Earaches are a fairly common childhood ailment, one that you can probably take care of at home with natural remedies. You don’t have to run to the doctor if you use some of these home remedies to take care of your child’s earache, and if you have the ingredients at hand, you won’t even need to leave the house. Your child will appreciate the gentleness of the treatment, your budget won’t take a hit, and you’ll be better prepared for the next time one of your kids starts rubbing their ear and complaining about the pain.
Natural Remedies for Earaches
- Use astringent herbs to irrigate the ear – Simmer 1/4 cup dried witch hazel leaves and 1/4 cup of dried comfrey leaves in 2 cups of water for 5 minutes. Let cool, strain, and irrigate the ear with an ear bulb (ear syringe): Lean over the sink with the sore ear down and gently flood the ear with the solution. Do not squeeze the bulb forcefully. Repeat the ear irrigation up to four times a day.
- Use healing herbs to irrigate the ear – Simmer 1/4 cup echinacea root, 1/4 cup dried mullein leaves, and 1/4 cup dried comfrey leaves in 2 cups of water for 5 minutes. Cool, strain, and irrigate the ear as above four times a day. Alternate the different herb mixtures as desired.
- Use a neti pot to irrigate the sinuses – A warm salt water solution helps the sinuses to drain, relieving the sinus and ear pressure.
- Warm garlic oil drops in the ear – Heat 1/4 cup olive oil just until warm (remember, ears are sensitive). Add 2 or 3 cloves of crushed or pressed garlic and let sit for fifteen to thirty minutes, then strain. Lie on your side with the affected ear up, and pour in a small amount of warm garlic oil. Leave the garlic oil in the ear for at least 10 minutes (longer is better), repeating up to three or four times per day.
- Warm clove oil drops in the ear – Instead of garlic, use a tablespoon of crushed cloves and follow the instructions above.
- Ginger and sesame oil drops in the ear – Grate one tablespoon of fresh ginger root into 1/4 cup warm sesame oil, prepare as with garlic and clove oil.
- Warm poultices on the ear – Dip a washcloth in hot water and place over the ear and side of the neck to relieve acute pain. Keep dipping the cloth in the hot water when cool and replace it on the ear. A popular folk remedy is to add 1/2 cup of chopped onion to the hot water before applying the washcloth.
- Ice pack on the ear – Alternate cold compresses or ice packs with the hot poultices. Apply the ice for a shorter time than the warm poultice.
- Lavender or tea tree oil – Put two to three drops on a cotton ball and place in the outer ear, leaving it for as long as is comfortable. Do not push the cotton ball into the ear canal. Apply lavender oil externally behind and below the ear.
- Gargle with warm salt water – Add 1/4 teaspoon salt to a cup of warm water, stir until dissolved, and then gargle with it (spitting it out afterward) until all of the solution is gone. Repeat three to four times per day.
- Take a hot bath – A hot bath does wonders when nothing else helps.
- Use an ear candle – Skeptics will scoff, but many people swear by them. Ask for instructions at a natural foods store or from your herbalist.
- Stand on your head – Being inverted helps ease some ear and sinus pressure issues and facilitates drainage of the Eustachian tubes.
- Take care of the rest of your body – Boost your immune system with echinacea, osha, astragalus, or your favorite tonic herb, taken internally. Drink plenty of water and fresh fruit juice, cut out the sweets and any possible allergens (wheat, dairy, soy, etc.) from your diet. Take some extra vitamin C. I think EmergenC is a great way to get your C and help with hydration.
These natural earache remedies work great for adults as well!
[Image: CarbonNYC at Flickr]