Healing Ear Infections Holistically

Healing Ear Infections Holistically

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Written by Erin Odom, Contributing Writer

Last year this time, I prided myself on the fact that my 2 year old had never had a full-blown ear infection.

A strong proponent of breastfeeding and having nursed her until she was almost 2, I just knew my milk had protected her from ever really getting sick.

And I just knew it would protect my newborn as well.

I never imagined how sick my new baby would be most of the winter and into the spring.

And ear infections? She had several.

Avoiding Antibiotics

When I became a mother, I was surprised at how often my friends’ babies were on antibiotics for ear infections.

My first ear infection ever was when I was 24. I was living 12 hours away from my mama–and I cried like a baby wishing she were there to comfort me!

When my second daughter was diagnosed with her first ear infection at only a few months old, I was surprised yet determined to treat the infection holistically. She had already endured several months of yeast infections, so I knew her little gut health was off, and I didn’t want to introduce antibiotics into her system.

Determining the Cause

There are typically three causes of ear infections: bacterial (which, theoretically, antibiotics will help), viral (which antibiotics will not help) and allergen-induced (which are remedied when the allergens are removed).

The problem is that it’s difficult for many doctors to actually diagnose the cause of most ear infections. Unless there are signs of a virus or symptoms of an allergy, they may prescribe antibiotics.

Thankfully, my daughters’ pediatrician is integrative and was willing to work with us on alternative remedies—especially since it was pretty obvious her infections were viral.

Healing Ear Infections Holistically

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Holistic Healing of Ear Infections

Under her direction and the direction of our chiropractor, here are several remedies we tried:

1. Colloidal Silver Drops: Colloidal Silver is an immunity booster and natural antibiotic. We usually put 2 drops in each ear 2 times per day during an infection.

2. Garlic Oil Drops: Garlic has many antibacterial properties. We purchased our garlic oil at our local natural health store, but you could easily make your own. Like colloidal silver, we would put 2 drops in each ear 2 times per day. We actually rotated with the colloidal silver, for 8 drops total per day.

3. Chiropractic Care: During the birthing process, neck vertebrae can become misaligned, which can affect the eustachian tube. This may lead to fluid buildup and cause ear infections. Regular chiropractic adjustments can help realign those tiny spines and prevent recurrent ear infections.

4. Lymphatic Massage: At the advice of my massage therapist friend, I massaged the lymph nodes under my baby’s ear–in a downward motion. KerryAnn, of Cooking Traditional Foods, says: “I have the type that will make you want to bang your head on the wall, but if I do the massage 4-6 times a day, my ears stay clear and don’t hurt.”

5. Breast Milk: Squirting drops of breast milk in infected ears can also speed up the healing process. I used this method the least—simply because I did not pump very frequently. (And manually expressing into her ears was a little awkward!)

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A Lesson in Humility

Did the above remedies work for my daughter? Well, yes…and no.

She ended up having three or four infections total, which, although it surprised me, my chiropractor insisted was not a lot for a child who had had RSV. In fact, she told me she had some patients who had upwards of 12 infections just last winter!

In the end, although her infections cleared, my baby’s doctor and chiropractor both felt she had glue ear, a sticky build-up of fluid behind the ear drum–that will not drain on its own.

Her doctor suggested that she see an ENT and have a hearing test.

She failed the test. The “glue” was hindering her hearing, which could potentially set her up for speech delays—or even lifelong hearing loss.

“I rarely ever say this, but you might consider getting tubes put in her ears,” her chiropractor told me.

Tubes?! I thought. Not my daughter! I’m a natural mama! She’s not having tubes put in her ears!

But after much research, prayer and talks with her doctors and chiropractor, we felt it was best.

And it was definitely a lesson in humility for me.

I’ve learned I can—and should—try natural remedies first. But, in the end, conventional treatments have their place as well. At that point, I was not willing to risk permanent hearing loss or speech delays for a 5 minute procedure that solved the problem.

Am I glad she had tubes put in her ears? Yes, I think she needed them.

But I’m also glad I tried every other remedy I knew of up until her procedure—and I avoided who-knows-how-many rounds of antibiotics.

The truth is—her infections cleared on their own. When the ENT exited surgery, he said her ears looked great. All he had to do was drain the glue.

What are your holistic remedies for healing ear infections?

