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Natural Remedies For Ear Infections

Affiliate Disclosure | in Natural Remedies | by | with 167 Comments


Ear Infections That . . . Aren’t

So, this may be an odd way to start a post on ear infections, but before we get into the nitty gritty of comfort measures and natural remedies, I want to take a moment to discuss one of the most common misconceptions about ear infections.

And that would be . . . the infection part. According to Dr. Allan Lieberthal, pediatrician and lead author of the American Academy of Pediatrics new guidelines for diagnosing ear infections, the medical community has contributed to the “over-diagnosis of [ear] infection.” (source)

How does this happen? My good friend and former chiropractor, Dr. Haggerton, explains:

“For those of you who have . . . taken your child into the pediatrician because they are hurting, acting funny, and/or pulling at their ears and the doc looked in their ears with the otoscope and said ‘Yep, it’s red, little Johnny’s got an ear infection. I’ll write you a script for an antibiotic.’

Think about that for a minute, how did the doctor know just off of the color of the tympanic membrane that your child had an infection?!?

They didn’t.”

Lifetime Family Wellness Center: Pediatric Ear Infections

Doctor looking at little girl ear infection

The truth is, a red and slightly bulging tympanic membrane can be a sign that fluid is not draining well, but it’s not necessarily a sign of ear infection. And even if an infection is present, according to CBS News Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton most ear infections are viral in nature and won’t respond to antibiotics anyway. (source)

So what will that course of antibiotics really do to help your child? If the earache has been misdiagnosed – absolutely nothing. Or worse, according to Consumer Reports it may actually cause future ear infections! (source)

So if ear infections are over-diagnosed, what else causes earaches? According to Dr. Haggerton . . .

“with children, the eustachian tube (ear canal) is not slanted down like ours as adults.. Their canal is straight across or horizontal, [meaning] your baby doesn’t get much help from gravity to get the fluid to drain out of the lymph nodes and the ears into the throat and out of their body. The problem comes when fluid and congestion build up in the lymph nodes in the neck and throat and cannot be moved or flushed out of the child’s body. That fluid has to go somewhere so if the fluid can’t go back ‘down’, then it will frequently back up into the child’s eustachian tube and cause fluid pressure on the back of the ear drum.”

Lifetime Family Wellness Center: Pediatric Ear Infections


What Causes Fluid To Back Up?

Other than the natural shape of a child’s eustachian tube, misalignments in the head/neck area, teething and/or undiagnosed food sensitivities can cause swelling that prevents drainage. (source) In these cases, the irritation will often have the same symptoms as an infection. Left untreated, fluid buildup can eventually lead to a legitimate infection, but until that point antibiotics will do no good.

So What’s A Parent To Do?

Obviously, the decision making process will be different for every parent. The AAP Guidelines now state that antibiotics should not be prescribed unless there is an obvious ear infection – a very bulging tympanic membrane. If fluid is present some parents might insist on a swab culture to confirm it is bacterial rather than viral before considering antibiotics. If they do, chances are the earache will resolve on it’s own before the results come back. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, that may be for the best anyway. Most ear infections – whether truly an infection or not – clear up without any treatment, so they recommend the wait-and-see approach for:

  • Children 6 to 23 months with mild inner ear pain in one ear for less than 48 hours and a temperature less than 102.2 F (39 C)
  • Children 24 months and older with mild inner ear pain in one or both ears for less than 48 hours and a temperature less than102.2 F (39 C) (source)

Natural Remedies For Ear Infections - According to the lead author of the new AAP guidelines for diagnosing ear infections, doctors routinely  over-diagnose ear infections. Since even a legitimate ear infection is more likely to be viral in nature than bacteria, the common use of antibiotics to treat earaches may actually have the unintended effect of CAUSING future ear infections! Here are some natural remedies that may be beneficial while using the "wait and see" approach.

Natural Remedies For Ear Infections

Many who choose the “wait and see” approach recommended by the AAP opt to support the immune system naturally while focusing on comfort measures. For those that prefer to avoid Tylenol and other pain medications that may delay the healing process, here are ideas . . .

*Safety Tip* from Creative Christian Mama: “If there is any puss coming out of the ear, that means the ear drum is perforated (it tore, due to the pressure). It will heal, but DO NOT put anything at all inside an ear that is perforated.”


Garlic & Mullein Oil

According to a recent study conducted by Washington State University, garlic is 100 times more effective than two popular antibiotics at killing bacterial strains related to foodborne illness. They also found that it often worked in a fraction of the time.

So what does this mean for ear infections? Nothing directly, but it does make me wonder how effective it is for other strains. Garlic also has been shown to inhibit some viruses, which some feel makes it a better choice than antibiotics, which only cover bacterial infections. (source)

Bonus fact: Garlic contains alliin and allinase. When a whole clove is chopped or crushed these compounds combine to form allicin, a natural anesthetic that can provide a measure of relief while garlic does it’s other magic.

You can find garlic and mullein oil here or possibly at your local health food store. You can also make your own with this recipe. (Note: The article mentions the possibility of adding certain essential oils to the ear drops. I would not recommend that.)

Tip from Creative Christian Mama: Use a dropper to put 2 to 3 drops in the ear. (Sing a song to keep the child distracted, since they will need to lay there for 30 seconds to allow the oil to get all the way in the ear canal.) The warmth of the oil helps to reduce the pain (as does the lavender oil) and can be used once an hour. Use at least four times a day, but preferably six or more, until the child is well.

Essential Oils

Massaging the outside of the ear and face/jaw/neck area with diluted essential oils is thought to facilitate good circulation and drainage. “Massage in a downward direction behind the ear on the neck and apply gentle inward pressure in front of the ear toward the cheek (about where sideburns would be).” (source)

Oils often recommended for this purpose are eucalyptus, rosemary, lavender, oregano, chamomile, tea tree, and thyme. Here is a guide to diluting oils for massage purposes. Please keep in mind that some oils should not be introduced until child reaches a certain age. There’s a list of kid-friendly essential oils in this post.

natural-remedies-for-ear-infection-cod-liver-oilFermented Cod Liver Oil

According to Dr. Michael Gerber, “Vitamin A deficiency disrupts the clearing mechanism of the ear.” (source) Adequate levels of Vitamin A have also been found to improve outcomes in other illnesses, such as measles. (source)

Dr. Gerber makes a distinction between betacarotene and true Vitamin A, which is only found in animal products such as fermented cod liver oil. (Read more about fermented cod liver oil here. You can also find information on where to buy it on my shopping list under the Superfoods & Supplements section.)


The majority of our immune system is found in the digestive tract, so supporting it with beneficial bacteria is recommended by many practitioners. If ear inflammation is due to food sensitivities, it may also be beneficial in helping to moderate and even reverse those sensitivities over time using protocols such as the GAPS Diet. (I talk about my favorite probiotics on the Superfoods & Supplements section of this page)

Chiropractic Care

According to Dr. Haggerton, “The lymph nodes need properly functioning muscles to contract with your baby’s head movements in order to flush out lymph fluid and congestion that pools in the area.  If the bones in the top of your baby’s neck become restricted (due to birth, or any other type of physical stressor), the muscles around that area cannot contract and work correctly.  If the muscles don’t contract perfectly, then the body has a hard time flushing out the fluid in the ear canals.  Adjustments also boost the immune system and help the body to function optimally.  Read more research on chiropractic and ear infections here.” (source)


Elderberry Syrup

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, elderberry may have anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. Among the various natural remedies for ear infections, it is a favorite with those who want to support the immune system naturally. (Buy it here or make your own.)

Colloidal Silver

Recommendations seem to hover around one to three drops – warmed before use – inserted twice a day. Holistic Squid has a great article on why it is safe but should be used sparingly.

