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Winter Remedies for Ear Infections

Ear aches are a common childhood ailment and can be incredibly painful and uncomfortable. When my children were young, at the first sign of possible infection, my go to remedy was garlic. I take two cloves of fresh garlic and place in a pan with about a 1/4cup of olive oil. Chopping the cloves in half helps to speed the process, but you don't want to mince the clove for fear tiny pieces of garlic will go into the ear. The biggest challenge with this remedy, is making sure the oil doesn't get so hot that you're frying the garlic. I keep the heat on low, just enough to warm the oil to release the garlic juice. When you can smell the garlic quite strongly in the oil, then you know it's ready. Then strain or remove the garlic cloves and let the oil cool to body temperature. I always test the temperature by placing a drop on the underside of my wrist. If I don't feel it or maybe feel the warmth very mildly, then it's okay to administer to the ear. I have done this by using a dropper or soaking a cotton ball in the oil and placing it in the ear. I think I've even used toilet paper in a pinch.

Typically, the warm oil feels soothing to your child's ear. Garlic has anti-bacterial properties, and combined with the warm olive oil, brings great relief to ear infections. Do this several times throughout the day until the pain subsides.

You can also use wintergreen essential oil to rub around the exterior of the ear. Essential oils should NEVER be place in the ear, but massaging the oil around the ear and down the neck helps to relieve pain.

According to Anthroposophical medicine, ear infections have a direct link to the kidneys. I'm not sure what the link is, but Anthroposophical doctors have recommended supporting the kidneys as a key element to treating ear infections. First of all, plenty of liquids, but also applying ginger packs to the kidneys. I've used old, flannel pillowcases and cut them into wide strips. Then I dip the flannel strip into castor oil to soak - or you can also rub generous amounts of castor oil to your child's lower back over the kidney area. Grate fresh ginger and place over the kidneys, apply the flannel, either heated by a microwave or by using a heating pad or hot water bottle. Kidneys, particularly during the winter months love heat and pressure. This is a great method to add to using garlic oil directly in the ear.

Hope you and your family have a warm and healthy winter!


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