Ear infections or otitis media refer to inflammations of the middle ear that are commonly caused by bacteria. Ear infections are caused by different factors including food/environmental allergies, genetics, upper respiratory infections, wax build-up just to name a few. Here are some of the common signs of ear infection: fluid draining from the ear, tugging at the ear, pain in the ear, and so on.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, most ear infections (whether truly an infection or not) clear up without any treatment. However, they can still be very uncomfortable. Here are some favorite home remedies for ear infection.
1. Garlic Oil
Garlic ear oil has been used for ages by our great-grandmothers and grandmothers to ease the pain of ear infection and expedite the healing process. This solution has powerful antibiotic and pain relieving properties, therefore, making it one of the most effective home remedies for ear infection.
Washington State University conducted a study that found garlic to be 100 times more effective than two common antibiotics at eliminating bacterial strains linked to food-borne diseases. Despite its potent properties, garlic can be harsh on a child’s skin when used alone.
• 2 garlic cloves
• 2 tablespoons of sesame oil or mustard oil
• A pinch of salt
Heat two tablespoons of mustard or sesame oil, and then mix in the two cloves of garlic and add some salt. Leave the mixture to cool to lukewarm. Apply the mixture inside and around the infected ear and leave it for some minutes. Alternatively, you can place two to three drops in the ear, letting it go all the way to the ear canal.
Salt is widely used as a home remedy for ear infection. It’s also readily available and can be found in most homes without any problems. Heated salt has the potential to relieve irritation and pain.
• I cup of salt
Take the salt and heat it up in a microwave for just a few minutes (3 – 5). You can also heat the salt in a double boiler or pan. Now, in a clean cloth or sock, empty the hot salt. Use a rubber band to secure the end of the sock or cloth.
When it is bearably hot, put the salt-filled cloth or sock on the affected ear for about eight minutes. The heat generated from the salt will help extract the fluid from the ear, reducing pain and swelling. Alternatively, you can carry out the same procedure using rice as a substitute for salt and get similar results. Repeat the process every day until you get better.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is toxic and acidic to microorganisms that cause ear infections. These properties prevent the reproduction and growth of microorganisms in the ear canal. This popular household product is also known to fight chronic yeast infections and eliminate fungus that may cause ear infections.
You can use white vinegar if apple cider vinegar is not available.
• Apple cider/white vinegar
In a bowl, mix equal quantities of the vinegar and water. Soak a cotton ball in the solution and place the cotton ball inside the ear and leave it for five minutes. Remove the ball and lie on your opposite side to drain the solution into the ear canal. Repeat the process thrice a day.
4. Olive Oil
As we all know, ear infections are caused by many reasons, but one of the main causes is when wax in the ear catches a fungal or bacterial growth. Subsequently, this leads to blockage in the Eustachian tubes. You can easily clear this obstruction at home with the help of olive oil.
• Olive oil
Warm up some olive oil on low heat. After warming, dribble the warm oil into the infected ear. The warm olive oil will help in softening the wax. Using cotton-tipped swabs, remove the softened wax. However, try not to put the bud too far in the ear or else it may damage the eardrum.
Alternatively, use mustard oil instead of olive oil.
Besides being a common ingredient in the kitchen, onions have medicinal uses such as the treatment of ear infection. They have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that heal ear infections.
• One yellow or brown onion
Chop the onion and microwave it for one to two minutes. Let it cool then strain out the onion juice in a bowl. Place two to three drops of the onion juice in the affected ear then let it stay there for a few minutes. Turn your head and let the juice drain out of the ear.
After microwaving the onion, you can as well cut it into two pieces and wrap one piece of the onion in a cotton or wool cloth and place it on the infected ear, leaving it for five minutes. Wait for 10 minutes and repeat the process.
Basil has many therapeutic properties. Indian herbalists swear by its healing properties so much that they even call it the ‘Saint-Joseph’s-wort.’ This herb contains potent antibacterial properties and is also very high in antioxidants – basic requirements for all home remedies for ear infection.
• 4 to 5 basil leaves (fresh)
Take four to five basil leaves and gently crush them to extract the juice. Apply the extracted basil juice on and around the affected ear. This juice should not be applied in the ear canal.
Alternatively, you can carry out the same procedure using basil and coconut oil (or any carrier oil).