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  1. A great article. One word of caution though, before putting any drops in your child ears test on a small patch of skin elsewhere first. I used garlic oil drops that also had some other natural ingredients and my son had a terrible allergic reaction. His ears and the sides of his face broke out in an awful and painful rash. We ended up having a trip to the ER and needing steroids to control the reaction.

  2. I really learned alot from this article. I appreciate your natural remedies advice and your humility. I think we’ve all been there. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Oh my goodness, I feel like this is my story from last year (hoping this year will be better). My infant went through the same ordeal and my doctor insisted it was because she had an older sibling transferring germs. My son (the oldest) never went through this. I actually took my daughter to the doctor to make sure she didn’t have pneumonia and the doc said my daughter just fought and got over an ear infection on her own! I hated that she had an ear infection but was happy that she battled it on her own.
    Humility was definitely learned on my end. I always believed my babies would be the healthiest, what with all the real foods we eat, but I learned, too, that above all else, God is the one in control.

    1. @Amanda, It sounds like God taught us both similar lessons! I definitely have learned that God is sovereign!! I think my older daughter probably did transfer some germs to the baby. I also did not REST like I should have when she was a newborn. I jumped right back into 2 Bible studies per week (where my older daughter was in a nursery and I had the baby w/ me). I think I will be more protective next time! Glad to hear his infection cleared on its own!

  4. Thank you for such an informative and relevant post!

    When my second daughter was born she had a number of ear infections in her first winter. A friend shared “activated charcoal” with me and we never had to use antibiotics again! Just poke a pin in the capsule of the activated charcaol capsule and “poof” it into their ear. Hold the ear lobe down so that you get as straight a shot into the tube as you can. It will turn their ear black for several days, but it will be worth it! My understanding is that “AC” absorbs 100,000 times its size in infection. When we had a very little baby with an ear infection I did some research and found that there has NEVER been ANY known side effects from using AC. It is a wonder!

    I understand that if you have an allergy causing the ear infection, then you will want to address issues of the gut, but if this is just a once in awhile thing, you will really be glad you have some Activiated Charcoal on hand.

    I had two additional children, totaling 4, I have used this on my dogs and shared it with a friend that has 8 boys–it works! 🙂


    1. @Debbie, Thanks for this GREAT tip, Debbie! I will definitely try it if I need it this year. I am hoping/praying we won’t have this issue so much this year!

  5. Another WONDERFUL and QUICK remedy for ear infection are ONIONS!! I could not imagine life without onions. I have 5 kids, all prone to ear infections for whatever reason and I treat them all with onions. We avoid the doctor like the plague and treat everything we can at home. Take one very large onion cut it in half and take out two or three of the inside layers so that you have a nice hole or pocket in the middle of the onion. Stick the onion in the toaster oven (or regular oven) until it is just warm, not hot. Stick the onion directly over the ear like a earmuff…infact that is what my kids call them. Onion earmuffs. Keep the onions on for no less than 30 min, doing this at least 3-4 times a day until ear ache is gone. Do not reuse onions. You will be amazed by results. 🙂 It really does work, onions have an astounding drawing power. We even use chopped onions in a poultice to treat coughs, bronchitis, and other seasonal cold issues.

    1. @Becca, Thanks so much for the GREAT tip! I’m so excited to be getting some more remedies from all the comments! Although, I hope/pray I won’t need them! Haha!

    2. Excellent article!! I’m glad that onions were mentioned in the comments since they are so helpful for healing such things! Onions help break up congestion and are also anti-inflammatory. I use them for ears and for chest congestion especially.

      Something to remember — and perhaps it was addressed but I don’t remember seeing it — is when dealing with natural remedies for ear infection, it is best to treat both ears, not just the one that is causing the pain.

      1. @Susie, Thanks so much for mentioning that! I did not mention that in the post. We did treat both our daughter’s ears. I hope people will read your comment! Thanks again!!

    3. I second the onions! Except what I have done is onion oil in the ears. I have found it to work better than garlic oil. Chop a slice of onion and put in a small saucepan. Cover with olive oil and cook on low for 20 minutes or so. Strain and use a couple drops of the oil in the ear. ( Cool a bit first, of course. )
      Great article. Great perspective.

