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Effective Home Remedies for Earaches

Lois has over ten years' experience in the home/herbal remedy field. She seeks to inform her readers and help them save money.

Most earaches either occur in the outer, middle, or inner ear or in the Eustachian tube when it is blocked. This tube, which connects the middle ear to the throat, normally opens and closes to equalize the air pressure on the ear drum and allows fluids to pass through the ear canal. When it becomes blocked, there is too much pressure in the ear, causing pain in the ear.

More common in children than adults, earaches can be uncomfortable, ranging from slight discomfort to throbbing pain. There are a number of potential causes of ear pain. Water in your ear after taking a shower or swimming, too much earwax buildup, improperly using cotton swabs, being exposed to loud noises, air pressure changes, being in a different altitude, injury or infection are all potential culprits. As you can see, there are many different causes of earaches and infections. Fortunately, natural remedies abound.

Applying heat, such as these hand warmers, brings relief to earaches.

Applying heat, such as these hand warmers, brings relief to earaches.

Heat and Earaches

Heat works very well when it comes to earache pain. You may have heard of a parent blowing smoke into a child's ear to relieve earache pain. It is actually the warm air and not the smoke that eases the pain. You do not have to resort to something unhealthy to take care of an ear infection. All you need is a blow dryer.

There is a soft spot behind your earlobe and between the jawbone and cranium. When you apply heat to it, your blood vessels expand which increases blood flow. If your earache is due to wax build up, applying the heat there helps soften the wax in your ears. Try the following method to increase blood flow with a dryer:

  • Using the lowest setting on the dryer, run it back and forth over that soft spot for a few minutes.
  • Blow the air directly into the ear.
  • Make sure you keep the dryer 12 inches away from the opening of the ear.

Another heating method is using a heating pad:

  • Lie down on your side with your aching ear against the pad for up to fifteen minutes.
  • If you do not have a pad, you can fill a bottle with hot water and cover the bottle with a rag.
  • You can also take a washcloth and moisten it with hot water.

Gargle With Salt and Water

Making a gargle with warm water and a quarter of a teaspoon of salt is an excellent remedy for an earache. Usually, your doctor may recommend you do this when you have a sore throat. The reason why this works for an earache as well is the heat from the gargle helps increase the blood flow to the Eustachian Tubes and the salt is an excellent pain soother.

Garlic and Onions

One of the most powerful herbs in this world is garlic. It contains anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. True it might not smell pleasant to you, but with these properties, this herb is a cheap and effective medicine to alleviate and prevent earaches.

Garlic Oil

You can purchase garlic oil at your local grocery or health food store. You can even make it at home by extracting it from a clove of garlic.

  • Warm the oil up under hot water.
  • After testing the oil to make sure it is not too hot, place a few drops into your ear canal. Keep your head tilted to one side for 2-3 minutes.
  • If necessary, repeat this for the other ear. If you do not have the oil on hand, you can insert a clove into the ear. However, make sure it is big enough where it will not get caught in the ear canal.

Garlic oil is easily absorbed into the skin. Therefore, you do not have to place a clove into the ear canal to remedy the infection. Fry a couple cloves with olive oil in the frying pan. Allow the cloves to cool down and spread it behind and around the ear. If there is pain along the Eustachian tube, spread this oil along this area as well. Do this two to three times a day until the pain disappears.

Garlic Tea

If you want to help your child’s earache pass, they may not like the strong taste of garlic and the oil might sting too much. You can make a milder version by brewing this herb as a tea.

  • Fill a cup with hot water.
  • Take two clothes of garlic and put it in a cup (make sure not to break the cloves or cut them).
  • Allow the tea to cool down until it is warm-five to ten minutes and then have the child drink the tea.
  • The tea will have a mild flavor and the healing properties of this herb will help the infection from spreading.

Onion Juice

Onions contain the same pain and infection-fighting properties that are found in garlic.

  • Put an onion with its skin still on in a pot of water and cook it for a minute at a time until it becomes softened.
  • Cut the onion and crush it until you get some onion juice.
  • Allow the juice to become warm and put several drops in your ear.
Garlic contains infection fighting properties and is effective against earaches.

Garlic contains infection fighting properties and is effective against earaches.