 Onion on wooden board

The Onion Remedy

We’ve all heard about using fresh onions for earaches. The warmth is said to provide comfort and assist with circulation. Here’s one method to consider:

“Use one brown or yellow onion, chopped in half. Bake it face down on the oven rack at 350 degrees until you can just start to smell the onion, and it’s just beginning to recede. You want it to be just hot enough that you won’t burn the ears – test by touching as you would formula. Have the person lie down on their back with their head supported by a pillow. Place the onions over the ears like ear muffs, and then wrap them completely using a natural cloth such as a 100% cotton towel, or 100% wool scarf. You do NOT want to have the chemical fumes from an acrylic fabric going into the ear canal. What you are doing is wrapping the top of the head, covering the onions, and then keeping it sealed by wrapping it loosely around the neck. This is why a wool scarf (if you or they are not allergic) works really well. Leave on for about 10 – 15 minutes, or until onion cools. Repeat again as needed.” (source)

More Comfort Measures

Whether it be via the onion remedy or the measures below, warmth does wonders for getting the lymphatic fluid moving and easing the discomfort of earaches. Fill a cotton or wool sock with rice or sea salt and bake until warm. Place it on the affected ear (testing first to make sure it won’t burn) until it cools. Repeat as often as desired.

Note: Salt is my preference because it has antimicrobial properties, but it’s also a lot more expensive. For that reason, rice works just fine for us.

When To See A Doctor

There are times when contacting a doctor is necessary. According to Dr. Allan Lieberthal, whom I mentioned earlier is the pediatrician and lead author of the American Academy of Pediatrics new guidelines on diagnosing ear infections, the “Basic rule of thumb for parents is: Don’t call the doctor for an antibiotic unless the child has a fever over 102 degrees or severe symptoms of cough, runny nose and ear pain, . . . Instead, a parent can safely wait 48 to 72 hours, giving pain medicine as needed, and watching to see if those symptoms simply go away. If the fever rises or the cough and runny nose last for several days, that’s when the child needs to visit the doctor for a full evaluation.”

Other popular remedies for kids:

Have you tried any natural remedies for ear infections?

How did they work for you?

Disclaimer: This post is for educational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Please see my full disclaimer here.

photo credit: Darwin Bell

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167 Responses to Natural Remedies For Ear Infections

  1. melissa says:

    I have successfully used a homemade garlic mullein oil (Rosemary Gladstar recipe) with my kids.

  2. Cyndi says:

    Great article! When one of our kids was 1yr we took her to the dr with a fever one afternoon. We were told she had “very bad double-ear infections”. Without treating her, the NEXT MORNING we took her to a more holistic dr and when he checked her out he said, “Your daughter does NOT have any sign of ear infection”. That’s when we realized how over-diagnosed ear infections were! Our 5 kids are ages 6-15yrs old and with any ear irritation we have always used warm garlic oil or warm onion oil, colloidal silver, peroxide and lavender oil on the outside with great success!

  3. Renee says:

    I’ve used the warm onion countless times to abate an ear infection. When I didn’t have an onion I’ve crushed a garlic clove and gently plugged the ear with it. Not once have any of my 4 children had to have an antibiotic for and ear infection! My oldest is almost 9 and she is not surprised at all when I see a red ear and stuff a garlic in it! We also try to keep a lot of garlic in our diet and have taken out refined foods and sugars to help our bodies keep healthy strong immune systems to fight off infection!

    • DaShawn says:

      I’m trying the garlic in the ear because I’ve been trying to find something my ear can get better with. It is pretty soothing in an odd way and i kind of doubted if it would work. Thanks for clearing up for me if I was supposed to have a garlic oil or if I could use and actual garlic clove, that’s one thing I wasn’t sure about in the article. Thanks. ^.^

  4. Alica says:

    Great article, it’s what we do as well. I love the ear oil. My kids have only had one mild earache each, and it was resolved in 1-2 hours with ear oil and gentle massage.

  5. Erin says:

    Breastmilk, too :) I have used garlic mullein on my daughter (when I had no BM available) and it works wonders. I would also add that any oil put in the ears should be warm (I stick the bottle in my bra to warm it to my body temperature). Cold drops can cause vertigo, which is not something to add on top of ear discomfort.

    • Lidia says:

      What do you mean by “Breast milk too”?

      • Aj says:

        You can literally drop breast milk in there. I have used it once before and it seemed to work. My crazy chiropractor swears by it.

      • Lynnette says:

        Breast milk naturally has antiviral and antibacterial properties. We used it for the kids and our own eye infection and link eye episode we had last year to great effect! You can also put it in the ear for infections, as well as on burns and small cuts to sooth and help with healing.

        It also has antibodies so helps fight infections when ingested and not just for the baby.

        Fun facts: Sometimes pumping and drinking it yourself can help kick start your immune system, and its been proven that people are naturally inclined to like the taste of it due to its sweet flavor. You can make butter with it by shaking it for a long period of time too and use it in place of milk and butter for cooking and baking…

  6. Leah G says:

    I had my fist ear ache while on GAPS intro last winter. WOW pain. I had a millions errands to run and did not want to smell so I warmed some silver 500ppm in my bra 2 drops in the ear. within the hour the horrible pain was gone. I then took raw garlic and upped my FCLO.

  7. Ryan says:

    I am an Audiologist who sees kids all the time for hearing tests due to “infections”. Rarely are the ears actually infected, like mentioned above there is usually just fluid behind the tympanic membranes (eardrums). It is often really difficult to get a good look at the eardrum of a moving/wiggling/crying child. I feel like a lot of the docs just think that antibiotics aren’t going to hurt the patient, so why not prescribe them. We (audiologist’s) actually do a pressure test on the eardrums called Tympanometry to check for fluid behind the ears. This is a digital reading of the amount of movement of the eardrum. If there is fluid, no movement will occur, if no fluid the movement looks like a mountain. I advocate chiropractic and essential oils with my patients since there is usually no need for antibiotics. Good points in the article.

    • joanna says:

      Hi , my daughter has had an ear infection for nearly 2 yrs, bacterial meningitis 3 x and suffered a stroke, grommets inserted 4 x,
      She still has leaking ears and the smell is horiffic, she was put on antibiotics for 8 mths then after 3 E.N.T doctors and 4 gps finally a doctor took a swab and found the antibiotic we,d used was resistant to the bug she has, nw been on bactrim 23days 9 to go and a repeat but i can tell it isnt working, ruby will be 2 on the 9 th february, she and we seriously need help as we just keep getting palmed off to the next person , please help us..i see u recommend chiropractor ??

      • Shawn says:

        Hey Joanna, did you get any help? It doesn’t look like anyone has responded to you. add me on Facebook @ if you want to chat. Not sure if I have anything to tell you, but I’d like to hear your story.

      • Cynthia says:

        Lay off the antibiotics, u r KILLING your baby. She’ll have health repercussions in the future. Try the diluted essential oils, or hydrogen peroxide drops several times per day. Crush garlic & gently stuff ears, wrapping head to keep garlic in place. If she fusses, do it when she’s going down to sleep. Antibiotics will KILL her immune system.

      • Cynthia says:

        Why are u telling moms to put silver inside their children’s ears?? Silver is NOT a metal we have in our bodies and will only harm user.

      • April w says:

        Joanna, please email me. I want to give you some oils. It can’t hurt!

      • rebecca says:

        Could be a fungal infection. My son had a lot of white stuff in his ear and I could see it with the naked eye. # trips to the pediatrician and them looking and saying it was an ear infection and 3 antibiotics later I went to the ENT. He did a culture, ear drum test, and a few days later was told it was a fungal infection. Two weeks later it cleared up. It had gotten so bad he had blood coming out of his ear. Good luck. We have been dealing with ear infections since he was 6 months old and he is almost 7. We have done both natural medicine and western medicine.

      • AUDREY says:

        Joanna – my son is now six and has suffered with ear infections and countless antibiotic treatments and surgeries that have left him with hearing loss and other complications. Just one thing that we have found that no one mentioned for the longest time was to be absolutely diligent about keeping water out of his ears. even the teeniest drop could seem to cause terrible pain and ultimately another infection with high fever within hours. I really wish that I had sought more natural remedies earlier for my son. After working in a hospital, I had a Dr tell me that after ruling out everything else, look in the ear say its red and prescribe antibiotics, cause that’s what most parents want anyway. No wonder we have so many super strains of viruses today.