  6. I’m glad you shared this, especially the part where you were so real about your feelings and the treatments you did. I also would feel the same way. Wanting to avoid medical treatment. I like to try everything else first. But sometimes, that doesn’t work. I recently had this happen to me, where I didn’t seek medical attention first, but perhaps should have at least had an opinion…it was not ear infections (so far we’ve never had those, thankfully) but something else. My 5 year old started getting wierd symptoms that just were getting worse (bad rash, peeing all the time it was not a UTI.) I was trying many natural remedies/treatments, but the problem was getting worse and not better at all. I went to the doctor (reluctantly) and he was able to treat her with something fairly mild and not antibiotic. However at that point I think I may have considered it the problem had gotten so bad it was interuppting our whole life and sleep. This was weeks of dealing with it (September). I think that could have been avoided had we gone in sooner. She is now healing due to the perscription. No wonder my treatments weren’t working as I wasn’t treating the right thing. What she had wasn’t something I knew about, but thought I did because she’d had similar symptoms before. I think in the future I would have gone in sooner, at least just for an opinion. Then I could keep trying natural things if I so chose.

    Another thing to consider if you do bring a child in is that sometimes you can not fill the persciption or combine some natural treatments with perscriptions (check with the doctor as I did). For example when I went in he also perscribed hydrocortizone to help with her secondary rash. However I didn’t fill that one. Instead I used coconut oil and that helped relieve the itching. So sometimes we can make choices like that too- to fill only one perscription, or sometimes, I also just hold onto the perscription for a few days. I did this when the kids had pink eye. I got the perscription when I could get in to see the doctor, but instead just waited using breastmilk every hour in the eye, and it worked.

    One word of caution re: ear infections, I thought I had two in the past few years but each time it was actually build up of ear wax, which the doctor removed. The ear was so painful but once the wax was gone, it was fine within a few hours. Each time I had some hearing loss. So just so you know that there can also be another cause of ear pain, apparently this is more frequent in adults or teens and especially older adults. Apparently some (like me) are more prone to it.

    1. @Nola, Thanks so much for this great testimony, Nola! We are also blessed with a great doctor who will write a prescription and just tell me to hold onto it “just in case.” May I ask what the procedure was like for the doctor to drain the wax? It sounds similar to my baby’s issue with glue ear. The ENT said it wouldn’t clear on its own, and he went ahead and put tubes in while he was draining the glue (although the glue was just on one side) to avoid having to have any more procedures (hopefully) in the future.

      Our ENT is also pretty natural-minded. He gives all his patients arnica to take before and after surgery!

      1. @Erin–The Humbled Homemaker, You asked about draining the wax. I can’t remember what it was called but essentially they “flushed” it out with a funnel type system and water the first time. This is when it was so blocked I was deaf in that ear temporarily. Another time it wasn’t as bad and they just scraped it out while I was laying on my side with something meant for that. It was nicer the water treatment. Both times it didn’t hurt (well other than the pain from the actual ear blockage, it didn’t hurt any more than that for them to do the treatment) but it did feel funny. It was over in a few minutes each time. I hope your daughter doesn’t need any more treatments. But if she does, keep trusting God for wisdom. The world is not a perfect place and sometimes we need to make choices that aren’t what we would have hoped for.

  7. We finally discovered after many ear infections that my sons had a dairy allergy. They still do (at 21 & 25) and I finally admitted I do too even though I fought against it for years! If we avoid cow dairy products we have no drainage or subsequent problems. However, one piece of cheese or scoop of ice cream and the drainage begins! Fortunately, goat dairy is fine.

    1. @Dee Jarvis, This is so good to know (not good that your sons have the allergy, but something for me and other moms to keep in mind!). Although her doctors and chiropractor felt very certain that my baby’s infections were caused by viruses last winter (she had RSV, then bronchiolitis, then croup!), our other daughter was recently diagnosed w/ several food intolerances (including dairy), and I have been keeping a close watch on the baby. I have noticed that her cheeks turn red and her stomachs are messier if I consume too much dairy. Even after reading these comments, I have a suspicion that perhaps it WAS not JUST viral and possibly the first symptom to a dairy allergy. Thank you!

  8. My son had chronic ear infections up until he was about two years old. After a few treatments of antibiotics, the doctor recommended tubes. After some research, I decided I wanted to try to avoid that route. I started him on Fenugreek and Thyme breaking open the capsule and mixing it with juice. At least twice a day when he had a cold, I also did a full body massage to get the lymph system moving. Thankfully he grew out of it and has been fine. He has sensitive hearing and even now at 11, does not like loud noises. Obviously his hearing was not damaged.

    Now when any of my children complain of an ear ache (usually at night), I give them a pain reliever and squirt a few drops of garlic oil into the ear. By morning they are back to normal.

