Ear infections are rather cantankerous buggers and can certainly cause a lot of pain. Something many people don’t realize is that up to 70% of all ear infections are actually viral. Antibiotics do nothing for a viral infection – they only benefit us when it is a bacterial infection.
In May of 2003, Pediatrics published an article entitled “Naturopathic Treatment for Ear Pain in Children” *. The short story: there was a double-blind trial in an outpatient community clinic to compare an herbal oil containing garlic, mullein, calendula, St. John’s wort and lavender with some Vitamin E Oil to the use of amoxicillin for ear infections. Amazingly, they found that the herbal oil showed an equal improvement rate after 3 days and better improvement overall than the amoxicillin! Not only do they work great, but they are very inexpensive and able to be made at home!
~ Garlic ~Mullein ~ Calendula ~ St. John’s Wort ~ Lavender ~ Vitamin E Oil
~ Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil
~ Oven proof jar (for extraction process)
~ Small silicone colander (not necessary, but helpful)
~ Jar with pour spout
~ Amber glass bottle with dropper top
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.
Get an oven proof jar (doesn’t have to be very big as you probably don’t need gallons of this stuff).
Put equal parts of garlic, mullein, calendula, St. John’s Wort, and lavender into the jar.
Pour enough cold pressed extra virgin olive oil into the jar to completely cover the herbs.
Place the jar into the preheated oven and turn the oven OFF.
Leave to sit in the oven for 3 to 4 hours.
Remove the jar (you may want a towel or something to grab it with just in case it is too warm for your hands).
Cover the jar and let it sit at room temperature for another 4 to 5 hours to finish extracting and cooling.
Get your jar (or small glass pan) with a pour spout.
Put enough cheesecloth into your silicone colander (if you are using one) to be able to grab it all up and twist and squeeze later.
Pour the extract from the oven proof jar into the cheesecloth lined silicone colander over the jar with a pour spout to strain the herbs back out of your oil.
Once you have poured all of the liquid into the cheesecloth, grab the ends of the cheesecloth and squeeze them together and then start spinning the bottom ball of herbs around to tighten everything up. Once it is tightened up and you have removed the silicone colander out of your way, you can then squeeze the bottom ball of herbs in your cheesecloth to get out every last bit of the oil. The oil that has soaked into these herbs is going to be the most potent, so we want to get as much as possible back out of the herbs.
Add some drops of Vitamin E Oil (how many drops kind of depends on how much you are making – but I would think 5 drops for a 1/2 ounce amber bottle should be great). This is optional, but beneficial if you have it.
Pour the herbal oil into your amber glass jar and put on the dropper top. That’s it!
When you go to use the oil you may find it much nicer warmed up. You can warm it by taken out the dropper top and placing the bottle into a pan of simmering water on the stove top (just like warming a baby bottle). Alternatively, if you have a small bottle (like 1/2 to 1 ounce size) you can also place the bottle (covered) under your armpit and hold it there for a few minutes until it has warmed up.
You can use 5 drops (more or less, depending on how much it takes to fill your ear canal without it overflowing) 3 – 4 times daily.
NOTE: You may want to label this with a water proof label in case some of the oil spills on it during use.
- Our pediatrician suggested a mix of half extra virgin olive oil and half hydrogen peroxide to help with buildup of earwax in our children. You do need to gently mix it each time you go to use it because the two liquids constantly separate, but you need to mix it gently enough that you don’t set off the bubbles in the hydrogen peroxide.
- Another option is extra virgin olive oil infused with garlic. You can simply cut up some garlic cloves and drop them into the oil and let them sit in a dark cupboard for a few weeks – then strain out the garlic chunks. Garlic is well known for its antibacterial properties, making this option beneficial for ear infections if you don’t have access to the other herbs to include in the oil.
CAUTION: NEVER put anything into your ear if you have a perforated ear drum unless it is something your licensed health care provider has instructed you to put there.
What are your favorite ear infection remedies? Share them here and try someone else’s favorite too!
* References: You can read the Abstract of the Pediatrics article here: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/111/5/e574.abstract.