      • Heather says:

        The minute my oldest entered 4K, she began suffering from “ear infections” and upper respiratory infections. The doc continually prescribed antibiotics, only making things worse. I never realized there was a world of natural cures, as I was a sickly child and took countless rounds of antibiotics. Long story short I swear by warm garlic oil in the ears and at the onset of any illness, place halved onions around our house especially on our nightstands, by our heads. The BEST thing I did for my family was discovering milk kefir and culture my own. The MEGA amounts of probiotics have turned our lives around. I had to heal my muchkin in her gut first, thanks to all the antibiotics! I have been culturing milk kefir for 2 years now and am proud to say that last winter no one in my family became ill!! No one!! For the first time since 2010, my daughter and I didn’t have bronchitis or pneumonia and not antibiotics have entered my home for 2 years either!

        • Angie says:

          Hi Heather, can you tell me how to culture your own kefir? Would love to try!

        • Melissa says:

          Can you give me more info on what all you have done? Please. I have a son who repeatedly gets Pneumonia, he is 5, but he has been getting it since he was 2. The dr. tells me it’s because I didn’t immunize him for it, but I do not want him to have the immunization, but I am scared for him, because he keeps ending up with pneumonia. I also have a 2 year old who has chronic “ear infections” Do you have any particular advice to help me get started?

      • Louise says:

        Hi Joanna, I have been suffering ear aches for 57 yrs. I have had 6 operations on my nose and I was hoping the pain would stop, but it didn’t. I just had my 3rd set of tubes put in my ears and I am still in a lot of pain and swelling behind the ear. I have found over the yrs that the hair dryer and the shower is the only things that works for me. Today I have tired Garlic, ginger juice, peroxide, olive oil, essential oils around the ears area, natural ear oil, antibiotic drops and no relief so far. So I had to use the hair dyer to stop the pain. :( But I am not giving up yet. I am determine I am going to find relief from these ear aches. :)

      • Rita says:

        I am an Indian and my grandma and mom has been using. Homemade garlic oil to treat and prevent ear infection. Just boil any oil (olive or seasemseed)with small garlic pieces renove garlic pieces from the oil. Warm the oil and put few drops in both eras. Cover it with cotton balls.

    • Jaci says:

      I have plugged up ears and very little pain. What are uour suggestions for this type of ear problem. I’m about to go to the Dr but I do not just want to take antibiotics if not necessary.

    • ladawn says:

      my oldest boy has had so many problems with ear aches and every time i have taken him to the dr they ALWAYS give him antibiotics. AND i mean every time… he has got to the point that when he takes them he actually gets sick again before he gets off of them.. This is a very frustrating thing.. For the last year I have stared to do home remedies tryin to make it better on my children.. I have been giving them honey on a pretty regular basis and since i have done that things have got so much better on my children.. For instance.. since I have started giving them honey they do not half to take allergy medication anymore… but that is for them.. and a good bit of the ear aches have went away since I have started to do this.. I seen this artical and im goin to try some of these remedies and see if i can completely get rid of his ear aches when he has them..

  8. Amy says:

    This last March my 3 year old had her third ear ache in six months. I decided that apparently what traditional medicine was doing wasn’t working and I refused to go down that road again. So, instead I put a drop of colloidal silver in her ear and rubbed Lemon EO and Purification EO on the outer rim of her ear and I have not heard a peep since about an ear ache. It took less than 12 hours for it to go away.

  9. Jeaneen says:

    When I was 5 yrs old with a screaming earache, and old American Indian said to boil an onion, put the heart of the onion in my ear with my hand over it and lay down on that side. Instantly, the pain was gone like air out of a balloon. I used that for 7 children and it worked every time. If there is water in the ear from swimming, it will dribble out within 15-20 min. If it is an allergy earache, it will not work. (An allergy earache feels like a knife in the ear and it hurts when you move your head like you’re touching a knife in there.) You want the heart of the onion very warm but be sure not so hot it burns.

    • Kay says:

      Was there a different remedy for an allergy ear pain?

      • Joan says:

        A friend of mine gave me a recipe he called, swimmers ear juice. It worked quicker then what the doctor gave me. I haven’t had an ear infection since. When I feel my ear getting clogged I use equal parts of hydrogen peroxide, white vinegar and alcohol. It fizzes and tickles and opens up the blocks.

  10. Therese' Pureveen says:

    I love your site and your posts, but I would like to add something to your plethora of information. Did you know that Honey contains a natural anti-biotic called “Inhibine”. So putting a tsp of honey in your childrens or your, tea, 3 times a day, when sick, will not only help heal a throat, but make your ears feel better. I have also been using a mixture of Apple-Cider Vinegar and Lavender essential oil in an old Ear Drop bottle, as I am prone to ear infections and it helps to keep any infection or discomfort at bay. (mix 5ml Apple Cider Vinegar with 5 drops Lavender Essential oil). Or you can dilute the Apple Cider vinegar with a little water (2ml Apple Cider and 3ml Distilled Water) but then you have the problem of the mixture going off quicker because of the water. If you use water, then keep it in the fridge. for 2 weeks to be safe. (Shake well before use).

    • Thrisa says:

      Thanks for bringing up honey! I was surprised no one mentioned it before! I used to use regular raw organic honey (just anything I could find) and it worked GREAT. Now I use raw organic manuka honey and it kicks just about any sickness/illness in the butt! I used it to heal and stop cystic acne as well as for ear infections, strep throat, colds etc (we rarely get sick, but it’s good to have on hand!).

      • Melissa says:

        So this type of honey will work for anything pretty much? Where can I find it? I have a daughter who gets strep a lot and three sons who have allergies pretty badly. Can this help with that?

        • ladawn says:

          i dont know about the strep and honey but i know store bought honey works for allergies.. give them t tsp a day and if they seem to be havin allergies give it to them twice.. my kids were on allergy meds everyday till they started gettin that.. now i do not have to give them any allergy meds.. i hope it works as well for u :)

    • Carol says:

      This comment just sparked a memory. When I was a kid, I remember overhearing my mother tell my aunt not to give her baby honey. When I asked her why she said that they could get very ill. I just looked it up and came across information that advises not to give infants under 12 months honey. There’s a small risk of infant botulism. Just thought I’d mention it. :)

      • Lori says:

        My guess is that would be pasteurized honey, not raw honey. Raw honey has many wonderful healing benefits along with being anti viral and anti fungal.

        • A good thought Lori, but the reason to avoid honey in infants is that honey naturally has botulism spores that could grow in an infants system. Their immune system is less able to handle challenges, and botulism is NOT something you want your kid to have. Even heat treating (pasteurizing) doesn’t kill the spores. Both raw and pasteurized risk having spores. Wait until 1 year.

        • Amy says:

          I have treated a 7-month-old infant with botulism poisoning due to raw honey. She was very, very ill, but did recover after over one month in PICU. So, although it is extremely rare, it is not advisable to give infants any type of honey.

  11. Bethany says:

    Great article! I’ve used homemade garlic-mullein oil and the heated onions before. Both worked great. The girls like the onion remedy best, because the heat feels so good to sensitive ears. I like the oil better because it’s easier and seems to work faster.

    One great thing for infants is breast milk! It’s naturally antibacterial, totally safe, and free! When my babies are still breastfeeding, I use drops of warm breast milk for both suspected eye infections and possible ear infections in babies and young toddlers. It definitely works, and I’ve never had to take any babies or toddlers to the doctor for an infection. The older ones get a little grossed out by the breast milk so we go with other remedies.

    • Lora says:

      I just put some breast milk in my hubby’s ear. He’s in so much pain it’s 5am and I’m looking for additional ideas beside the bm that’s how I found this :) so after I get some sleep I will do the onion and oil/garlic for him. Hopefully he’ll be better soon since we have 4 kids 2 of which are babies! He’s my life support I need him back to 100%

  12. Amber says:

    I’ve always just warmed olive oil and dropped it into the ear and massaged. And encouraged the blowing of a runny nose. Good to have some other ideas if it doesn’t go away that easily!

