Ear Infection, a Naturopathic Perspective

Ear infections are one of the most common reasons why a child is taken to a doctor. Although children are more likely to get ear infections, it is common for adults to get them also. In recent years there has been an increase in the frequency of ear infections worldwide.

Let’s take a look at some published studies done to determine the efficacy of using natural and nontoxic ear oil that is commonly found in health food stores. Note that this oil can be made easily at home for a fraction of the price.

A double blind study was done on 171 children with middle-ear infections. During the study they found that children who were given naturopathic ear drops alone had a better response than children who were given ear drops together with antibiotics.

During the study “no evidence was found that systemic antibiotics alone improved treatment outcome”. The study went on to say, “these herbal extracts have the potential to meet all of the requirements of appropriate medication that could be routinely used in the pediatric patient, namely in vitro bacteriostatic and bacteriocidal activity against common pathogens, immunostimulation ability, antioxidant activity, and anti-inflammatory effects”. “They are also well-absorbed with good penetration into the tissue surrounding the tympanic membrane (eardrum). They have been found to enhance local immunologic activity. Finally, herbal extracts are well-tolerated, easy to administer, and less expensive than the new antibiotics. There are no documented side effects”.(1)

Another study was done with 103 children between the ages of 6 and 18 years old. The conclusion was that “an ear drop formula of naturopathic origin is as effective as anaesthetic ear drops and was proven appropriate for the management of AOM-associated ear pain”.(2)

Both of these studies used several herbs in the formula, but the two herbs common in both formulas were garlic (allium sativum) and mullein flowers (verbascum thapsus) in a base of olive oil. The formula is known as Garlic Mullein ear oil and I have seen it work wonders for folks since 1996 when I owned and operated a health food store in New York.

The following video shows how to make ear oil. Note that you don’t need to use fresh mullein flowers and that dried mullein flowers can be purchased online from companies that sell dried herbs. However, with dried flowers you would need to heat the oil/flower blend to extract out the medicinal components of the mullein flowers. There are many ways to make ear oil. This is just one example

(1)  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12728112

(2)  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11434846


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