Having an earache is a real drag.
Having a child with an earache is even more challenging. It can mean sleepless nights and irritable days for all of you.
An ear infection is one possible cause of that ache, but even if it isn’t an infection, a buildup of wax or dirt in the ear can still be extremely uncomfortable. And flying on a plane or driving to a higher altitude can bring on an earache pretty quickly.
When it happens, it doesn’t matter whether it’s an inner ear or outer ear infection, impacted ear wax, or an allergy response. You just want relief.
The doctor may see you during office hours, but it seems like earaches tend to appear in the middle of the night. What do you do at 2 AM?
Here’s a list of natural remedies that you might have in your home right now:
14 Natural Remedies for Earaches
- Irrigate the ear with astringent herbs – Simmer 1/4 cup of dried comfrey leaves and 1/4 cup dried witch hazel leaves in 2 cups of water for 5 minutes. Let it cool, strain the mixture, and irrigate the ear with an ear bulb (ear syringe) by leaning over the sink with the sore ear down and gently flooding the ear with the solution. Do not squeeze the bulb forcefully. Repeat four times a day.
- Irrigate the ear with healing herbs – Simmer 1/4 cup dried mullein leaves, 1/4 cup echinacea root, 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 herb mixtures as desired.
- Irrigate the sinuses with a neti pot – A warm salt water solution will help with sinus and ear pressure.
- Use warm garlic oil drops in the ear – Heat 1/4 cup olive oil just until warm. Add 2 or 3 cloves of crushed or pressed garlic to the oil, let sit for fifteen to thirty minutes, then strain. Lay on your side with the affected ear up, and pour in a small amount of warm garlic oil. Leave the oil in the ear for at least 10 minutes (longer is better), repeating the process three to four times per day.
- Use warm clove oil drops in the ear – Use a tablespoon of crushed cloves in place of the garlic, as above.
- Use ginger and sesame oil drops in the ear – Grate a tablespoon of fresh ginger root into 1/4 cup warm sesame oil, prepare as with garlic oil.
- Apply warm poultices to the ear – A washcloth dipped in hot water and placed over the ear and side of the neck relieves acute pain. Keep dipping the cloth into hot water and replacing when cool. One folk remedy says to chop 1/2 cup of onion and add it to the hot water before applying.
- Place an ice pack on the ear – Alternate cold with the hot poultices. Apply for a shorter time than the hot.
- Lavender or tea tree oil – Put two or three drops onto a cotton ball and place in outer ear, leaving it 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 salt water – Add 1/4 teaspoon salt to a cup of warm water, stir until dissolved, and gargle until all of the solution is gone. Repeat three to four times per day.
- Take a hot bath
- Try an ear candle – Ask for directions at a natural foods store or herbalist
- Stand on your head - This helps to ease some ear and sinus issues and helps with drainage of the Eustachian tubes.
- Treat the inside of your body – Support the immune system with echinacea, osha, or your favorite herb taken internally. Drink plenty of water and fresh fruit juice, cut out sweets and any possible allergens (wheat, dairy, soy, etc.) from your diet. Take some extra vitamin C.
Do you have a favorite earache remedy? Leave a comment!
More natural remedies:
- Natural Remedies for Wasp, Yellowjacket, and Honeybee Stings
- Herbal Remedies: 8 Natural Methods for Relief from Childhood Canker Sores
Image: thomasbrodbeck at Flickr under Creative Commons