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Natural Ear Infection Remedies

Updated: Nov 29, 2020

If your child is crying, tugging at or covering their ears or has a fever, it's possible they are developing an ear infection. Sadly, ear infections are very common in babies and children, these days. Five out of six children will have at least one ear infection by their third birthday. (1)

Seek immediate medical care if:

  • if a baby begins to pull or rub her ears

  • for any definite earache or any ear discharge in a child under seven years old

  • for anyone with severe earache, especially if it’s accompanied by fever or ear discharge

  • if there is tenderness or redness in the bony area behind the ear

  • if there is sudden, significant decrease in hearing with or without pain

The standard of care for ear infections in the US is antibiotics and/or pain relivers. If those don’t work and the infection returns again and again, tubes are often put in the ears to help with drainage. The problem with this approach is that it doesn't get to the root cause of these infections.

While the treatments can help with immediate symptoms, as the baby grows, if the root cause is not addressed, the symptoms or the irritation will move to a different part of the body and continue to cause issues. Recurring ear infections and fluid in the ears are often a clue to other underlying health issues.

Dr Nsouli found, in his study, that about 90% of kids with recurring ear infections or ear fluid had food allergies that, when removed from the child's diet, allowed for the ear infections to stop. The most common allergen was milk but soy, wheat and eggs were also identified. (2)

After confirming with your medical practitioner that it's safe to do so, there a few natural remedies you can try, to improve the discomfort and symptoms of ear infections. Your main goal in treating an ear infection is to get the infected fluid to drain from the ear.

General recommendations are to ensure your child gets rest and has plenty of liquids like water and tea (please avoid fruit juices, which are very high in sugar or milk). A heating pad, rice or salt pack or hot washcloth applied to the ear may help reduce pain.

1. Chiropractic Care: Chiropractors have adjusting methods that can help the ears drain better, potentially stopping the infection in its tracks.

2. Earache Oil:

  • Crush 1 large clove of garlic and place it in a small glass dish

  • Add 1 Tbsp of mullein leaves

  • Optional: add 1/8 tsp of whole goldenseal root

  • Cover everything with 1/4 cup olive oil and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes

  • Strain the oil through a piece of cloth to remove all garlic, leaves and root

  • While your child lays down, pour a few drops in the painful ear and tug gently on the lobe, to allow the liquid to get inside. Let sit for 5 to 30 minutes. Have child sit up to let the oil drain out (have them hold a tissue to avoid making a mess). Repeat with the other ear, if needed.

NOTE: don't use this treatment if the eardrum has ruptured (indicated by drainage or pus) or if your child has surgical tubes. Use caution in kids with asthma or cystic fibrosis. (3)

3. Tea Tree Oil is naturally anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal. One drop twice a day can help. You can mix with coconut oil or olive oil and rub on the outside of the ear for relief. 

4. Gentle Massage can help move the fluid out of the lymph nodes and out of the ears. Using only enough pressure to dent the skin, start your massage behind the ear where you feel your child’s bony prominence. Massage down the side of the neck and slightly in front of the neck with long, gentle strokes to help move fluid. If you feel a swollen area down the side of the neck, gently massage in tiny circles around that area.

5. Homeopathic Remedies Homeopathy is based on the theory that like cures like. A substance that might produce some of the same symptoms as the disease is highly diluted and used in a homeopathic preparation. (4) This means that you need to watch your child's symptoms closely and try to match the right remedy:


  • Earache beginning suddenly with intense pain, with few prior symptoms of a cold (no thick or colored nasal discharge) Confirmatory symptoms

  • Bright red outer ear, ear canal, or eardrum without pus formation

  • Accompanied by sudden high fever (see chapter 3)

  • Ear pain extending down into the neck, or accompanied by sore throat or facial pain.

Ferrum phos.

  • Early stages of earaches before pus has formed; symptoms similar to Belladonna but not as sudden or severe

  • Alternatively, give if Belladonna seems indicated but hasn’t helped.

Hepar sulph.

