What you should know about treating ear infections
Here is some info I recently put together about why you should avoid antibiotics for ear infections and some ideas for how to treat them naturally.
In Childhood Ear Infections, Dr. Michael A. Schmidt presents over 16 scientific studies that show that many cases of chronic ear infections are due to food or airborne allergies or hypersensitivity reactions. Allergies can cause significant pressure changes within the middle ear, as well as obstruction of the eustachian tube. The most common allergens implicated in ear infection are cow’s milk and dairy products, wheat, eggs, chocolate, citrus, corn, soy, peanuts or other nuts, shellfish, sugar, and yeast. Dairy is the number one contributor to childhood ear problems. Proper allergy management, such as elimination and rotation diets, can produce dramatic recovery in allergic children with chronic ear infections.
We have been treating ear infections naturally (without antibiotics) for the past year successfully. I just wanted to share what we’ve done for them.
Wally’s Ear Oil has been a life saver. It’s a natural blend of herbs and oils that help soothe the ear. May provide relief from the pain and discomfort associated with ear aches, “swimmer’s ear”, infections, fungus and yeast.
Ingredients: Almond oil, essential oils of Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Garlic, Mullein, Echinacea Root.
It’s cheaper here. I bought mine at Whole Foods.
Herbs for Kids Willow/Garlic Ear Oil also comes highly recommended. I have also seen it at most WFS including Whole Foods.
Ingredients: Extra Virgin Olive oil, Fresh Garlic cloves, Calendula flower, Willow bark, Usnea lichen and Vitamin E oil.
Healing Ear Infections: Why Antibiotics Are Not the Best Treatment
The Problem of Bacterial Resistance
Although penicillin drugs such as amoxicillin, which is typically prescribed for otitis media, are less toxic than many other antibiotics, they can cause severe allergic reactions and gastrointestinal upset, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Also, any antibiotic can cause the overgrowth of bacteria or other organisms that are not susceptible to that particular antibiotic. This can lead to yeast infections or “superinfections” of staphylococci.3
More ominously, the increased use of antibiotics has resulted in the development of resistant bacteria. Bacteria that once were killed by a particular antibiotic, in other words, are no longer susceptible to that antibiotic. This makes infectious diseases caused by those organisms more difficult to treat.
For instance, the leading bacteria that cause infections of the middle ear, Streptococcus pneumonia, can also cause pneumonia, sinusitis, bronchitis, and meningitis. S. pneumonia was originally easy to treat with penicillin, but by the late 1980s a penicillin-resistant strain had emerged. In the past 15 years, the number of cases of penicillin-resistant S. pneumonia in the US has more than doubled. In Asia, cases of antibiotic-resistant S. pneumonia amount to 70 percent of total pneumonia infections; in the US such cases are as high as 25 percent. In US daycare centers, antibiotic-resistant S. pneumoniae can be as high as 61 percent.4 These resistant bacteria are passed from one person to another and are particularly high in children with otitis media.
Herbs for Ear Pain
Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) has long been used as a demulcent to relieve congestion and inflammation. Components of mullein have also been found to have antibacterial, antiseptic, and pain-relieving properties. A few drops of oil infused with mullein can provide great relief for a child feeling the pain of ear inflammation. Use commercial ear drops containing mullein, or prepare your own ahead of time (making infused oil can take two weeks). To make the oil, cover a handful of dried mullein flowers with a carrier oil such as olive or almond oil. Let the oil set for two weeks, shaking it daily. If you are pressed for time, speed the process by heating the oil and mullein flowers gently on the stove for 30 minutes. Strain and use it when it reaches body temperature, testing it just as you would a baby’s formula, by dropping it on your wrist. The oil should be warm but not hot. Cold oil can be warmed gently by setting the bottle in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes. Use a few drops in the ear canal up to three times a day if necessary.
Garlic (Allium sativum) has both antibacterial and antiviral properties and is often used in combination with mullein in oil to treat ear infections. Again, either buy this commercially or prepare it yourself. To make it yourself, crush a garlic clove in a few tablespoons of olive oil and gently warm it over the stove for 30 minutes. Strain before use and put a few drops of body-temperature oil in the ear canal.
St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) is another herb that may be beneficial for its antiviral, antibacterial, and soothing qualities. St. John’s wort can be purchased commercially, or you can make infused oil from the tips of the branches, including the flowers and leaves. Put a few drops of oil into the ear canal.
Essential oil of lavender (Lavandula officinalis) has antiseptic and soothing qualities. Dilute lavender oil in an equal amount of vegetable oil, such as almond oil. Use a few drops of this warmed oil in the ear canal. Lavender oil, either in the ear or rubbed behind the ear, can also soothe nerves and may help an anxious toddler to sleep.
Drinking peppermint (Mentha piperita) tea can be soothing to a child. Peppermint also has antiseptic and decongestant qualities that can help relieve the pain of ear inflammation. You can mix peppermint with chamomile tea, which also is anti-inflammatory and has slight sedative qualities that may help relax a child in pain.
If your child has reoccurring ear infections – Consider boosting his or her immune system. This can be done with echinacea (Echinacea) spp. extracts as well as vitamin C. With echinacea, use a formula made especially for children, or one-fourth the adult dose for children from two to ten, one-half the adult dose for children over ten. For vitamin C, approximately 500 milligrams per day is a good dose for children. If diarrhea develops, cut back on the dose.