One of the first things I do when someone in my house starts to complain about an earache is make a fresh batch of garlic ear oil! I have been successfully using this herbal remedy for over a decade now to avoid antibiotics. When I was a new mom we tried antibiotic after antibiotic for my firstborn to get rid of an ear infection. His gut was wrecked and he still had an ear infection. I said forget it, I’m going to figure out a better way. Herbalism was a new interest of mine and I discovered garlic ear oil as a remedy for ear infections. So I decided to give it a shot and within a couple days the infection was gone! Twelve years later this is still how we treat an earache at home.
What really causes an ear infection?
I don’t know who needs to hear this but most ear infections are actually viral. (source) This is why so many parents are frustrated when they try an antibiotic and it doesn’t work. Many doctors are even getting away from prescribing them automatically for ear infections now. While bacteria can be a cause and sometimes the infection will turn into a bacterial one if left untreated you can’t put all your eggs in the bacterial basket when it comes to an earache. Sorry that sounded gross!
What to do for an earache?
Garlic is the perfect match for an infected ear. It is both antiviral and antibacterial so you don’t have to guess what kind of infection you’re dealing with. It is also anti-inflammatory, decongestant, anti-fungal and it helps with circulation in order to move lymph. I like to pair it with Mullein and Lavender which are analgesic and can help soothe pain. Think of it as the trifecta of herbal remedies! Combine these three herbs with olive oil and you have a very effective oil to soothe the ears and fight infection. Olive oil itself has been shown to have antiviral properties.
Gar Ear Oil Recipe
- 2 cloves Garlic crushed and chopped
- 3 Tblsp Olive oil
- Optional: 1 Tblsp Mullein and 1 Tblsp Lavender
Step 1: Combine ingredients into a saucepan and cook on low for 10-15 stirring frequently.
Step 2: Strain herbs from the infused oil. I recommend double straining because this is going into the ear. Mullein has little plant fibers that could be irritating.
Step 3: Rebottle into glass bottle with a dropper top like this one.
Garlic Ear Oil FAQ
- How often to use the oil? For my kids I use the oil 3 times a day until they are pain free. I will place 2-3 drops in whichever ear is giving them trouble.
- What is the shelf life of my garlic ear oil? There is a lot of debate on how long garlic ear oil is safe to use. I air on the side of caution and make a fresh batch every time we need it which is not that often. When a fresh batch is made I will keep it in the refrigerator until my child is pain free and I know that sickness has run it’s course in my family.
- When should I not use garlic ear oil? If you suspect a ruptured eardrum do not use garlic ear oil.
- Can I buy garlic ear oil already made? Yes! Here is one that I recommend.
- What are some other herbs that I could include in the garlic ear oil recipe? Calendula, Goldenseal and St. John’s wort are all great supportive herbs.
- What other ways can I support my child with an earache? Boosting the immune system with Echinacea and vitamin C is a great idea during an earache. Chiropractic care specifically Craniosacral therapy can be very helpful for improving the flow through Eustachian tubes. Using essential oils such as Lavender, Tea tree oil, Basil and Frankincense diluted on the outside of the ear can also be very effective.