  • Sharp, severe earache

  • Earache accompanied by thick, colored discharge from nose or ears

  • Irritability Confirmatory symptoms

  • Chilliness and aversion to the cold or uncovering; desire for warmth

  • Earache worse in cold or open air or from cold applications better from warmth; worse at night


  • Mild disposition; craves affection and physical contact

  • Yellow to green thick discharge from the nose or ears Confirmatory symptoms

  • Ear pain worse at night and in a warm room.

  • Worse in general from warmth, wants fresh air

  • Little or no thirst


  • Extreme irritability; the child screams and cries angrily, doesn’t want to be touched or comforted, and may strike out

  • Severe ear pain Confirmatory symptoms

  • The child calms down when carried

  • Earaches during teething

  • Symptoms are worse when stooping or bending over and improved by warmth or being wrapped in warm covers

  • Clear nasal discharge, usually of watery consistency


  • Another common earache remedy after pus has formed in the middle ear Confirmatory symptoms

  • Earache worse from warmth and worse at night

  • Profuse, bad-smelling perspiration, head sweats

  • Increased salivation, bad breath, puffiness of the tongue

  • Symptoms are worse when stooping or bending over and improved by warmth or being wrapped in warm covers


  • Later stages of an earache

  • Physical weakness and tiredness

  • Chilliness, desire for warm covering Confirmatory symptoms

  • Mild and whimpering disposition but less interested in affection than the

  • Pulsatilla patient

  • Pain behind the ear in the region of the mastoid

  • Sweating about the head or on the hands or feet

6. Ginger or Lemon Balm Tea: These two teas can help open and drain the sinuses and will help fight infection. Serve as warm as possible, without burning.

  • Ginger tea: grate about 1 Tbsp of fresh ginger and steep in hot water for 3-5 minutes

  • Lemon Balm Tea: steep 1 tsp lemon balm in 1 cup of boiling water, for 5 to 10 minutes

And here are some things you can do to prevent the ear ache/infection from returning:

1. Avoid nursing or bottle feeding children when they are in a lying position as gravity may allow milk or juice to run into the eustachian tubes, encouraging infection.

2. Eliminate problem foods You can try an Elimination Diet for the mom, if the baby is still nursing, or for the child if they are no longer nursing. Go to our home page and sign up for our newsletter, in the pop up window, to get a free copy of the Elimination Diet Guide, for more info on it and a meal plan with recipes and shopping list.

You can also ask your doctor to perform an allergy AND sensitivity testing but this is a blood test and can be hard to watch your baby go through.

3. Heal the gut If your child has any food allergies/sensitivities it's crucial to find a holistic practitioner to work with, that will guide you through healing your child's gut so more serious issues don't surface later on.

4. Chiropractic Care can help as preventative, as well. The main goal of chiropractic is making the nervous system responsive enough to understand the problems and work effectively. This often results in decrease risk for many infections, not just ear infections.

4. Probiotics In a perfect world, moms would have great flora to pass onto their babies. But over the last century, due to widespread antibiotic use, GMOs, processed sugar and lots of processed foods—the gut flora passed onto our babies can be severely deficient.

Baby probiotics are a great way to help to improve the balance of “good bacteria” in their body and ensure your baby's immune system is functioning at its best.

A mix of strains is best, for variety. I encourage you to find a local wholistic practitioner that can help you find a quality probiotic instead of getting one off the shelf, at your local store.

And once your child turns 6 months of age and they are ready for solid foods, you can provide the probiotics in the form of fermented foods. One serving of a fermented vegetable can be the equivalent to an entire bottle of a probiotic supplement.

Let me know below what other natural remedies you have used, to help with the discomfort or prevention of ear infections.

Please note the above article is not medical advice but intended for general knowledge purposes. Through this article I am not diagnosing you or your loved one. Please consult with a medical professional for diagnosis or before taking any supplements.


  2. Cure Your Child With Food , Kelly Dorfman, MN, LND

  3. Natural Remedies for Kids, Kate Tietje and Bob Zajac MD


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