If you’ve ever had an earache, you know that it can be incredibly painful. Earaches have several causes, but they are most often the result of an infection in the ear. While the common course of action is to seek medical attention, recent studies have suggested that the most common treatment method – prescribing a regimen of antibiotics – may not be the ideal solution. In fact, many home remedies for earache offer relief without the cost and hassle of a doctor’s visit. If you have an earache, consider trying one of the popular remedies below instead.
1. Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is among the most commonly recommended home remedies for earache, and for good reason. Peroxide has the ability to kill bacteria that may be causing infection in your ear, but its uses extend well beyond that. It also works to break up and dislodge built-up earwax, which is another potential cause of earaches and may trap water in your ear, causing further irritation.
- 1 teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide 3% solution
- 1 cotton ball
Soak a cotton ball with 3% hydrogen peroxide solution. Lay down with the affected ear facing upward and use the cotton ball to squeeze three or four drops into your ear. Allow it to settle for three minutes, gently massaging the underside of your ear, before draining.
Applying heat has long been recognized as an excellent way to relieve pain and increase blood flow to affected areas of the body, and your ear is no exception. In particular, many people find moist heat to be a safe and effective earache remedy. While hot water bottles and heating pads are common ways of providing heat, one of the simplest and most versatile methods is to make a homemade rice sock.
- 1 pair of cotton socks
- 1.5 cups of uncooked rice
Fill one sock with the uncooked rice and tie a tight knot in the top. Place the filled sock inside the second sock knot-side down and secure the top with another knot. When you need heat, simply place the sock in a microwave until it reaches the desired temperature, usually one to two minutes.
It may not smell particularly pleasant, but the humble onion boasts a range of health benefits. Among other things, this vegetable packs powerful antiseptic and antibacterial properties. Since many earaches are caused by bacterial infection, it should come as no surprise that onions are among the most effective home remedies for earache.
- 1 medium onion
Peel the onion and cut it in half. Microwave a half for 15 to 30 seconds or until warm and squeeze vigorously to extract as much juice as possible. Use an eye dropper to carefully place three to four drops in the affected ear, repeating two to three times per day as necessary. Alternatively, you can simply place half a warm onion over your ear and hold for 15 minutes or until the onion cools.
Like its close relative, the onion, garlic is also commonly used in home remedies for earache. It has long been recognized for its many health benefits, including effective antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and surprisingly powerful pain relief. It’s safe to use for both children and adults and it makes a quick and effective earache treatment.
- 1 teaspoon of crushed garlic
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
Simply combine the crushed garlic and olive oil and cook over medium heat for five minutes. Let the mixture stand for one hour to finish infusing the oil, then strain to remove remaining garlic pieces. Place two drops of the resulting oil in the affected ear two to three times per day using an eye dropper or cotton ball.
Many cultures have known of the useful benefits of ginger root for thousands of years. It’s a potent natural antibiotic, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory, and it also offers mild pain-relieving effects. It’s also commonly found in many homes, which is important for any home remedies for earache.
- 1-inch piece of ginger root
Carefully peel the ginger root and grate it. Place the ginger in a piece of cheesecloth and squeeze to extract as much juice as possible. Use two drops in the afflicted ear twice per day. For an added anti-inflammatory boost, you can also make a refreshing ginger tea and drink it whenever you’re thirsty.
It’s possible you may have this useful plant growing in your garden or yard without even knowing it. The marigold is a common, vibrant flower that is planted and grown throughout much of the world. Its leaves contain compounds that display antiseptic and antibacterial properties, which makes it a good choice as a natural alternative to traditional earache treatments.
- 8 marigold leaves
Rinse the marigold leaves to remove any dirt or contaminants and heat them for five to ten seconds in the microwave. Thoroughly crush the leaves and squeeze to extract the juice. Heat the juice until lukewarm and add two drops to your ear twice a day until your earache symptoms subside.