  13. Sandy McG-B (NZ) says:

    Oh so timely! My six month old is teething and pulling on her ears particularly when feeding. I didn’t want to go to a doctor and be given antibiotics but I didn’t want to be doing her damage by not consulting someone… First baby and all… Phew! I can relax now! Might be time for a chiropractor check up. :)

    • Heather M. says:

      It is very common for a teething child to rub his ears. Tooth pain in any part of the jaw can seem to be ear pain. Worry first about your child’s teething… Which, btw, can also manifest itself in a low-grade fever. :) No need to run to the doctor just yet. Good luck!!

  14. Lori says:

    When I was a child growing up we always were given warmed olive oil in the ear along with aspirin (I grew up in a time when aspirin was all there was). For more than 30 years I’ve been using 1 ounce of olive oil mixed with 15 drops each of Ti Tree, Eucalyptus, and Lavender essential oils. These get dropped in the offendin ear and a cotton ball put in place.
    Twelve years ago about 6pm on a Sunday (no doctors open!), my then 9 year old daughter began to dance around crying with pain in her left ear. I gave her aspirin for pain, and began to slice up a couple of onions to make an onion poultice. I cooked the onions in a small amount of olive oil (traditionally moms used goose grease, but I’ve never had this), and let them cook till clear and beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Placed them immediately on paper towels to drain some of the oil, then into an old, thin dish cloth we use for poultices.
    She was told to lay on the couch with the aching ear up, then I applied the poultice to the outside of her ear and along her jawline (she said it hurt there, too), put on a cartoon and told her to lay still for an hour.
    By the time the onions were more than cold, the aspirin had kicked in and she was pain-free. I then placed some of my special olive oil with the essential oils into her ear and she spent the rest of the evening playing with her siblings. About 9:30pm I gave her more aspirin (to make sure the pain did not come back when the first dose wore off), and placed more oil in her ear. This time I did not have her keep cotton in her ear.
    Told my husband I’d probably be up half the night with her, but she never woke up and I got a full night’s sleep. The next morning she came down and asked me what was all over her face and hair. The infection had pulled out of her ear and was all over her face and in her hair like dried, crusty yellowish snot. I had her take a shower to clean it up.
    That was 12 years ago and she has never had another earache since and is now 21 years old.
    We have used the onion poultice and ear drops for many grandkids’ ears (I have 13 grandkids) and it clears them up in no time flat. No one has ever had any problems from me using these essential oils in their ears with the olive oil

    • Lori says:

      Make sure you don’t put the onion poultice on too hot as the grease in the onions can give 2nd and 3rd degree burns! You want it as hot as one can stand without scalding the skin. We use onion poultices for all lung ailments, too.

  15. Ann says:

    This is an interesting article. My daughter has had two earaches in the last couple of months, but I knew they weren’t infections because she had no fever. Both times I tried the garlic mullein oil and a warm pillow but she was still in a lot of pain. Both times I ended up resorting to children’s ibuprofen after hours of pain and no sleep, as much as I hate to do that. Luckily, both times she was better in the morning.

  16. Alexis D says:

    Great article! Daughter never had a single ear infection! Little guy however did have his first ear infection not too long ago and he did get a fever up to about 104 and screamed every time we laid him down for a nap/changed his diaper so after almost two days we did take him to a pediatrician. Now I know the signs of an ear infection and will try these remedies to fight it before it gets worse!

    Thanks for the wonderful article :)

  17. Love this post Heather. Earaches can be so common for little ones and thankfully it’s one of those things that we can easily treat at home if we take the time to learn about them and how to do it. You’ve done a great job explaining what’s going on with an ear infection here.

    My favorite way to treat ear infections in our home is to use the garlic mullien oil, but instead of paying the price to buy it premade, I make it myself. I think it works better because it’s fresher. Plus… it’s so simple.

    All you have to do is crush a clove of garlic, put it in a sauce pan, add in 1 TBSP of dried mullien leaf, and cover it with olive oil. Let it simmer over low heat for an hour or so. Strain the herbs out. Bottle your oil and use as needed. It’s so easy, that if I think my kids are coming down with a would-be ear infection…. I’ll make this fresh every time!

    • Berry ghyslaine says:

      Hi could you tell me if garlic and olive oil only, can work?do you live it in the ear, do you use a cotton swab after?how many drop and how many time a day? Thank you.

  18. Emily says:

    Breast milk is also something a lot of people don’t think of….it has many beneficial properties…from probiotics to antibacterial properties….if you’re still feeding your baby breast milk just drop a few drops in their ear. Sounds weird, but it really works!

    • Marissa says:

      I also use breast milk for ear infections and have also used it successfully for eye infections (including pink eye) in my babies, myself…and a couple others brave enough to try it! :)

  19. Wow what an awesome post! Our one year old grandson has been dealing with this for several weeks now, I am going to share your post with our daughter-in-law.

  20. Mary Beth says:

    I was using a holistic pediatrician (MD and trained in holistic medicine) who prescribed my daughter a garlic/blend ear drops for an ear infection. When it still seemed to be bothering her I took her back (to another doc I didn’t know) and he said she looked fine, but I could tell he wasn’t able to get a good look in her ears. After a few more days I took her back again to the original doc who I know well, and she said her ear drum had burst and that I needed to stop using the drops immediately. I felt so bad that I had been forcing her to have the ear drops put in when the eardrum had burst and I shouldn’t have been doing them! So the moral for me was to make sure I am comfortable with the doctor and make sure they are able to really see into the ear. Also to really stay on top of it and bring them back in sooner rather than later if it doesn’t seem to be getting better.

  21. earache says:

    i do hot compresses 😀 just place a washcloth soaked in hot water over the ear. Repeat as often as needed 😉

  22. Tammy says:

    I have personally used basil oil in my daughters ears with fantastic results. I use the garlic mullein first, and then finish it off with 1-2 drops of basil oil. Earache/redness gone!

    I’ve used it on myself too. The basil smell is really strong…almost smells like fresh cut alfalfa to me…

    But it works!

  23. We have a lot of ear infections around here, and both my kiddos have tubes in spite of trying many of these natural methods. But the point is that we tried these first! And we have a great ENT doctor that doesn’t overprescribe antibiotics, so we haven’t had to deal with that too often, especially now that my boys have tubes to help drain.

    What a great post!

  24. […] similar products in your home you should consider finding greener alternatives.  Here are some  Natural Remedies For Ear Infections from The […]

  25. Nick says:

    And let’s not forget the best cure of them all…prevention. Children can usually cure ear infections by not consuming dairy products and dairy by-products like casein.

    • Louise says:

      I do not eat dairy or cook food as I am a raw vegan and I still have throbbing pain, ringing, burning, swelling, etc in my ears and I don’t sleep all night with the pain. :( This is my 3rd set of tubes in my ears and I drink lots of fluids and many cups of hot turmeric tea. So diet is not my problem here. I think I was born with small drainage tubes in my ears. Who knows why we have ear aches. I have lived with ear aches for 57 yrs of non stop pain and spent thousands and thousands of dollars trying to get some relief. And as of yet I still live in pain!! :(

  26. Jane says:

    In the 1980’s we started going to a chiropractor and he told us to warm a clove of garlic in a pan. When quite warm remove it and peel it, then insert into the ear ( making sure its not too hot) and leave it there for at least 30 min. I always thought of it like a tiny hot water bottle for your ear, but the anti microbial properties did the trick. My kids loved it and we still use it if we get an earache.

  27. Sara Brown says:

    So happy to have come across your site through a link on a friend’s FB page! Officially a big fan!! (And have been DROOLING over Vitamixes for a long time but simply don’t have the cash to fork out for one. Would be a dream to win! Thanks! :)

  28. Teresa says:

    My son started having ear infections when he was around 1. After a year of round after round of antibiotics, I mentioned it to my chiropractor. He adjusted his neck and spine and also performed an ‘ear tug’. He said that would help to straighten out the tubes so the fluid could drain properly. My son never had another ear infection after that. When my second son was born, I took him for regular chiropractic treatments including an ear tug and he had only 1 ear infection in his life. My boys are now 28 and 25 and our chiropractor is the first person we see when we need medical attention!

