrum is sudden hearing loss in the affected ear
- Buzzing sound in the ear. It can be a buzzing or a dull, ringing sound that is constantly present
- Itching of the affected ear
- Pain in the affected area
- High fever.
Seek medical help if you’re not sure about what you’re doing or if you suspect the infected ear might have a ruptured eardrum.
Although natural remedies are preferred by many families, there are many different causes of ear infections. Medical treatment is different, depending on whether there is a bacterial or viral ear infection.
Always contact your doctor if the symptoms remain after you have used any of the suggested home remedies.
The following natural options can reduce ear pain and work remarkably well in treating acute ear infections.
Herbal remedies for ear infections
Herbal ear drops work really well as a home remedy for treating ear infections. Use any of these ear infection remedies; they will help relieve ear pain and treat ear infection symptoms fast.
Remedy #1. Garlic ear drops
Ear drops that include garlic extracts might help reduce the pain of middle-ear infections (acute otitis media) in children. You can make your own garlic oil at home by crushing a clove of fresh raw garlic and dissolving it in warm olive oil. Put a few drops of oil in the ear canal of the infected ear.
Garlic has been found to be as effective in combatting inflammation as prescribed antibiotics and non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. That’s why it is our number one choice in home remedies for ear infections.
Garlic oil is good for any outer ear infection or middle ear infection. This means that the infection is in the ear canal, somewhere before the eardrum. Once the drops are placed in the outer ear canal they will reach the infection and trigger the immune system to fight the infection.
Remedy #2. Olive oil
Although garlic is the number one natural home remedy for its antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties, olive oil is also a natural remedy for middle ear infections. If you don’t have any garlic at hand just put a couple of drops of olive oil in the affected ear and you will find it acts almost straight away.
Olive oil has been used for medicinal and health purposes for a long time. Although used as a medium for other substances, olive oil has many health benefits on its own. In our family, ear infections and natural remedies go hand in hand as we live in the Caribbean and it’s easy to get water in our ears frequently.
Have you heard of swimmer’s ear? Swimmer’s ear is a condition where an ear infection develops due to excess moisture in the ear canal.
When there’s an earache, olive oil is our first go-to remedy.
Remedy #3. Coconut oil ear drops
Coconut oil has both antimicrobial and anti-viral properties. Place a couple of drops of coconut oil into each ear canal. If the coconut oil has solidified, you can easily liquefy it by placing a small amount in a shot glass or other small container and placing it into a cup of hot water. Wait until the coconut oil is liquid but be mindful of the temperature. Check the temperature on your inner arm before you put the oil into the child’s ear.
Remedy #4. Apple cider vinegar
Research has shown that apple cider vinegar has antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties.
Apple cider vinegar works really well for outer ear infections.
Mix equal parts of apple cider vinegar and warm water and introduce a few drops into the affected ear. You can cover it with a cloth or a small cotton ball while the ACV works its magic.
Remedy #5. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil has antifungal, antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. Never apply essential oils directly to the skin or mucosa. Tea tree oil should be diluted in a medium (neutral) oil. Research has shown that tea tree oil can be very efficient in treating and, even better, can prevent ear infections.
Remedy #6. Onion poultice.
The application of warm compresses behind the ear can be used to mobilise the post-auricular lymph chain, drain any fluid buildup and draw congestion away from the inflamed area of the middle ear. To do this, heat half of an onion in a toaster oven for a few minutes, until it is warm but not intolerably hot. You can test it by applying it to your own ear or inner forearm for several seconds. Next, wrap the onion in cheesecloth or thin dishcloth and apply the largest side of this warm compress (the cut side, for maximum surface area) to the area just behind the ear.
A warm compress works really well in all kinds of ear infections but it’s especially effective in relieving chronic ear infections.
Remedy #7. How to use turmeric for ear infection
Turmeric is a plant from the ginger family. It has been used for its healing properties for hundreds of years. In India, turmeric has been used in Ayurvedic medicine since ancient times.
To relieve ear infection, make some tea with half a teaspoon of turmeric, echinacea and goldenseal. Ingest it three times a day, after meals.
Unlike the previous herbal remedies for ear infections, which are used locally to relieve pain straight away, turmeric is ingested. It is used to treat the whole process of ear infection and bring the affected person back to health. Turmeric has anti-viral, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties, which makes it a great treatment not only for ear infections but for most common ear, nose and throat ailments.
Read more about the amazing properties of turmeric in Turmeric Tea | Is It Safe While Pregnant?
Remedy #8. Breast milk as ear drops
If you have access to breast milk, put a few drops into the affected ear canal every few hours. This usually works to clear up the infection within 24 to 48 hours. It is a far safer, less expensive and much better solution than having your child take antibiotics or over the counter (OTC) pain relievers.
Breast milk has many healing properties and has been used for a long time for treating ear infections.
You will be interested in reading BellyBelly’s article Not Breastfeeding And Ear Infections | Study Shows Risk.
Remedy #9. Chiropractic treatment
Sometimes you might treat ear infections mechanically. The cause of the great discomfort and pain of ear infection is the fluid buildup in Eustachian tubes. Many, but not all, chiropractors are trained in adjustments that can open up the Eustachian tubes and allow them to drain the fluid buildup properly. This relieves the pressure and the ear pain and allows the conditions that cause the common ear infection to dissipate. It is somewhat similar to draining a swamp and seeing the mosquito epidemic disappear.
Seeing a chiropractor will be the best idea for those who suffer from repeat infections, as ear infections clear more easily if the ear canal can be properly drained. If the Eustachian tubes are well aligned it might also help prevent future ear infections.
A chiropractor will teach you some neck exercises to relieve pressure and other symptoms of your ear infection.
Ask your healthcare provider to refer you to a chiropractor if you or anyone in your family suffers from repeat infections.
Remedy #10. Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been around for thousands of years and has proved very effective in treating various ailments, including acute otitis media and other ear infections.
Although TCM has wrongly been called an alternative medicine, I would much rather call TCM a native medicine, as it has been used for much longer than Western medicine.
Traditional Chinese Medicine includes acupuncture, acupressure and moxibustion amongst its most popular and best known techniques.
You might feel a bit hesitant about acupuncture and applying needles to your children’s bodies. If so, try acupressure, which works on a similar basis to acupuncture. It involves applying only pressure to the acupressure points, instead of inserting a needle.
Acupressure is a wonderful, pain-free technique that stimulates the acupressure points by applying pressure to specific points in the body.
When the right acupressure point is stimulated, the relief is immediate. You can use acupressure as much as necessary to reduce inflammation and discomfort until relief is achieved.
Acupressure has changed our lives. We’ve been using it since 2015, when my husband was certified in Traditional Chinese Medicine in Goa, India.
The course Acupressure To Relieve Children’s Ailments [insert Robert’s link] is a must-have for any family with young children. Treatments can help with many ailments, from ear infections to stomach aches or animal bites, or as pain relievers. Acupressure gives immediate relief and you can avoid unnecessary medical treatment and over-the-counter medications.