• 4 to 5 basil leaves
• Coconut oil
Crush four to five basil leaves to extract the juice. In a bowl, mix a few drops of the extracted basil oil with an equal amount of coconut oil. Take a cotton ball and soak it in the mixture. Take it out and use it to wipe behind the ear, inside the ear, and around the outer edge. Repeat this process twice a day, daily.
Peppermint leaves and oil can be used to soothe earaches. They contain natural anesthetic, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that make it one of the best home remedies for ear infection.
• Fresh peppermint leaves
Extract the juice from peppermint leaves and use a clean dropper to put two to three drops inside the affected ear.
When using peppermint oil, use a cotton ball to apply the oil around the opening of the ear. You can also dilute the peppermint with an equal portion of olive oil and apply. Make sure the oil does not get into the ear canal.
8. Mullein Oil
Mullein is a wild plant whose flowers, leaves and roots contain several healing properties. Its flowers are normally used to make tea or infused in oil to treat respiratory problems and other illnesses.
The flower has analgesic properties that relieve pain as well as anti-inflammatory properties that assist in reducing inflammation, making it one of the most potent home remedies for ear infection.
• 1 tablespoon of mullein flowers
• a tablespoon of mullein tea
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1/2 cup boiling water
Place one tablespoon of mullein flowers in a small bowl and add half a cup of boiling water. Let it cool then mix in the olive oil and mullein tea. Let the mixture stand overnight. On the next day, put one drop of the juice inside the affected ear
If time is limited, just soak a cotton ball in the mixture. Stuff the cotton ball in the infected ear and leave it for three minutes. Repeat this process as many times as you can to relieve pain.
You can purchase already made mullein oil if you do not have fresh mullein flowers.
9. Tea Tree Oil
Tea oil has a plethora of therapeutic properties including antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiseptic, expectorant, antiviral, balsamic, fungicide, insecticide and stimulant. These healing properties make tea tree oil one of the most effective home remedies for ear infection.
• 3 drops tea tree oil
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 teaspoon colloidal silver
• 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
Mix three drops of tea tree oil, a teaspoon of colloidal silver, two tablespoons of olive oil and a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Warm up this combination slightly. Once the combination is warm, lay on your side and spread a towel under your head. Take a clean dropper and fill it with the mixture. Next, dribble the mixture in your ear and let it sit for five minutes. After five minutes, turn and lay on your other side and let the mixture drain out on the towel.
Stick with procedure thrice a day for two days until the pain subsides.
10. Mango Leaf Juice
Mango leaf juice is another speedy and effectual home remedy for ear infections.
• 2 to 3 soft mango leaves
First, crush two to three mango leaves to extract out the juice then place the extract in a small pan and warm for about two minutes. Using a clean dropper, pour a few drops (two to three) of the warm solution on the affected ear. Leave the oil in the ear for two to five minutes. After a while, you will feel relieved from the ear pain. Repeat this process two to three times a day to get the ear infection healed.
11. Elderberry syrup
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, elderberry may have antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties make elderberry one of the best home remedies for ear infection. Moreover, it is easy to get the kids to take it because it is delicious.
• 2 cups of water
• 1 cup fresh elderberries
• 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 1 cup of honey
In a pot, add the fresh elderberries, two cups of water, cinnamon stick and two tablespoons grated ginger. Bring the mixture to boil. Reduce the heat and continue boiling until the mixture reduces to half. Strain it and let it cool down. Add the honey to the liquid and mix it. Apply the syrup on the outer ear to cure the ear infection.
Radish is used on the dining table as a delicious addition to salads and also as a remedy for different conditions including high blood pressure, constipation, fever, and dehydration. They can also be used as a remedy for pain and inflammation of an ear infection.
• Two tablespoons mustard oil
Start by combining one teaspoon of grated radish with two tablespoons of mustard oil. Heat this mixture on low heat for about 10 minutes. Immediately, filter out the radish pieces and transfer the oil into a clean glass bottle. Using a clean dropper, place three drops of the radish oil inside the affected ear. Use until the pain subsides.
In summary, these home remedies for ear infection are natural, safe and can save you some bucks that would otherwise be used for treatment. Additionally, they will help your ear heal very quickly. However, these remedies can only treat minor infections. If you do not see any improvement in a couple of days after treating a minor infection, consult your doctor.
Have you tried any home remedies for ear infection? If yes, share your experience with us!