  29. jennie says:

    This is great info. I also make sure to use a homeopathic nasal spray to encourage draining and reduce mucous production . Also push fluids and let kids who are old enough chew gum.

  30. Using therapeutic grade essential oils is amazing. Lavender on the outside of the ear and peppermint behind the ear and down the neck. Gently tug back, up, down on the ear. It brings relief.

  31. Maria V. Masala says:

    How long should I keep on putting the garlic oil in the ear and under the feet after she no longer is giving signs of disconfort?

  32. Kelly says:

    Are the oils in the ear still acceptable if the child has ear tubes?

  33. April Esquivel says:

    My children never had an ear infection. It wasn’t until my son at the age of 7 was screaming and crying and grabbing his ear but no fever. Gave him something for the pain and he went to bed. 2:30 in the morning my son is in so much pain. We were out of out of town so we went to the emergency room. The PA said he had an infection and gave antibiotics. He wasn’t allowed to go swimming and 5 days later we were back at the same emergency room. They just said he still had the infection and continue giving him the medicine. I was so angry and not educated. We left for home the next day and saw his pediatrician. At this point she couldn’t even see into his ear, it was so swollen and painful. She was able to get a swab taken (there were a lot of tears). We started steroids in his ear and oral and in a few hours he didn’t have anymore pain. My pediatrician is awesome and called me at home, letting me know he had 2 different nasty bacteria causing his infection. Now a year later my son has begun to complain today about his ear hurting. He has been swimming so much. So thankful that I found this site and all of the great advice. Hope to use some of the advice tonight.

  34. […] Natural Remedies for Ear Infections by Mommypotamus […]

  35. Valerie says:

    I would love to try several of these remedies but most require it to be put in the ear, and my son has ear tubes, which means I can’t right? He got a cold a couple weeks ago, and then an ear infection, which proceeded to drain our puss, and blood, and other clear liquids, for the last 7 days! It just won’t stop. What would be a suggestion for my case? I have been trying a drop or two of oregano oil in a bottle with some juice and water.

    • Another Mom says:

      I have had success using oil of oregano as a treatment for ear ache. I used olive oil as a carrier and rubbed on the bottom of the feet then covered with socks. Good luck!

  36. Aly says:

    my adult friend from France got an ear infection while visiting this summer. We were on a camping road trip when this happened. We ended up trying several natural food store remedies picked up in a small town co-op. None worked. We wondered if it was a wax build up. So we bought some hydrogen peroxide and she dropped several drops into an ear and laid down for awhile on her side. Then carefully drained the ear and gently used an ear swab to collect. It did seem to be part of the issue. But the ear ache continued and seemed to be getting worse. We then decided to try garlic. I had brought along a small bottle of high quality organic olive oil I bulk order to use for salads and such. So I minced a couple cloves of garlic and mashed this together in a measuring cup with the olive oil. Then I patiently poured and mashed all of the olive oil and garlic into a (boiled and cooled) dropper bottle I had picked up at the natural food co-op along with the garlic. She used this crude garlic oil 2 x per day laying on her side to rest, meditate for a half hour or so and within 3 days the pain subsided and went away. We had visited the small town’s medical clinic but the price of a visit for someone without insurance and not from the US was 3x the price for a US resident! Crazy. Well maybe not, since it brought about a solution and a lesson in natural herbal care for my friend. And a story to take back with her to France.

  37. […] follow THIS WOMANS blog.  She is AWESOME.  She happens to have a whole blog post on ear infections.  She even references medical journals and doctors opinions about them […]

  38. Courtney kay says:

    Oil of oregano! I have used capsules to cure mastitis in myself and cut them open to put the oil in my 5 month olds ear. Works wonders!

  39. Amy Widner Messick says:

    I have used breast milk or coconut oil (the real stuff)…currently, using chiropractic care and removal of dairy for one of my daughters. It’s working!!!!

  40. Gran says:

    You cannot “swab” an ear for bacteria unless there is fluid in the ear canal. Fluid cannot escape the tympanic membrane unless the TM has ruptured or in the presence of “ear tubes.” A parent cannot always know if the TM has ruptured, but pus or any fluid coming from the ear canal is a really bad sign. If there is a hole in the eardrum, one should never put any substance in the ear unless advised to do so by an OTOLARYNGOLOGIST (an ear, nose, throat doctor.) Please, please see an otolaryngologist if your child has a suspected ear infection/bulging eardrums. A pediatrician does not have the microscope to see the eardrums like an ENT. Your child’s hearing is too valuable. Please see a specialist, especially for small children.

  41. Juroc says:

    I use coloidial silver. Fill the ear canal with head tilted to side. Make sure it goes all the way in. Rub the area below the ear in downward strokes. Never needed to put it in there more than once or twice. Works like magic! ;o)

  42. Susan says:

    Growing up, the kids I babysat, and my own kids; I used baby oil and it has results fast. The next morning, its like nothing ever happened. However, if it is still painful the next morning, that is when I know its time to see a doctor. I usually put a little baby oil in the ear and then put a cotton ball in.

  43. Ashley says:

    I try to avoid going to the doctor as much as I can. When my 5 year old had a double ear infection, we both decided not to see the doctor on this one. We used tea tree oil massage don’t he back of her ear and just slightly in there ear. I diluted it a little with some olive oil just for her sensitive skin. My daughter refuses any medicines that you try to give her, and is one tough cookie for it. Her ear infection lasted for two days in one ear, and then three days in the next ear. We cut out her dairy and most sugar and I gave her frozen fruits like pineapple and blueberries to include in her diet. She did great!

    As it turned out she had a close friend that was going through the same thing with the double ear infection. She took anti biotics and was feeling better in about the same amount of time as my child was.

  44. june says:

    This is a very interesting article. And has answered alot of my questions about ear infections. About a year ago i got my first ear infection since childhood, and have had many ear infections since. The pain would be unbarable and so i would go to the doc n she would say it was an ear infection, whether it was inner or outer and then give me the same medications to treat it. which made no sense to me because it didnt work before. I stilll get the ear pain, and severar pressure in my ears but i just put up with it now because the doctors were no help. anyways i just wanted to say thank you for this article i will be trying a few of these things to see if they help.

  45. My 12 mo just took the dropper out of my hands and tried to give himself a second does of eo blend in his ears…he fought the first treatment.

  46. Kelli Wright says:

    Please help! My daughter has had five ear infections, four with fevers over 103. Twice puss and fluid outside the ear doctor says her right ear drum ruptured. The antibiotics clearly aren’t working. She will be going to chiro this week and I will do probiotics. We have referral to Ent i am scared to out anything in her ear she is still pulling at it and I am so over giving her antibiotics.

    • My thinking is that putting an essential oil blend in her ears will be safe, but the massage from the back of the ear down the neck would be helpful and safe. Eucalyptus would be a great first oil for this purpose if you don’t want to spend a fortune. For a carrier oil I like to use coconut for massage as it is creamy at room temp and easier to apply but olive oil would work too. If her temperature keeps spiking I would not shy away from ibuprofen and/or acetaminophen, high fevers are scary!!! Hope you are able to find answers for your little one with the first visit.

  47. A quick funny. I wrapped my head up with the onion (my eldest helped, she said i looked like a mummy) and my baby started crawling on me, vocalizing concern. My 3 year old stood next to me, “Mama! Where are you? I tan’t see you!” The wrap lasted a few minutes before their concern coaxed it off.

  48. trisha says:

    okay, i am feeling a bit apprehensive and negligent, despite my best crunchy mommy intentions and (what i thought was) thorough research. i applied a homemade “vapor rub” to my 15-month-old that i had made for my husband a while back, thinking that it would be a gentler and safer alternative to store brands. but now i’ve learned that some of the oils in it (eucalyptus globulous, peppermint, rosemary, lemon…) may be unsuitable for children under two. i’m sorta freaking out, because i don’t know if the harm would be obvious (reaction on the skin or trouble breathing) or invisible, like internal damage to the organs or brain or something that could affect his growth and development. he has not shown any signs of a bad reaction, so are we in the clear as long as i discontinue the use of those oils until he is older? thank you!

