Saturday, April 14, 2012

In One Ear Out the Other, Please! The Guide to Childhood Ear Infections

Ear infections - ugh! What a nightmare thing for a child of any age to go through. The worst thing? When one measly ear infection develops into a chronic case and the bacteria eventually become antibiotic resistant leading to an endless cycle of stress and frustration. Do not despair however, there is hope! Easy hope too, not the hard kind where you have to give something up to get results :-)

First stop - you guessed it, start attacking the infection with Echinacea and Vitamin C or whatever immunity booster you prefer. Remember to dose every hour for the first couple of days and then you can decrease the dosage to a few times in a day. Echinacea loses its effectiveness if you give it for too long so dose up to a week and then give it a rest. You can use it preventatively but using the 1 week on, 1 week off rule. More often that not, ear infections are the result of an extended cold..the excess mucus/fluid in the nose backs up into the ear and then builds up which becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and hence an infection. So get to it, and fast!!

Second and more importantly, get yourself some Garlic Mullein Oil. Trust me, it's your best friend during an ear infection. No, make that your *only* friend. This wonderful compound is basically an infusion of garlic and Mullein flowers in olive oil. The garlic serves as an antibiotic and mullein is known for its soothing properties and for reducing inflammation. Warm the oil by placing the bottle in hot water for a few minutes. Test the oil (no burns, thank you!) on the back of your hand and then drop a few drops in the affected ear. For maximum effect, you can plug the ear with a cotton ball. Repeat several times during the day. I promise you, it will work! I cured Z's ear infection with just this and hourly doses of Echinacea. Note that this is for an ear drum that is NOT perforated. For an ear drum that has ruptured (and this should be confirmed by your pediatrician) you don't want to drop anything in the ear as it needs to be kept dry. Look at the section on homeopathic remedies below for a perforated ear drum.

For those of you who do not have access to ready made Garlic Mullein Oil, even cloves of garlic infused in olive oil will help. Just cook (on very low heat) a couple of crushed garlic cloves for a few minutes in about 1/2 cup of olive oil. Let it steep for about an hour and strain through a coffee filter. Since this is made from fresh garlic, try to use it within the week.

Back home in Pakistan, we are always told to keep warm when sick. I know that there is a lot of literature out there that refutes this but there is something to be said for changing the body's internal temperature drastically. Remember how fevers kill off harmful bacteria via heat? The corollary is that they thrive in the cold. 

If the combination of Echinacea and Garlic Mullein doesn't do the didn't do it properly!! hehe. No, seriously, these 2 things really should be sufficient for an average ear infection but you need to do it regularly and keep it up for at least a week. There are some homeopathic remedies for ear infections too and I've noted some of the more common ones below (for instructions on using homeopathy, see post on teething)

-- Belladonna: intense, throbbing pain that comes on suddenly. The ear will be red and your child will have high fever (usually over 102) and emanate heat. Face may be flushed.
-- Chamomilla: a child that is screaming with pain, finding it intolerable, will need this remedy. Better momentarily when carried around. One cheek red, the other pale.
-- Hepar Sulphuris Calcareum: usually used in later stages of infection. The ear produces discharge and has pus and the patient will be very irritable and sensitive especially to cold.
-- Mercurius: ruptured ear drum, green and foul smelling discharge ear. You'll find sensitivity to temperatures (both hot and cold), offensive breath and excessive salivation & sweating.
-- Pulsatilla: like I mentioned in the teething post, a Pulsatilla child is usually clingy and craves affection. There is yellow/green discharge from the nose or ears and he/she will usually be better from being outside.

If your child has a ruptured ear drum, keep it warm and dry. That means no swimming and when bathing keep the ears covered with a shower cap or plug it with a cotton wool coated with non petroleum jelly. For more on why petroleum/mineral oil aren't the greatest things for your skin and what alternatives to use, see a great post on

Another tried and tested remedy from a friend was to put some raw, chopped onion in a cotton sock or wrapped up in muslin and hold against the ear for instant relief! You can also use the reflexology points for the ear and massage with olive oil several times during the day, see the chart for the correct one.

"Ears" to good health!



  1. I have used this remedy on my son more than once and it has absolutely worked perfectly. Better than any antibiotics prescribed by the doc! Just make sure to be consistent with it and you can see results within a week

    1. Thanks for visiting and for sharing your experience - I love hearing about actual successes with these remedies, such a great reaffirmation! xx