Herbal Recipes

How to use Garlic Mullein Ear Oil for Earaches

Amber Shehan December 18, 2017

There are many guides that explain how to use ear oil, but I noticed that none of them included one of the most important parts: encouraging nurturing touch and creating a soothing environment.


For some reason, ear infections seem to be a common childhood complaint. If you begin to recognize the symptoms of an ear infection very early, you can head it off with this remedy and avoid regular antibiotics as are often prescribed by doctors.

Please note that this is not a good remedy to use for “Swimmer’s Ear” or any water or objects trapped in the ear. Do not use this remedy if the eardrum is perforated or injured. If the ear infection continues, please seek professional assistance from a trusted herbalist or doctor, especially if there is a high fever.

Olive oil infused with garlic and mullein flowers is a traditional herbal healer for ear infections. The Herbal Academy has a guide to making your own garlic ear oil if you want to give it a try.

There are many guides that explain how to use ear oil, but I noticed that none of them included one of the most important parts: encouraging nurturing touch and creating a soothing environment.

Let’s be honest here – putting oil or liquid in our ears can be an unpleasant experience, and it is even worse for small children who are already feeling sick and grumpy! I will also readily admit that when I have an earache, I might as well be a sick and grumpy small child. Ear pain is no joke!

100% Organic with High Mowing Organic Seeds

How to use Garlic Mullein Ear Oil for ear infections:

Warm the Oil

Set the bottle of ear oil into a cup of warm water for a few minutes, or hold it in your hands for a while. You don’t want the oil to be hot, just warm enough to help it flow and to feel more comfortable as it enters the ear canal. Body temperature is the ideal we’re reaching for.

Get Comfy & Gather Supplies

Get your patient to lie down on their side with the painful ear facing up. Make the space cozy. Use a pillow to elevate their head a bit and wrap them in a blanket if they are chilled. If you have a young or particularly fussy patient, grab their favorite stuffed animal or get out a diversion because you are going to need to keep them still for a few minutes. Get everything you might want in the next ten minutes together and within arm’s reach.

  • cup or bowl of warm water and a bottle of oil
  • washcloth

Applying the Oil

Test the oil temperature by putting a drop on your inner arm, similar to how people test warmed milk for babies. If it is hot, wait a moment for it to cool. If it is cold, let it warm up. When you can’t really feel it much at all, it matches your body temperature and it is ready!

Use the dropper to release a drop or two of oil into the ear but try not to let the dropper touch the inner ear. Put 1-2 drops in for children under 8, and 3-4 drops for everyone else. You aren’t trying to fill the whole ear, just coat it with the oil! Return the dropper to the bottle and set it aside or put it back in the water if you are planning to apply some to the other ear next.

While your patient remains on their side, gently massage around their ear to encourage the oil to drain down and coat all of the inner ear canal. The massage also helps to relax the surrounding muscles that are inflamed, increases fresh blood flow to the area to boost the healing response, and is also just plain soothing and comforting to have a nurturing touch when you feel bad!

Remember – it can be very odd and uncomfortable to have something in your ear, especially when it is already a sore spot. The oil sometimes makes funny noises as it drips and drains. Your patience and gentle touch can go a long way to reassuring a fussy patient.

Have the patient lay there for as long as you can, ideally around five to ten minutes to let the garlic and mullein ear oil work its magic. Keep a warm washcloth handy for when your patient sits back up or add a bit of cotton as sometimes a dribble of oil will come out of the ear once they are vertical.

Switching Ears

If you need to treat both ears, have your patient lie back down after a few minutes with the other ear facing up. Place a towel or cloth under the oiled ear so that you don’t stain the surface they are laying on. Repeat the process.

Repeat this process 2x times per day until the ear infection goes away. If it takes more than a day or two, or if the patient gets a fever or other issues begin, a visit to your family doctor is encouraged.

To keep the ear infection from causing other issues as it drains away, you can support the immune system of the patient with servings of hot miso or chicken soup, warm tea with honey, and if the throat starts to feel itchy, encourage gargling with warm saltwater.

Why does garlic mullein ear oil work?

Garlic is one of the most common spices used around the world, considered a staple of the diet in many places, and it is also known as a potent herbal medicine, too. Garlic is a food that is mineral-rich. It is a good source of antioxidants, vitamin B-6, vitamin C, manganese, and selenium. It has well-documented antibiotic and antiviral properties and also helps to boost the immune system. It is also an anti-inflammatory and helps with heart health, blood pressure, and cholesterol.

Mullein is a wonderful healer. It is often used externally for its anti-inflammatory effects. The flowers are mucilaginous, and especially when used as an oil in the ear, can help boost circulation and soften impacted ear wax.

Mullein Leaves/Flowers – Verbascum thapsus by Spirea Herbs

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Amber Shehan

Hi! I'm Amber Pixie, and this is my site. Enjoy the recipes, information, posts, and please feel free to message me if you have questions!


  1. Cathy on December 7, 2020 at 10:32 am

    Is it safe to use mullein ear oil with children who have tubes in their ears?

  2. S.Edwards on April 7, 2021 at 3:50 am

    Help! I put a dropper full in both ears, at first it was soothing, I put cotton balls in for 15 minutes then removed them to let the rest of the oil drain. A few hours later I woke up out of my sleep with ear pain again. I still feel like there’s fluid in my ears 😣. Any suggestions?

  3. Amber on September 11, 2021 at 5:35 pm

    I actually love the feeling of the warm oil in my ears. Maybe I am a weirdo.

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