7. Rubbing Alcohol and Peroxide
As mentioned above, hydrogen peroxide is a powerful ally against earaches. For particularly severe earaches, however, you can supercharge its effect by mixing it with rubbing alcohol. Alcohol is excellent at killing the bacteria that often causes earaches, and it also helps to evaporate any water that may be trapped inside your ear.
- 1 teaspoon of rubbing alcohol
- 1 teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide
Mix one teaspoon each of rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide. Use a dropper or cotton ball to put three drops in your ear and allow it to sit for five minutes. Drain your ear fully and repeat the process as needed until symptoms abate.
8. Apple Cider Vinegar
Another versatile liquid you may have sitting in your kitchen, apple cider vinegar is one of the preferred home remedies for earache for many people. Apple cider vinegar contains malic acid, which is recognized for its ability to kill viruses, bacteria and fungi. It works quickly and can be used in a number of different ways to help you find relief.
- 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
The most direct way to treat an earache with apple cider vinegar is to place three drops in your ear and drain it out after five minutes. Repeat once more about 12 hours later to finish killing any infectious microbes that remain. It may also help to gargle with one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and one teaspoon of water mixed, but be sure to rinse with water afterward since the acid in vinegar can irritate the lining of your mouth.
9. Epsom Salt
Magnesium sulfate, more commonly known as Epsom salt, is a tremendously versatile natural remedy that is used for treating everything from aching muscles to swollen ankles to gout. It’s also the basis for one of the most clever home remedies for earache, providing heat and helping to draw out any trapped water inside your ear.
- 1.5 cups of coarse Epsom salt
- 1 cotton sock
As with the homemade rice sock above, the idea is to create a homemade heating pad. Carefully pour the Epsom salt into a cotton sock and tie the end tightly to prevent a spill. Heat the sock in a microwave until it becomes warm to the touch. Epsom salt burns easily, so be sure to use quick five- to ten-second bursts of heat. Place the warmed sock over your ear for 15 minutes or until it cools, repeating as necessary.
10. Tea Tree Oil
The oil of the tea tree, also known as melaleuca, is used to treat everything from acne to scabies to fungal foot infections. It’s a powerful natural antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory that works to treat ear infections and ease irritation. It also helps to loosen debris such as earwax and dirt.
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- 3 drops of tea tree oil
Tea tree oil must be diluted before use, and olive oil is an excellent choice. Simply warm the olive oil in a pan over low heat and stir in the drops of tea tree oil. While the solution is still warm, use two to three drops in your ear and allow to drain after three minutes.
11. Bishop’s Weed Oil
Bishop’s weed, also known as ajwain, is the bane of the gardener’s existence. It grows quickly and chokes out nearly any other plants in the area. It does, however, offer some positive uses. One of these uses is as a treatment for earaches and the ear infections that often cause them.
- 3 teaspoons of sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon of Bishop’s weed oil
Mix the oils in a shallow pan and heat gently over low heat. Once it warms, simply place three to four drops in your troublesome ear and allow the antimicrobial properties of the Bishop’s weed oil go to work. Drain well after three minutes.
Chamomile is probably most well-known for making a tasty, comforting tea. Less well-known is its ability to kill bacteria and reduce swelling and inflammation, which you can use to create a simple and effective warm compress. Be aware, however, that you should not use chamomile if you are allergic to ragweed or other pollens.
- 1 chamomile tea bag
Begin by preparing a chamomile tea bag according to the directions on the packaging. Remove the tea bag from the tea, squeeze to remove any excess water and allow it to cool slightly until it’s only warm to the touch. Place over your affected ear for ten minutes to provide moist, soothing heat and antibacterial action.
There are many natural home remedies for earache that relieve symptoms without requiring pharmaceutical drugs. However, if your earache persists for more than 24 hours or if you notice a discharge of pus or blood, please seek medical attention. Have you found relief with one of the above remedies? Do you have a home remedy of your own? Feel free to share your knowledge and experiences below!