Garlic Ear Oil – A Natural Remedy for Ear Infections & Colds
I was given so many antibiotics as a teenager that I became immune to them. I had several chronic infections that I couldn’t seem to kick for longer than a month or two, and rather than digging deeper to find the root cause of my various issues (cystic acne, yeast infections, throat infections, boils), my doctor would just prescribe different antiobiotics. Higher doses.
Once I was even prescribed 10 days in a row of an antibiotic that is a single dose pill. Symptoms not clearing up? Here you go, take 10!!
Now you might be wondering why in the world I let this go on. Honestly, at the time, I didn’t know any better. I wasn’t yet educated on nutrition or holistic alternatives, and I trusted my doctor.
We ARE supposed to trust our doctors, aren’t we?!?
And I know I’m not alone.
Well lucky for me, just as my health was spinning wildly out of control, I was introduced to some friends who began teaching me about the power of food.
In a matter of months, my life did a 180….entirely because the food I put in my body did a 180.
I didn’t take another antibiotic for 13 years, until one of the several times I got mastitis while nursing, and knew I couldnt get through it on my own. I do know there is a time and place for antibiotics, and that they save lives. But I also know that doctors are all too quick to grab that pad of paper and slap on a band-aid, rather than taking the time to find out what’s really going on to cause our bodies to have these volatile responses.
So now as a mother, I have vowed to nourish my children to the best of my ability, with the most natural means I know or can figure out when needed. Because if we don’t get to the root cause, we end up in a vicious cycle of illness, and we get farther and farther away from healing.
I was reminded of this yet again, when my second son, Asher, started getting recurring ear infections around 6 months old. Despite my holistic knowledge, I lost my way. Ear infections were new to me. My older son never gets sick, knock on wood. So seeing my baby in such pain, and getting confirmation from the dotor that he had a double ear infection, antibiotics looked pretty darn appealing to me.
And they worked like magic. 24 hours and I could see the light!
Until the following month. And the month after. Then 3 weeks later. They just kept recurring every month. I was exhausted, and knew I was going down a rabbit hole with these antibiotics.
Looking back, having spent the past year devoted to healing Asher’s gut, I can’t help but wonder how much worse I made it with all the antibiotics. I know I can’t turn back time, but man, if I could…..
I would have fought my tired mommy brain that rationalized that the antibiotics were the way to go just so he’d be out of pain faster.
Especially because I DID know of another way. In the back of my mind, I remembered a lecture given by Ayurvedic expert, Dr. John Douillard, while I was studying at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. He talked about ear oil as a holistic remedy for infections, colds and flus. I remember Dr. Douillard talking about how he used ear oil preventatively through the winter for his 6 children, and I remember (at the time), thinking there was NO WAY I was going to put garlic oil in my ear!
I love to cook with garlic, and know that it is one of nature’s most powerful medicines. It has been used for centuries for its antibiotic, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties.
I have all too vivid memories of growing up and having our entire house reek of garlic, because my dad felt the first hint of a cold and was sucking on an entire clove to ward it off! It may have worked, but seriously, I couldn’t invite friends over for a week! 😉
So garlic in my ears? It was a stretch, let me tell you!
Another thing that held me back was all the posts I’d read that gave instructions on how to make the ear oil yourself, and in my exhausted state, that just wasn’t happening. So imagine my delight when I was talking with the guy at my Natural Grocers about holistic alternatives for ear infections, and there it was….Garlic Ear Oil for under $10!
And even though I’m no longer exhausted, I STILL buy my ear oil. A $10 bottle lasts me the entire winter season. Now of course, you may want to make your own, and there are plenty of awesome recipes to do so (including in the link to Aviva Romm’s post below). Perhaps I will at some point, but this is working and so much simpler, so I’ll stick with it for now.
The two brands I’ve used are Gaia Herbs and Enerhealth Botanicals. Currently we’re using Enerhealth, and the ear oil consists of fresh muellin flowers, fresh garlic, St. Johnswort flower and fresh Calendula flower in a base of olive oil and Vitamin E oil. Gaia Herbs is very similar.
At first, we just used the ear oil when Asher’s ear infections symptoms would start. We successfully resolved 3 ear infections with just the oil 2-3X/day!
Important Note: If there is any chance your child’s eardrum is ruptured or there is drainage from the ear, you DO NOT want to put anything liquid in their ears. Which means, that unless you have an otoscope, a trip to the pediatrician is still warranted even if you’re going to refuse the antiobiotics.
After our success with the ear infections, Dr. Douillard’s idea of using the oil preventatively starting to make a lot more sense. After all, at least for us, ear infections always began as colds. Lots of mucous built up in the nose, or draining from the eyes….it made sense to me that ears could get blocked up.
So this winter, we began using ear oil preventatively. We put the oil in both boys ears 1-3X/ week. We use the dropper in the bottle to squirt what we need into a shotglass, then heat it in some water on the stove. Obviously you want it to be warm, not hot, and we always test it on our hand first. Then we use a medicine dropper to get it into the kids ears, massaging it in, and trying to keep them on their side for as long as possible. It’s really easy! And the best news…no ear infections (I’m sure removing gluten and dairy helped there too). Asher has gotten a stuffy/ runny nose twice, and when they started, we bumped up the oil to daily, and both times he was all clear in 2-3 days.
My boys LOVE getting their eardrops. I’m not quite sure why because I personally think it feels really weird! But they fight over who gets to go first every time. They even remind us when several days have passed without it!
Obviously I’m not a doctor, nor am I making any claims, I’m just sharing our story. As I said, I have an arsenal of stay-healthy strategies, and plan to share them in the coming weeks here on my blog. So be sure to check back often.
And if you want to read the most comprehensive review of ear infections from an integrative medicine MD (and really awesome woman), Aviva Romm, then check out this 2 part series. Part 1 talks about prevention tips and Part 2 talks about knowing when to use natural remedies and when antiobiotics are necessary (because sometimes they are!).
Have you used garlic ear oil for ear infections or colds? If so, I’d love to hear your experience in the comments below!