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.
Olive oil infused with garlic and mullein flowers is is a traditional herbal healer for ear infections.
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.
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!
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 lay 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 bottle of oil
Applying the Oil
Test the oil temperature on your inner arm, similar to how people test warmed milk for babies. If it is warm but not too hot, it is ready!
Use the dropper to release 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 going to be applying more 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. The massage also helps to relax the muscles that are inflamed from the infection, increases fresh blood flow to the area to boost the healing response, and it 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 a gentle touch can go a long way to reassuring a fussy patient.
Have them lay there for at least 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, as sometimes a bit of oil will come out of the ear once they are vertical.
If you need to treat both ears, have your patient lay back down after a few minutes with the next 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 2-3 times per day until the ear infection goes away.
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 salt water.
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.
Sometimes I have spare garlic mullein ear oil in the shop:
Mullein Leaves/Flowers – Verbascum thapsus by Spirea Herbs