    1. @Nancy, Thanks so much for this information! Did you just have your son drink the juice w/ the thyme and fenugreek? I am loving all the remedies in the comments! I hope and pray I don’t have to use them, but I am thankful to know of other ways to heal!

  9. My nephew had the same history of ear infections…had many antibiotics until finding a chiropractor who treated with natural methods. One allergen that is common for ear problems is dairy, and it goes through breast milk. The MOM has to cut out the dairy while nursing and then never introduce dairy to the child while weaning. (Rice and soy milk are good substitutions). Worth a shot. Worked wonders for my nephew.

    1. @Robin Clendenin, Thanks so much for this information! After reading through the comments, I am starting to wonder if perhaps at least some of her infections were the first symptoms of a dairy allergy. Her doc and chiro thought they were viral because she had just had RSV and had no other symptoms to an allergen, but I have noticed some other signs more recently (red cheeks and messy diapers when I consume too much dairy).

  10. My kids haven’t had a lot of ear infections, but there have been a few. A friend of mine who has had terrible problems in the past herself told me about something she found that works every time – Grapefruit seed extract in tea tree oil. Nutribiotic actually makes them, called ‘Ear Drops’ and I can purchase it at my local health food store. My 13 year old daughter came to me about 5 days ago, saying she had some pain in her ear, so we started the drops, 2 in the morning, 2 before bed. 2 days later the other ear started showing the same symptoms, so we did that ear as well, and now she’s fine! Works every time!

  11. My husband recently had fluid behind his ear drum (probably from swimming). He went to the doctor and they were no help, recommended decongestants, and told him he has allergies (he does not think so). His ear didn’t improve. So I researched and found you can mix 50/50 rubbing alcohol and water and warm slightly, fill the ear canal and keep it there for 15 minutes or so (laying down) it only took two treatments and his ear was completely better! Laying on a heating pad or heating dry rice and putting in plastic bag and wrapped in a towl also helps the pain. If ear problems are due to wax problems you can put drops of garlic infused olive oil in each ear at night.

    1. @Vera, Thanks for the great tip! I feel like many doctors just jump to the medicine route. I wish it weren’t so–but I guess that is how they were trained. :/

    2. We have always put a squirt of rubbing alcohol in each ear after swimming as a prevention for swimmer’s ear. You can use a dropper or just saturate a cotton ball and sqeeze it into the ear. Leave for a few seconds, then let the alcohol drain onto a tissue. The alcohol draws out any water that may have gotten into the ear. HTH!

  12. Erin, this is truly a wonderful post! So grateful for your humility. Saving this for future reference!!

  13. Erin, what a fabulous post and very informative. I’m printing it to keep on hand at all times.
    I have ordered some garlic oil through my co-op this month and I’ll get some colloidal silver next month. It’s always good to be prepared.
    Thanks for helping a Planning Mama be prepared. 🙂

  14. Great post Erin! I’m surprised your chiropractor suggested tubes but there really must have been no other way, I’m sure that was humbling for the DC as well! I know that would be for my hubby! And I know it was humbling for you!

    Great to know all of the other holistic ways and the Charcoal suggested by @Debbie in the above comments that can help!

    1. @Rachel @ day2day joys, Thank you for the encouragement, friend! I know–she said she never normally suggests that! I think they were concerned that the “glue” was drained. She helped me weigh all the pros and cons. She said the biggest con was the anesthesia would possibly lower her immune system for 6 months. For that reason, we had the surgery in June. We tried to remedy it for many months with all of the above. Her chiro was so great to just check her ears, etc. anytime we needed it. When the ears wouldn’t drain, she was the first one to figure out it was “glue.” I think it was humbling for her because her whole job centers around holistic healing. We are thankful for her and those like her (aka your hubby!).

      I’ve gotten several great tips from the comments! KOTH is such a wonderful community to learn from!

  15. I loved this Erin. It’s so informative and so humbling all in one!

    I haven’t had to deal with any ear infections (or really any sickness) with my 14 month old son yet, and it can be easy to feel pride and take credit that my “natural ways” have saved him from being sick. I believe that feeling pride over something like this is very dangerous, and I honestly didn’t even see my pride until I read your article! So thank you for helping me to realize my wrong feelings. God truly is in control of these things!

    I’m saving this article for the future too. It really is a great resource of natural remedies for ear infections! Thanks 🙂

    1. @Mindy @ The Purposed Heart, Thanks for the sweet comments, friend! I’m so glad the post encouraged you. Pride has that way of creeping in–at least for me it does! It took going through this for me to fully see it. Humbling situations are not always fun, but God surely uses them to refine us!