  49. Caite says:

    I suffered from repeated ear infections when I was a child.
    What I was told by my doctor to tip my head sideways and shake my head slightly while holding a tissue against my ear( to create a vacuum), then repeat on the otherside.
    I had allergies and I often had water in my ears from swimming or bathing that would become trapped and simple needed to be drained. We found though that doing the same thing, if I had a blocked nose or a cold worked really well. I went from having a “ear infection” at least once a month to none. I still do it as an adult and I have never had any problems again.

  50. […] out some amazing natural remedies for ear infections here… and tell us what remedies do you like […]

    • Rosa says:

      Hi, my daughter was getting ear infection after ear infection and was simply given antibiotic after antibiotic. The last visit to the doctor we were told she would need grommets in as her ears were still quite red so a specialist appointment was scheduled in a weeks time. During that week we went to see a naturalpath who gave us the following advice:
      Get a brown onion. Take the skin off it .Cook it in an oven for 20 mins. Once it is cooled enough to handle, squeeze it and capture the juice. When your child is sleeping place 3 drops of warmed juice to your child’s ear. Do this for 3 nights in a row.
      Well I did this and when we went to the specialist appointment he looked in her ears and said “what are you here for” as both her ears were fine !
      I told him what I had done and he disregarded it and said the ears must have just healed themselves. Sad that some specialists are not into other alternatives but then again they might not have a job!
      The juice from the onion is simply stored in the fridge and reheated for each use. I just put some in a teaspoon and put it gently over a flame. It should not be too hot . Simply test on your wrist. When you can’t feel the drop, it is the right temp.

  51. […] Natural Remedies For Ear Infections […]

  52. Lynell says:

    It’s nearly 2 am and my son is whimpering in his sleep and his cheeks are pink and warm, however, his forehead is cooler. We had received some anti’s from an urgent care doc and Beanster ended up not needing it. Over a month later, he now has an ear problem. I hesitate to call it an infection. I going to try the clove of garlic in the ear and see how well this works and possibly give him some ibuprofen for his slight fever. I will also try the lavender-olive oil rub on his lymph nodes. I am curious, though, about chiropractic care for 3.5 year olds. I thoroughly believe in it and go often, but this is the first I’ve heard if it for children and for ear infections. Thanks for all the great info. I’m off to heat up some garlic.

  53. My 21 month old has suffered from ear infections all his life! I ebf for 12 months and he had food allergies that kinda cleared up towards the end. Now he eats anything and everything and loves his milk. This month is his 3rd ear infection in 6months. We go on next month to talk about tubes. We had been seeing a chiropractor regularly but she had her baby and haven’t got in in over a month or so. My son is battling another infection as we speak… no fever yet. I need help mamas…I’m at my wits end trying to figure out what’s best for my son. What should I do for my pain now to help his pain? His pediatrian says his ear is pink inside and she can see fluid. My son has been on and off antibiotics all his life and I’ve finally gotten smart and know the difference between needing an antibiotics and doing home remedies. Should I cut all dairy out? Myson drinks raw milk that we do ourselves and loves pastas and cheese that is hate to take away. Is this what is causing all his infections? #helpme

  54. Deborah says:

    Hi, thank you for sharing this information. What is good for Vertigo? When I get a cold it goes to my ear and can not lean to the left or bend down without feeling dizzy.

    Thank you,


  55. mary ann alvarez says:

    Hello. I’m hoping for some help. My son is 14 months old. He has had at this point over 7 ear infections. My pediatrician sent us to see the ENT and has advised us to put the tubes on the baby because the fluid is not draining. He has an ear infection about every 3-5 weeks and is put on Augmentin. It works only to have another ear infection a few weeks later. We just came back from the pediatrician to find out he has another one. I dont want to put the tubes, because I’ve heard that boys tend to have more infections than girls and they tend to go away by the time they are 2 years old. I’ve advised my pediatrician that I would like to hold off on the tubes until the fall. As the baby is now again on Augmentin, I’m looking for holistic remedies, because the fevers and his pain is unbearable to me.

    Nikolas has very sensitive skin, so i’m not convinced in putting oils and massaging the back of his ears with it. And the onion, well being that he is 14 months old i dont think he will stand still enough time for the vapors to do its thing. I’m moving towards the garlic oil in which I think i can hold him down for 30 seconds. How do i warm it up though? bottle warmer okay?

    Any other suggestions are greatly appreciated.
    Mary Ann

    • Heather says:

      Hi Mary Ann, if it were me I would discuss my concerns about the research mentioned in this post that antibiotics may actually lead to more ear infections. Certainly there are times in which it is appropriate, but I am wondering if he is up to date on the “wait and see” approach now recommended by the AAP. Also, many moms find chiropractic adjustments helpful. My chiro actually does a little maneuver on the ear that assists with draining.

  56. […] sinus fluid build-up causing pressure and pain. Here are the links I read if you are interested: Ear infection/pain home remedies,  how to make homemade Elderberry Syrup, easing congestion with a peppermint […]

  57. Danielle Maxwell says:

    Great article! My 8 month old has had a stuffy nose and has been scratching at her ears and chest. One ear smells a little weird. I’m happy to see I actually have most of these remedies on hand…essential oils, colloidal silver, oil of oregano, garlic. My question is which would you try first with such a young baby? I’m going to also take her to the chiro.

    • Cynthia says:

      Why are u telling people to put silver in their systems??? That will POISON them.

      • Wendy says:

        Do some research because you are obviously unfamiliar with colloidal silver which is not the silver you think it is. It is a natural antibiotic and it is not dangerous at all.

  58. Sasha Moore via FB says:

    Melaluca oil works great!

  59. Holly Zliceski Price via FB says:

    Luckily my doctor has been pretty good about not prescribing antibiotics when my kids have ear infections. I find that olive oil and cinnamon have worked every time, reducing the swelling so the pain goes away and they are ready to play in no time!

  60. Linda Plue via FB says:

    We always used warmed “Sweet Oil” in the ears for our kids for the pain. But we cleaned their ears with a capful of hydrogen peroxide. Just wait until its done bubbling and turn your head and dump it out. If it still feels bubbly then run some water in your ear and the bubbles rise to the top and come out. It works great for ear wax.

    • Carol says:

      No, ANY honey for infants is BAD!
      Honey is a great thing to have for your medicine chest, but NOT for infants!
      Pasteurized honey is worthless for anything except to make it sweeter; only organic, raw honey is healthy, with all the natural stuff in it to be good for you, but NOT for infants!!! Please, do not give honey to infants, at all. They need to be 12 months old before you can safely give it to them. While there MAY be some arguements about this or those that disbelieve this, why take the risk? There are other options besides honey until your child is 13 months or older.

    • Carol says:

      What is “sweet oil”?

      PS: the next comment of mine was for something said much earlier in this most’s comments. I couldn’t get back to it afer being told to fill in the name and email….oops! 😉

  61. Amber Lynn Peña via FB says:

    I just had an ear infection that I treated in 1 day with garlic oil, colloidal silver and doTERRA’s On Guard blend (around the ear). You don’t get those type of results with oral antibiotics.

  62. Thanks Mommypotamus! Nice to see some positive chiropractic articles here

  63. Angie Gerard via FB says:

    Surprised there was no mention of coconut oil…. That’s what I use and it works wonders. :)

  64. Irina Primakov via FB says:

    Thieves and purification works on my kids

  65. Keri Lopez via FB says:

    If their eyes are full of green green gunk because of the ear infections would that most likely be a bacterial infection?

  66. Keri Lopez – I believe that used to be the thinking regarding color, but I heard it mentioned recently that newer information indicates that’s not necessarily the case. Unfortunately, I haven’t personally looked into it yet so I can’t say for sure.