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Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar also contains infection-fighting properties. Mix equal parts of vinegar and water. Tilt your head to the side. Place 3-4 drops of this mixture in your ear. Keep your head tilted for 2-3 minutes. Tilt your head to the other side to allow it to drain. You can also use 3-4 drops of hydrogen peroxide. This also helps soften ear wax and helps reduce water buildup if you are suffering from Swimmer's Ear.

Earache Fighting Oils

If your earache is due to excess wax buildup or water in your ear, warm up some olive oil. Tilt your head to the side, and put several drops in the ear. While you are doing this, pull down on your earlobe to make sure the oil goes in your ear canal.

Other oils to include for earaches are:

  • Almond Oil
  • Baby Oil
  • Chamomile Essential Oil
  • Clove Oil
  • Grape Seed Oil
  • Lavender Essential Oil
  • Linseed Oil
  • Peppermint Essential Oil
  • Sesame Oil
  • Tea Tree Essential Oil

Note: Essential Oils are not to be taken eternally. If you use these oils to alleviate earaches, make sure you dilute them with carrier oils such as almond or olive oil.

Collodial Silver and a Natural Antibiotic

Colloidal silver, which can be purchased at most health food stores, is "a colloid consisting of silver particles suspended in liquid" (Wikipedia). This natural antibiotic has been used for years as a home remedy for earaches. When you start to feel an earache coming, put one to two small drops into your ear. When the symptoms disappear, continue this for two to three days. There are many other health benefits to taking colloidal silver. However, make sure you follow the recommended daily dosage since it can cause a blue-gray discoloration of the skin if you take more than the recommended dosage.

Food Allergies and Intolerance Might Be Triggering Those Earaches

It is important to find out the root cause of your earache. It might not even be an infection in your ear but something else. For example, you might be having a toothache. Sometimes the pain can be so great that it radiates up into your ear.

You might have a food allergy that you are unaware of. The most common foods that cause allergic reactions include:

  • Dairy Products
  • Peanuts
  • Shellfish
  • Sugar
  • Wheat
  • Yeast

If you notice that you suffer earaches after eating any of these foods, you may be allergic or be intolerant to them. It is best to talk to your doctor for further advice.

Foods that are classified as simple carbohydrates may aggravate these food allergies. It is best to leave food such as sugar, carbonated soft drinks and chocolate from your daily diet. Replace this junk food with foods that are rich in Vitamins C and E, Zinc and beta-carotene.

A Weakened Immune System is Another Root Cause

A weakened immune system is a major cause of earaches. You need enough vitamin C in your daily diet to help fight infections. While you can get this by eating citrus fruits and vegetables, you can also take it as a supplement. Nature Made is an excellent brand. They come in chewable tablets. All you need to do is take one 500 milligram tablet a day and you will get over 800% of your Recommended Daily Allowance of Vitamin C.

Echinacea contains infection-fighting and antiviral properties. You can purchase tinctures at your health food store and put a dropfull of the liquid into your ear. You can also purchase this herb as a tea and brew it in a cup of hot water. Allow the tea to cool down until it is luke warm before using. Do this up to three times a day. If you are solving your child’s earache, talk to his pediatrician. It is normally recommended not to dose infants with Echinacea until they are over a year old. When using this herb to help earaches, your body builds a tolerance to it. Therefore, it is recommended to stop using it for a couple of weeks if you use it continually for two weeks.

Many oils, such as this clove oil, have infection fighting properties

Many oils, such as this clove oil, have infection fighting properties

Preventing Earaches

The best home remedy for earaches is prevention. The number one rule of thumb is not to put any foreign objects in your ear to clean them. This means Q-Tips as well. Doing this can cause damage to your ear canal and, if your already have an earache, may even worsen the condition. If you are going to fly on an airplane or drive through higher elevations, chew some gum. This alleviates the pressure build-up that can come with higher altitudes.

When you sleep, keep your head elevated by a pillow. This helps prevent fluid from building up in your Eustachian tubes.

The “Old Wives’ Tale” of blowing smoke in the ear to get rid of an earache is just a myth. As a matter of fact, cigarette smoke is one of the major causes of earache. If you have to smoke, take it outside.

Your ears are very sensitive, especially in cold weather. If you need to venture outdoors in sub-zero weather, keep your ears covered with a hat, scarf or earmuffs.

While these remedies are very effective in getting rid of earache pain, you must call your doctor if the pain does not go away or if it keeps coming back. You may need antibiotics to get rid of an infection. The pain can be the result of something else such as Strep Throat.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2019 Lois Ryan

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