  16. So I must say, when I saw the topic of today’s post I thought…”My daughters have never had ear infections…not relevant….moving on.” But I clicked on the link to take a quick look. I just realized I read the whole article and LEARNED something important. Don’t you love it when that happens??

    Though my daughters have never had an ear infection, I do believe as a mother it is my duty to be as knowledgable and prepared as I can be to fight, comfort, cure, heal what ailes them. In the end, should ear infections strike, I will be armed and “dangerous” thanks to this post!

    Also, thanks for your humility. I recognize a THIN line between natural and necessary. Sometimes I avoid it and sometimes I cling to the necessary. You made a good decision!

    1. @Nikki @ Christian Mommy Blogger, Thanks for the sweet comments, friend! I think I would have felt the same way before last winter. It seems the posts I always skim over somehow end up being the ones I needed to read! LOL I hope you don’t end up needing this info, though–but maybe you can pass it on to a friend!!

  17. My son had many colds which lead to both sinus and ear infections last year (he was 2 years old). After trying natural remedies and the fighting with our Doctor I took him to see an ENT who wanted to surgically remove his adenoid and put tubes in his ears. He had an infected adenoid, which normally (according to the ENT) do not clear up. It was SO infected that the swelling and mucus was blocking his ear canal. The pressure was causing hearing loss. She told us to flush his nose out twice a day and use a steroid spray for 8 weeks and then come back to see if there were any improvements. We did this faithfully… not fun with a 2 year old… We thought that temporary use of a steroid was better than surgery. About a week later I was in my favorite health food store to see if there was anything else I could try. The thought of my little 2 year old being put under for a surgery was causing loss of sleep on my part. The owner saw me and my son (again) and came over to get my story. I told him what was going on. He then muscle tested him for food allergies. I had him tested 3 times for allergies (2 blood tests and skin pricks) and each time they came back with nothing. The muscle testing revealed that he was allergic to wheat (which he was blood tested for with no results). We took him off wheat and after 1 week his sinuses cleared up and he was completely better. We stopped the steroid spray, but continued the nasal flushes as he needed them. We went back to the ENT and she was shocked at his improvement. We told her it was a wheat allergy and that the only thing we did was remove wheat. I don’t know how much she believed me, but at least she didn’t dismiss it all together.

    I was just amazed that a wheat allergy gave my son the symptoms of a cold. I thought wheat would cause digestive issues and/or rashes, but for each person it will show up differently. So, if your child is getting sick a lot it might be a food allergy.

    1. @waggie, Wow–what a great story to share! I am totally on board with what you are saying. In fact, after reading all these comments, I am starting to think my baby’s infections were not *only* viral (although she had had RSV) but perhaps the first sign of a dairy allergy. She has started to show other signs, and I am keeping a close watch on her! My older daughter was recently diagnosed w/ several food sensitivities–wheat, egg, dairy…and a bunch others. Thanks for sharing your story!

    1. @Caiti Marie, I honestly don’t know. I am in no way a medical expert. I believe you must take a massive amount of it in order for that to happen. I trust my doctor and chiropractor, and both were totally on board with this. I would consult your trusted medical professional.

  18. This is almost my experience with my oldest EXACTLY! Right down to the part where you perfer natural methods, but conventional ones definitely have their place. My 6 year old has actually had two sets of tubes, both times because natural remedies weren’t enough, he got glue ear, and the tubes worked like a charm. I now have him on GAPS to see if we can address the underlying problem with his tendency for ear infections.

    Ironically, my younger son who was born with a cleft lip hasn’t had ANY infections, and the percentage of cleft kids that get them chronically is really high!

    1. @Kendahl @ Our Nourishing Roots, Thank you for sharing your story! After reading these comments, I am starting to wonder if her ear infections were not *only* viral. She had had RSV, but I have recently noticed some other symptoms that have led me to believe she may have a dairy sensitivity. I am wondering if the ear infections were the very first sign? We found out about 8 weeks ago that her older sister is sensitive to egg, wheat, dairy and several other foods. I have been researching GAPS some and would like to do it, but I am a little uncertain if our family can afford it right now. The Nourishing Gourmet is running a series on GAPS right now! This is all so new to me because I have no known allergies. My hubby has a tree nut allergy. Thanks again for sharing!!