  67. Keri Lopez via FB says:

    Mommypotanus thanks for your reply. My son was just diagnosed with an ear infection in both ears. !! :( all of my usual go to natural remedies have not helped !! We were going to start antibiotics today but now this leads me right back to my deciding point!!

  68. Mark Reeser via FB says:

    Gena, I know we were just talking about ears yesterday while swimming.

    • Carol says:

      I have heard that if you put rubbing alcohol in the ears after being in water, it will dry up any water in the ears, so there is no build up of it to cause problems…. might be worth a try.

  69. Trina says:

    I have used garlic drops. They work wonders and are so soothing. Also, Melaleuca essential oil on a cotton ball and placed on the ear helps too. Don’t put Melaleuca directly in your ear, but putting it on a cotton ball and using it as an earplug helps tremendously. The pain was gone 12 hours after I started that.

  70. Elizabeth Newman via FB says:

    Another one, and this is really good preventatively- Cold Snap by OHCO. It’s a blend of herbs, comes it capsules or you can make it into a tea or give it through your milk. My kids have been raised on it and haven’t had a single ear infection. It’s a natural antibiotic/anti-viral. You can get it at Whole Foods or on Amazon.

  71. Rori DeAnne MF via FB says:

    Amanda Kjar

  72. Bonnie Jensen via FB says:

    I wish I had known better when my son was an infant. When I looked back at his medical records, he had received nearly a dozen courses of antibiotics over an 18 month period, some as close as 3 weeks apart.

  73. Dana says:

    Here is a link to a great video by Dr David Hill on how to use Basil Essential Oil to treat ear infections.
    A lot of the research done on essential oils that showed they were not safe for use on young kids or for internal use etc, was done on oils that were not of the highest quality and purity, so its worth checking out the new research.

    here is a link to some info on safely using essential oils for the youngest of kids.

    if you’re interested in getting some of these really high quality oils, I’m having a great promotion for folks placing their first order this month – get a free gift! the details will be on my website soon, or contact us here at the shop for the details. In peace and wellness, Dana LaVoie, Lac of

  74. Mollye says:

    Yes!! Doterra Basil essential oil has been a lifesaver for my twins , just a drop on a cotton ball and put in their ears at bedtime + some oregano oil on the bottom of the feet for anti-infective. We have not been in to the pediatrician with ear infections at all this winter as compared to the last 3 years.

  75. Renier Smith says:

    …Out of curiosity I took a small glass bottle, filled it half with freshly sliced garlic and then topped it up with Macadamia oil. After 2-3 days the smell of garlic was overwhelming if opened. Working out in the wind usually leaves me with a painful sensation in the ear as well as when I go to bed and the fan blows directly on to the bed. I applied a minimal amount of the Macadamia / Garlic Oil via an ear bud working it around inside the ear. Must say that within minutes the pain is gone. I have done this a few times already and have never had any problems or side effects. Must also add that since I have been doing I have had less occurrences with pain after wind exposure. Almost as if it is preventative as well.

  76. Libby says:

    We always used sweet oil (available at the pharmacy) warmed up, put a few drops in the ear and plug with cotton. Also as a swimmer, we used a mixture of one part rubbing alcohol to one part white vinegar to dry out ears and prevent infection! Works like a charm! :)

  77. Susan says:

    You have to be _REALLY_ careful with home-made remedies! Normally I believe in self-healing and that you don’t need medication for every single littel fever but:

    My sister-in-law tried to cure her ear infection with garlic remedies and ended up in hospital. I had an ear infection when I was 8 years old and my parents didn’t want me to force to take the antibiotics – since then I have had an operation to repair my left ear from caries and heavily perforated ear-drums due to the infection I had years earlier. I still have hearing problems and problems with my ears. It is better to find a good doctor than to take home-made remedies: It can take a while to find the right one who is able to treat you properly but it’s worth it.

  78. Beata says:

    I am desperate to find an effective remedy for my son’s repeated ear infections. They are the ‘real’ infections, with perforated ear drum and lots of pus draining out of the ear. We’ve had months of anitbiotics and now at least two of them have become ineffective. I assume garlic oil and other remedies can be used before the ear drum perforates, but is there anything I can use while the puss is coming out? Would I use it around the ear? The problem is that my son never seems to complain about an ear ache, it’s straight into the discharge phase, so I don’t get the opportunity to prevent an early infection from developing…. And I’ve lost count how many times his ear drum has popped…

    • Layla says:

      I used basil essential oil on the outside of the ear. Basil has antibacterial and antiviral properties. I rubbed on the front side from crest of the ear to a little below and behind. Be diligent. Make sure to apply at least twice a day. My baby was 9 months old at the time and it worked within a week.

  79. Layla says:

    So I know this an old post, but I saw this and just had to share. Ear infections are what got our family started on the journey towards natural living. Our second son got an ear infection at 6 months. The pediatrician said how bad it was, etc. and prescribed antibiotics. We went back at the end of two weeks, and it was worse, so more antibiotics. This cycle went on for three months. Finally, the pediatrician suggested a round of super strong antibiotic injections. I was like, ummmmmm no thanks. So I went exploring online. Eventually I found a website saying to use basil essential oil for the infection and grapefruit essential oil for the pain. So I tried it. After less than a week, the ear infection that had lasted for months was gone. Well, the next thing was that he had too much fluid. She sent us to an ENT. This doctor was in our room for a literal 5 minutes. In this immense amount of time, he decided we simply had to have the ear tube surgery or my son would end up having speech problems from all the fluid. By sheer coincidence, I said something about the surgery to my chiropractor while I was there. He showed me a way to manipulate the eustachian tubes and massage the lymph nodes. We called the ENT and cancelled the surgery. A week later the fluid was gone.
    So we cured all of this at home, and the 5 minute visit is still being paid off. The lovely doctor charged us well of 600 dollars.

    • Kendra says:

      Layla, can you tell me how to manipulate the tubes? This is for myself. My ear is plugged and I read it can be done, but can’t find how to do it. Thanks

  80. Amyah says:

    I have a question… maybe somebody could have an idea or had an experience that could help/guide/inspire me.

    I have a 75 years old friend. One day, he had a “head cold” and was sneezing a lot. Then, after a sneeze, he felt dizzy and nauseus. He rested and he was feeling better but, when he got up, he was walking like if was drunk. Then, he realized he was not able to hear from his left ear.

    He went to see specialists, passed tests, and everybody told him that he was deaf… period. You’re old, it is normal… they said.

    But something deep, deep inside of me (my huntches never proved to be wrong) feels that it is not true and that something could be done… maybe not to restore completely but at least to improve his situation. I have a huntch to use oils and maybe some essential oils… in drops in his ears and in massage around the ears. Is somebody had a similar experience? Some ideas of what to do or what to use? New technique? I would like also to do some ear candling — which I did professionally for many years.

    Your help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you all :)

    • Cherie says:

      Sounds like benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (bppv) a common vertigo. It happens when small particles from a canal in your inner ear break loose and end up in other canals of your ear. An infection, aging, head injury, pressure from sneezing can all cause loose particles to move around. The Canalith Repositioning Procedure can move the particles back in place and relieve the dizziness, nausea, etc. Here is the link to do at home: I did this procedure on my bed at home about 15 years ago and have had no issues since. Hope it works for your friend.

  81. Teresa says:

    I’ve found that salt packs are very effective for ear discomfort. Heat about a cup of salt in a skillet, wrap the hot salt in a cloth diaper or tea towel, tie with a string, and place this nice warm squishy Baggie over the ear. Not only soothing, but actually attracts moisture from inside the ear. Works great on the chest for chest congestion too! If it’s too hot at first, place a layer of washcloth, wool, flannel, etc. against the body first, removing it a the salt cool. Can reheat the salt to use again, but not for cooking or eating.

  82. Teresa says:

    Have child jump on a rebounder! Or hold an infant and gently bounce them several times a day! Drains the ear fluid that is trapped, cleanses the lymphatic system, and exercises every cell of the body! Little children love it! Place rebounder (mini trampoline) in a central location of the house so they will pass by it often and take a few bounces. I will also mention the healthy benefits for the body of the electromagnetic energy it creates when bouncing. Healthiest exercise there is in my opinion.

