Essential Oils For Ear Infections
Ear infections can be incredibly painful and inconvenient! They are typically caused by a viral or bacterial infection in the middle ear. The infection can cause the middle ear to get inflamed and fill with fluids causing the pain.
Ear infections are more common in children, but adults can get them as well. In addition to ear pain, you may also experience a headache or difficulty hearing.
A doctor may prescribe antibiotics for an ear infection, but they often clear up on their own eventually. Essential oils can help to speed up this recovery process so you do not have to wait for the pain and discomfort to go away.
There are a variety of essential oils you can try to help get rid of your ear infection. These oils include tea tree oil, basil oil, oregano oil, eucalyptus oil, lavender oil, and several others. Many of these oils will need to be diluted with other carrier oils such as olive or almond oil prior to use for treating infections.
Essential Oils For Ear Infections
1. Tea Tree Essential Oil
One study from 2006 found that tea tree oil can be effective at killing bacteria. It may even be more effective than traditional antibacterial cleansers.(1)
Tea tree oil’s ability to fight off bacteria comes from a chemical compound known as terpinen-4-ol. It has actually been used to treat infections by indigenous cultures for thousands of years. It is important that you do not drink tea tree oil or ingest it internally in any way as it can be toxic to the human body.
How To Use:
- Be sure to first dilute the tea tree oil with one of the carrier oils listed above
- Dip a cotton ball into the diluted oil
- Take the cotton ball and place it over the ear canal for about a minute
- Do not shove the cotton ball into the ear canal as this can cause damage and pain to the ear
One of the good things about basil oil is that you only need to use a little bit to get the desired effect. A 2005 study on rats found that treating their ear canals with this essential oil helped heal more than half of the rats with an acute ear infection! It has anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties.(2)
How to Use:
- Combine 3-5 drops of basil oil with a carrier oil
- Dunk the cotton ball into the diluted oil
- Hold it over your ear canal and press gently
- Always remember not to push the cotton ball all the way into the ear canal!
Oregano oil, also known as Lippia graveolens, was shown to have virus fighting properties when tested in a 2011 study. Researchers believe these antiviral properties come from a chemical compound called carvacrol.
How to Use:
- Mix 5 drops of oregano oil with 1 teaspoon of a carrier oil
- You can place this mixture directly on the outer ear
- Try this once a day until symptoms improve
Eucalyptus can be particularly effective in treating ear infections because it can have a significant impact on the build up of fluid and resulting blockage that causes pain and discomfort. If the fluid drains from the ear, you will most likely feel relief from the pain. There are several ways you can apply eucalyptus oil to reap the benefits.
How to Use:
- Rub the eucalyptus oil on your throat, neck, and chest
- Inhale eucalyptus oil using an oil diffuser or steam inhalation machine
You can pick just one of these methods or try a combination over the course of a few days while you are still experiencing symptoms. You do not need to dilute the eucalyptus oil with a carrier oil since you will not be applying it directly to the ear canal or apply it internally in any way.
Rosemary oil works in a very similar way to eucalyptus oil. In fact, you can mix them together and use them both if you wish to do so. Rosemary oil, in particular, can reduce pain felt in the middle ear.
It can also help clear up the sinuses and relieve some throat discomfort that can accompany ear infections caused by bacteria. It is best to apply rosemary oil directly to the throat and chest area. It can be absorbed through the skin for the desired impact.
6. Garlic Essential Oil
Garlic oil might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you look for essential oils, but it can certainly be effective when treating ear infections and ear pain. It is possible to purchase garlic oil from the store but you can also make it at home.
Many of the pre-made garlic oil blends consist of a mixture that might also include Calendula, St. John’s Wort and Mullein flower. If you do choose to make it at home, it is important to filter it properly as garlic can be irritating to the skin. T
o make it yourself, combine a garlic clove with 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a small bowl. Set the bowl aside for approximately 4 hours to allow the garlic to seep into the olive oil. Strain the oil carefully to ensure the garlic is removed while the oil retains the healing properties. It is now ready for use! It is safe to use for both adults and children.
How to Use:
- Warm the oil so that it is not uncomfortable
- Pour 3 drops into the ear every 6 hours
These instructions can be used for homemade or purchased oils. If you are using a homemade oil, try to pour it from the bowl to a dropper prior to using. You can always add more olive oil if you find the blend to be too concentrated.
Essential oils can be a great way to treat ear infections without requiring a trip to the doctor or a prescription. They are safe to use for both children and adults. However, some people may find that certain oils irritate their skin.
You may want to test the oil of your choice on your skin before applying it to your ear to prevent any irritation. To test the essential, dilute it with a carrier and rub a small amount on your inner arm. If you do not see a reaction within 24 hours, the oils should be safe to use to treat your ear.
Soaking a cotton ball in diluted oil and applying it directly to the ear is often the best way to treat the pain as the oils can trickle into the ear canal slowly. It is important not to shove anything directly into the ear as this can worsen the infection.
If you choose to insert the oils into the ear using a dropper, it is important that the dropper is clean and empty. You should also ensure that the oils are not too hot so they do not burn the ear. Tilt your head so that the inflamed ear is facing upwards and then pour a few drops. Continue to stand there in that same position for a minute or two.
If any oil drips out of the ear, you can just wipe it away with a cloth. Make sure that the cloth is clean so you do not irritate the ear further. Do not pour too much oil in at once as this can cause the ear to become clogged and worsen the inflammation. If you do not feel relief right away, wait a few hours and then add another drop or two.
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