  19. Thankfully, my kids have never really had ear infections (one, a very mild one once that didn’t need to be treated), but I’m hanging on to this for future reference! And thanks for sharing honestly! It’s so hard to know these days about what to do/what not to do/what kind of treatment to seek. I think you made excellent choices!

  20. I was one of those breast feeding nazis. Right up until I had children myself and was absolutely unable to breastfeed, any of them. I went through various stages of guilt about it, and told myself I would just end up being one of those Mom’s whose kids were always sick, you know, you see them at the park with their constantly dripping noses… (the kids, not the Mom’s!!) My whole idea of “good natural mothering” was shattered. But, my kids are hardly ever sick. I have three children under age four and so far, only one ear infection, and no one has been on antibiotics…. yet. The ear infection was caught early and treated with homemade garlic oil immediately. It was gone the next day. So, yay for garlic oil, and for realizing that “good natural mothering” is more than just breastfeeding, or not vaccinating, or raw milk only. Sometimes breastfeeding doesn’t work. Sometimes your husband’s overseas job requires regular immunizations for the kids, and sometimes raw milk is a prohibitive $18 a gallon. It’s a combination of keeping yourself informed and doing the best you are able. God is bigger than all these things.

    1. @Katja Paul, Thanks for this encouraging comment!!! I agree 100%! I am sorry you were unable to breastfeed, but it sounds like you have a testimony to share about it now. One of my best friends was in the same situation. Our older daughter has more immunizations than our baby–and it is simply because we were with a missions agency at the time that required them. Trusting in God’s sovereignty brings much peace!

  21. For the past year or so I have put a drop or 2 of peroxide in the affected ear 2x day. That has helped tremendously. I, in fact, had an ear ache last night and after the peroxide it is completely gone this morning! It has worked well for our family. Occasionally I have also used colloidal silver, but the peroxide seems to be the most effective. The garlic oil didn’t help unfortunately. 🙁

  22. Im so glad to see you included chiropractic care, since starting regular chiropractic treatments we have had no more infections in our three children! Its amazing how quickly it works when they start feeling a little sick, one adjustment helps right away, I tell everyone about it but most people think it sounds crazy. Great post!

    1. @Rachel, I love the girls’ chiropractor! She even specializes in pre-natal and pediatric chiropractic care. My baby also had croup last winter (It was the first time I had heard of croup since Anne of Green Gables!), and she used this laser thing to really help her get over it quickly.

  23. I’ve had good results from grapefruit seed extract. I mix a few drops in a small amount of plain water and put a few drops of this solution in the ear. One application usually relieves the pain, and I do a few more applications (if I can remember!).

  24. Great, balanced post. We’ve had some children (all breast fed for over a year) with ear infection issues solved “naturally”…and some with NO ear infection issues…and some with ear infection issues where “natural” didn’t help and we needed to turn to medicine. I think it is wise to try natural remedies first…and then be willing to allow God to direct us toward other help if that is necessary. In my early years of mothering I made a lot of mistakes (with bad consequences) in my stubborn insistence on going “natural”. I had to learn the hard way that balance is always a good thing, and conventional medicine is not always the boogy man the internet makes it out to be. ; )

    1. @Natalie, Thanks for your widsom! I love learning from more experienced moms who have done this over and over! Sometimes I feel bad for my firstborn because I feel like I’ve learned so much since she was born–mistakes I made with her that i don’t want to make again!

      I love this sentence: conventional medicine is not always the boogy man the internet makes it out to be. ; )

  25. We LOVE natural remedies for ear infections! They work soooooo much better and faster than antibiotics. We can get rid of the pain immediately and clear the infection within 12 hours. 🙂 Yay for God’s natural medicine.

    We love to heat an onion and hold it to the child’s ear if they are in a lot of pain and we also add 1-3 drops lavender and 1 drop each of lavender and melaleuca essential oil right behind or in front of the ear. Check out my blog post on our experience: http://www.familyhealthnaturally.com/2011/08/all-natural-ear-infection-treatments.html

    We’ve used the EO method the most and it ALWAYS works quickly and effectively. And just to be clear we use it when we suspect an ear infection, but mostly when we have a doctor diagnosed infection, because I rarely consider that the kids could be suffering from one (I don’t know why, but it’s just never on my radar).

  26. I also prided myself on my son never having an ear infection until 2yrs old. Then some allergies and drainage seemed to cause on to come up. I used antibiotics because I didn’t know of other ways to cure them. But when it looked like he was getting another infection I’d read about using Lavender oil in the ear. We put a few drops on a cotton ball and inserted it in his ear for the night and by morning he didn’t complain a bit about it hurting.