  83. Lara says:

    That’s exactly what happened to me! My ear sounds like it’s under water and hurts a bit. I went to see the doctor and they said that it’s red and gave me an antibiotic. Which obviously didn’t do anything. So this was a great article to read.

  84. Amber says:

    I use homemade garlic oil. Blend equal parts garlic and olive oil together, put in a glass mason jar, stick in a sunny window for a week (shaking the jar twice daily), strain out the garlic, and keep the oil in the fridge. Works on all kinds of infections, including ear infections.

    Sometimes, especially with an infant I’m breastfeeding, I squeeze a few drops of my breastmilk in. It works just as well, and starts out at body temperature.

  85. Anne says:

    What a helpless feeling having a child crying in pain in the middle of the night. That’s how I discovered the onion cure. It just plain works.
    I would take the core part of the onion and heat it in a little bit of water just to soften it. I placed that near the opening of the ear and covered it with a warm wash cloth.
    My daughter used to get these super painful earaches suddenly out of nowhere. She really hated onions, but once she discovered how well it took the pain away, she’d ask for it. Works fast!

  86. monica says:

    I started with a bit of ear pain on my left ear and I discomfort until one day I woke up and my ear was plugged and I could not hear. Then I started getting strong ear pain and went into the urgent care and they prescribed medication and said that within 3-5 days I would get better. It has been two weeks to be exact and all medications that I have taken have not helped. I’m scared because I still can’t hear and I still have pain that comes and goes. Its painful. Reading all your comments with all the natural remedies has put a smile on my face and as soon as I get home from work I will try some of these remedies thank you all so so much!

  87. Melissa W says:

    Hi! I just wanted to tell you I was At my pediatricians office with my son who has repeated ear infections. We have regular chiropractic care, eliminated dairy and wheat and have used silver but cannot get my sons ear infections under control and he has constant fluid. My Dr looks at me and says lets try garlic oil, have you heard of mommypotamus, I laughed and said yes my favorite blogger ever! She has info. So I want you to know my awesome pediatrician reads your blog and referred me to you, you are doing well! Unfortunately for my son we are now getting him ear tubes, nothing has worked and he has failed hearing tests. Thanks for your awesome blog!

  88. Beth says:

    Hi, I really like this post. Even though it is aimed to help parents with children, I have used the onion on my own ear (to treat a clogged ear that lingered after i had a bad respiratory infection) and it worked wonders. Thanks for sharing such great ideas!

    • Heather says:

      I’m glad you found it helpful, Beth!

      • Alicia weaver says:

        Hi my baby is 8 months old. His first ear infection I used the garlic olive oil drops and it healed pretty quickly. He is now on his secound ear infection. He was screaming all day and was waking up all night so I took him to the dr. After they confirmed it was an ear infection I went home and started doing the drops 3 times a day in both ears. I warm them and make sure they stay in the ear for a minimum of 6-10mins. He started acting so much better and happier. I thought for sure the drops were working. I continued to use them 3 times a day to be safe. It’s been 6 days. Today he started screaming again all day, he can barely sleep… Ibprofen isn’t even helping him. I already know it’s got to be his ears. Now I feel like antibiotics are the only way. It hurts me to see him like this and it’s so hard having a screaming baby that doesn’t sleep. Please if anyone has advice contact me. you! My son was hospitalized at 9 days old for a urinary tract infection and was on antibiotics. I feel like since he has already had two ear infections this could be a problem and I don’t want to have to constantly use antibiotics. I am afraid for his future health. I just want the best for him. A happy healthy boy but I cant stand to see him in pain:(

    • Kendra says:

      I’m going to try it right now. My ear has been clogged for 2 days from the same reason. Thanks

  89. Shaun says:

    Can you use the Mullien garlic oil if your toddler has tubes in his ears?

  90. Jamie says:

    There could even be candida yeast in the ear that looks white as I have been reading. Candida in the body can be very common and caused by overuse of antibiotics. I think antibiotic use leads to more antibiotic dependency. My son has a very sensitive stomach and it is a daily struggle to keep him healthy. His behavior and tolerance to food dyes has gotten so much better with daily probiotics and fermented cod liver oil- healthy fats, raw veggies, etc. Sugar is bad for immunity. He had a cold and ear pain with fever for 2 days. I felt his lymph on his neck and massaged it. I also warmed organic unrefined coconut oil and put in his ear with a warm compress, and he is better with no antibiotics!!!

  91. lyban says:

    thank you very much for such a wonderful article. all instructions are working and helpful.

  92. Enrique says:

    Many years ago I had an ear infection and the pain was unbearable. My son had to take me to the emergency room of the nearby hospital. The doctor prescribed some ear drops and painkillers (I don’t remember what it was, except the pain!) and a couple of days, no more pain.

    A few days ago, I woke up in the middle of the night with some uncomfort on my left ear, I cleaned with H2O2 and an earbud. In the morning I woke up and still feeling uncomfort on the ear. By evening time the pain increased then I used the web to search and found this web page. I had only garlic available in the kitchen so I decided to get one and cut it in a cone or wedge and inserted in the ear. The sting (feeling) was strong but bearable. I kept it for about 15 minutes then I remove it. The pain subside. I place the wedge garlic in the refrigerator and went to sleep. In the morning I was feeling a little pain in the ear but not too strong. I took the garlic wedge from the refrigerator and place it in the ear and the feeling was nice because it cools too! 15 minutes later I remove it and carried on with my daily chores. I did the same in the evening and again when I woke up.
    No more pain. Garlic wedge (cone) in the ear, works for me!

  93. sri says:

    my baby 2 weeks old, she had ear infection , fluid came from her ear and bad smell also came from fluid..plz suggest any treatment

  94. Tanessa says:

    My one month old son was diagnosed with an ear infection and pink eye today. We are certain the pink eye is bacterial as dad got sick first and was treated for ear infections, sinus infection, and bacterial pink eye. I got pink eye as well. Then my one month old started with symptoms. He had nasal congestion too. Could the nasal congestion have caused a misdiagnosed ear infection? They prescribed antibiotics but pink fruity flavor for my ebf one month old. I am not okay with pink fruity oral antibiotics for him, especially being ebf. I was thinking of trying breastmilk, but recently made garlic oil for myself as my ear started feeling achy. Is garlic oil safe for a one month old?

  95. lana says:

    My 20 mo son had swollen lymph nodes under his left year for the third day now. I took him to his pediatrician yesterday and the diagnose was the year infection in both years even no fever is present. We ended up with an antibiotic being prescribed. This is his second ear infection, the first one was last month and he took the antibiotics for ten days.
    I’m using the garlic oil since I saw the swollen lymph nodes and they seem smaller now but still there. He is not bothered by them anymore, very active kid. I am wondering if I can continue the natural remedies and not using the antibiotic this time…

  96. kumbulla says:

    Hello everybody! i want to help me for my son. He is 5years old. his ear do infection often. yesterday i was at the doctor and the doctor said me that my son in one of my ear has blocked because of fluid. doctor give me some medication antibiotic and some drop to put down his ear.anddocor saind in case that this doesnt sokve this problem (fluid) we have to put the tube (surgery) in order to go fluid. i am very concerned. :( :(
    Can you help me to tell me a recipe that can help to drain this fluid or to gone this fluid. my son has hearing problem because of this fluid.

    i am wating for your response
    sorry for my english,

  97. […] that most of the time it’s best to let small illnesses run their course. Here are some natural remedies many parents have found helpful for earaches.  But I’m getting off topic here – back […]

  98. My son is diagnosed with 22Q.11 Deletion Syndrome and was born with a cleft palate, small chin, tiny ear canals, and swallowing issues. I have opposed ear tubes previously, however our ENT insisted that his anatomy needed them. Well the 2nd set fell out. :-/ I’m hoping to try these remedies before another set is tried. Only 1 ear gives us problems when he gets a cold. Started culturing milk kefir too. Thanks for the article.

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