  27. I have 3 children ages 6-9+11. We have not had many ear infections. I have used on multiple occasions, at their first complaint of ear pain, very finely grated ginger and/or the juice squeezed from the ginger mixed with a small amt. of good quality oil such as olive or sesame. A few drops in the ear , and it has worked every time. Ginger is reputed to be anti viral/ anti bacterial….

  28. We swear by wiping apple cider vinegar (the raw stuff with the cloudy bit still floating in it) around the inside of the ear- the vapours do wonders for pain relief and clearing up the infection! A good friend of my Mum’s makes onion juice and squirts that in- a powerful anti-bactieral! And some friends who own a health food store say olive leaf extract helps deal with the issues that cause them 🙂

  29. Thank you for a very well-written post! We haven’t had many ear infections in general (with 3 kids), but then last winter my youngest had 2 or 3, and my middle son had a ruptured ear drum! A friend told us that her pediatrician suggested having a child with ear pain blow up and balloon, then deflate it, then blow it up again, etc. We tried it with my oldest son (age 7 at the time), and it really seemed to help! Something about the pressure helps to drain the ears.

  30. Enjoyed reading all the various tips to keep in mind if and when the ear infections strike! Will definitely give some a try. My husband is a dr and says that ear infections (viral ones) and pink eye are treated with antibiotics more for the sake of the parents. Imagine yourself as the dr telling a parent who wants meds and the ear ache to go away that you will not prescribe them. It’s not always “just the way they were trained.” We are blessed to be able to choose different drs to go to if we’re not pleased by the pushiness or non-listening ear of one. (Sorry….we actually do some natural remedies too, but I tire of hearing naturalists bash the medical field, while they only see one side.) Studies have shown that meds may make them disappear 24-48 hrs sooner, but the viral ones will run their course. Kuddos to you for giving in to the tubes. I appreciate your honesty.
    And for one more side note, to those of you who use chiropractic care on little ones, please be so careful who you go to. We aren’t against chiropractors either, but my husband has worked on 3 individuals in the past 4 years who suffered paralysis due to chiropractors messing with necks the wrong way. As a mom, that makes me cringe and do my research all the more carefully.

    1. oh really, “3 individuals in the past 4 years who suffered paralysis due to chiropractors messing with necks the wrong way.” BS. i have been a family chiropractor for 17 years, performing approximately 50,000 adjustments. i would never enter a profession where such a wonderful, non-invasive treatment could cause such harm. i have never heard of paralysis from chiropractic and neither have any of these readers because it doesn’t happen. if paralysis was a possibility then chiropractic would not have survived. the only place where this rhetoric comes from is the medical community ( or their spouses ). and you wonder why the holistic community is defensive to medecine and the unbalance of power. information is power. the scare tactics by the medical community is less and less effective.

  31. I really enjoyed your post. It’s wonderful to work with a great doctor and chiropractor that help you along the way. It is fantastic that you found out about the glue ear so soon. A friend’s child and my sis-in-law found out about their kids’ glue ear when their kids were almost 3. They discovered it because of speech delays. Both boys had many ear infections. The only treatment? Load on the antibiotics (without trying to find the cause). My SIL expressed concern to her pediatrician about her son’s speech delays, and he just shrugged them off. She sought out an ENT, and he found the glue ear. He’s undergone about 10 months of speech therapy and is now showing signs of improving.

    The natural remedies allow for a process of elimination. Whereas, most modern doctors will just treat the symptoms. I am so encouraged to find out about all these natural remedies! While my boys have had very few infections, I know we will have more children. And this information and process will be invaluable.

    1. @Kristy @ Almost On Purpose, Thank you so much for this encouragement! I hate what happened to your friends, but I am so thankful we were able to catch the glue ear early. I really hope the little boy will start doing better soon! I think seeing her fail the hearing test (as I was holding her) is one thing that really did it for me. She has been slower to talk than my older daughter as well, and I can’t imagine if the glue has stayed lodged longer.

      I hope you don’t have to use these remedies, but I am so glad to share–and the comments in this post are chock full of even more remedies!!

  32. Great article. Our first had several ear infections, and it was certainly difficult to figure out how to heal naturally. Fortunately, our other three haven’t seemed to have any ear problems, but I know how awful it can be to have a little one in pain and not to be able to treat it. One thing that has also helped us in the past is hydrogen peroxide in the ears before an infection or at first sign.
    On an unrelated note, I had one of those tough lessons in humility with our third child. I was a natural birthing, 25-hours of labor can’t phase me, type mom who was very anti-c-section… until I had full placenta previa and had to have a c-section. A tough lesson for sure, but also definitely helped me have much more respect (and sympathy) for women who have to have c-sections!)

  33. Can colloidal silver be used in young toddlers for an ear infection? (14 months). I was advised by my midwife while pregnant not to use silver even for my ears as it could result in harm to the fetus so now I’m not sure at what age it is safe to start using on my son.


  34. Nice post — it is nice to know you tried everything, but still found reasoning to use a conventional method. I struggle with that as my husband is always wanting to go straight to conventional and i was to stay clear as much as i can.

  35. I have put a small piece of heated up onion with a rice pack over my 2 year olds ear. Within the hour he said it didnt hurt anymore.

  36. When my son (now 20) was 3-weeks old he got his first ear infection, both ears. He was on continual antibiotics until we had tubes put in at 6 months. I believe he has some affects of the antibiotics still. I now have a grandson (10 months) who had an ear infection a while back. My daughter is choosing holistic medicine. A friend told us about activated charcoal for ear infection. You make the charcoal into a watery paste, and place a couple of drops in the affected ear. Can’t wait to see the results with the next ear infection should it arise.

  37. When I was child and active swimmer, we’d put Rubbing Alcohol in our ears to get trapped water out. Now an adult, I wear ear plugs to sleep and sometimes I wake up with an aweful stabbing pain in my ear. I put a few drops of rubbing alcohol in my ear and 15 minutes later my ear is completely normal. When my kids complain of any ear pain (treatment was cleared by my pediatrictian) I do the same treatment. Best of all, the treatment does not hurt.

  38. Thank-you for the tips on ear infections.
    My 6month old son was put on an antibiotic for 10days ..I gave it ton him for 3 days and just didn’t fee right giving it t him..especially with the thery link to autism.
    So I’m giving him garic oil capsules a drop in both ear twice a day.

    Pray for him please.

  39. Very nice post. As a Chiropractor, I am often asked about this topic. I often suggest what you have touched on here in addition to the pediatric adjustments (which are different than the adult adjustments…to ease any concerns noted above.) One thing I might suggest is to add a note to the garlic ear oil suggestion. The tympanic membrane should always be evaluated prior to putting oil (of any kind) into the ear. It is possible for the tympanic membrane to rupture during an acute infection and using oil in this case would be contraindicated.

  40. Thank you for your article. My little guy has had chronic trouble with ear infections since he was a baby. Already had tubes in once when he was two. They fell out by age three. Looks like he may need them again. I appreciate your research as he has his third ear infection in three months and I hate to keep giving him antibiotics. Blessings to you and your family

  41. We have become more and more interested in natural remedies ever since my wife, Annie, broke her back from a 14′ fall seven years ago. She suffers from chronic pain, for which her pain management doctor treats with many drugs. After 3 years of taking poisons that only treat the symptoms we began exploring alternative solutions. We found a supplement that, after only 9 weeks, allowed her to eliminate taking several medications her doctor said she needed. Tramodol, Cymbolta, Prestiq, Lunesta, and laxitives as well as reduced her methodone and hydrocodon by 40%. Her doctor refuses to accept that natural supplements did this for her. We learned that medical doctors know nothing about nutrition or alternative solutions, thus cannot comment on them. They have sold out to a corrupt system that includes the pharaceutical, medical, judicial and government world.
    We googled all the ingredients in the supplement she was taking and found those that specifically dealt with issues she suffered from and found that we could grow our own herbs and such that will allow us to freely use God’s gifts to help her body heal itself. It just takes a little research and a bit of labor. All of which He said we should do.
    The iformation you have provided here is invaluable. I especially liked reading and taking from others comments.

  42. Does anyone know about how long ear infections last? Or rather, when I should be worried? My 7yo has had an ear infection for about 7 days. It took me a couple days to figure it out but we have been doing garlic oil for about 4 or 5 days. Her fever is up and. Down along with her pain.

  43. Great article, thank you! I am a big proponent of natural remedies and after research, have been using Wally’s Ear Oil for my daughters. From October through March, 1 drop of warm oil in each ear, has reduced our infections to maybe one per cold season. Hope this suggestion helps others.

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