Reaching out for a home remedy for earache is much more convenient than going out to buy pharmaceutical solutions – and they are usually just as effective. I still remember the trauma of earaches from my childhood and how my grandmother used to drip some olive oil in my ear and seal it up with cotton wool. I also remember how it worked!
Why Do People Get Earaches?
The Daily Mail published an article in September 2016, listing 10 reasons why anyone can get an earache. To summarize, they are:
2. Blockages from mucus and wax
4. Arthritis in your jawbone
5. Grinding your teeth
6. Altitude changes
7. Cotton bud damage (from cleaning your ears)
8. A boil in the outer ear canal
9. Nerve damage
10. Collateral damage from throat infection
Whichever one of the above causes you may be identifying with right now, it’s comforting to know that simple earaches can be taken care of easily at home with natural remedies. It’s likely you’ll have one or more of these readily available in your kitchen. These solutions are not in any order of importance.
Home Remedy for Earache #1 – Olive Oil
Olive oil can provide fast relief from an earache. It serves as a lubricant and helps get rid of an infection in the ear. Olive oil can also be helpful in stopping buzzing sensations inside the ears.
Put 3-4 drops of lukewarm olive oil as ear drops into the ear canal.
Alternatively, you can dip a cotton bud in the oil and put it firmly into the ear.
You can also use mustard oil in the same way.
Home Remedy for Ear ache #2 – Garlic
The analgesic and antibiotic properties of garlic can help reduce earache caused by an ear infection.
Heat one teaspoon of minced garlic in two tablespoons of sesame oil. Cool and filter the oil. Put 2-3 drops of this garlic oil in the aching ear.
Another option is to extract the juice out of a few cloves of garlic and put it into the ear that hurts.
There are dozens of variations of garlic in olive oil for earaches. One of the best is this one – which combines garlic and eucalyptus for a double anti-bacterial, anti-viral punch. This should be stored in a tinted bottle in a cool dark location, or in the refrigerator, and used within two weeks.
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 ounces (1/2 cup) good quality olive oil
20 drops eucalyptus essential oil
Place garlic and olive oil in a small sauce pan on low heat. Cook overnight or for eight hours. Strain, squeezing well to get as much oil as possible out of the garlic. Add eucalyptus essential oil and mix well. Store in a tinted bottle.
To use: Place glass eyedropper in a stream of hot water for 1 minutes (to warm dropper). Dry quickly (to retain heat) and suction up ear oil from bottle. Place 2 drops in both ears every half hour or as often as needed for 2 to 7 days.
Never place fluid into the ear if the eardrum is perforated. For very young children, heat and steam are the safest choices, or plain warm olive oil or coconut oil.
Home Remedy for Earache #3 – Onions
Onion is one of the most readily available home remedies for an earache. The antiseptic and antibacterial properties in onions work well in treating the source of the problem.
Extract one tablespoon of onion juice from grated onions and heat it over low heat. Then put 2-3 drops of the juice into affected ear 2-3 times a day.
Crush a fresh onion and wrap it tightly in a piece of clean cloth. Hold the cloth over the infected ear for about 5 to 10 minutes. Repeat the process several times a day.
Alternatively, gently heat a small portion of the onion until warm but not soft, and tuck the heated onion into the ear.
Home Remedy for Earache #4 – Hot Water Bottle
Putting moist heat around an infected ear can work as a great pain reliever. Simply wrap a hot water bottle in a towel and press it against the aching ear for a few minutes.
An alternative to the hot water bottle, is a heat pack.
These days, most homes have microwaves and you can buy or make a hot pack that can be quickly heated up that way. You can buy items such as wheat bags from your local drugstore or chemist. If you prefer to make your own simple heat pack, place popcorn or rice into an old sock or small pouch. Seal end and heat in short bursts until warm.
Home Remedy for Earache #5 – Ginger
Ginger has strong anti-inflammatory properties that can be helpful in treating ear infections. It is also an excellent natural painkiller.
Extract juice from fresh ginger and put it directly into the ears to get relief from pain and reduce inflammation.
You can also mix one teaspoon of fresh grated ginger root with two tablespoons of olive oil. Leave it to infuse for 5 to 10 minutes and then put a few drops of the oil in the aching ear.
Home Remedy for Ear ache #6 – Peppermint
Both peppermint leaves and peppermint oil can be used to soothe earaches.
Put the juice from fresh peppermint leaves in a dropper and then put some drops inside the aching ear.
Using a cotton swab, apply a few drops of peppermint oil externally around the opening of your ear. Avoid getting any of this oil inside your ear. You can also dilute the peppermint oil using olive oil and then apply.
Home Remedy for Earache #7 – Mullein Oil
Common mullein (Verbascum thapsus) is used for treating respiratory ailments and many other illnesses. As an ear treatment, infuse the flowers and buds in olive oil, then apply them to the ear in the same manner as the garlic oil above. This home remedy requires some preparation so if your earache is sudden and unexpected, it may not be readily available like the other remedies.
To infuse the flowers in oil, gather enough to partially fill a small jar. Cover with olive oil and let sit for a week or two. Strain and place in a tinted bottle. You may like to let the blossoms set in a shallow bowl or on a plate for an hour or so before putting them in a jar with oil to give any bugs hiding in them a chance to escape. You can also add a clove of chopped garlic to your oil for extra germ fighting.
If you don’t have fresh mullein blossoms available, you can buy mullein oil already made. St. John’s Wort oil is also recommended for earaches in the book “Prescription for Herbal Healing“.
Home Remedy for Earache #8 – Xylitol
Finnish researchers found that daycare children given five servings of two pieces of xylitol sweetened gum per day reduced their number of ear infections by nearly half. Another study found that using larger doses three times per day was not as effective – frequent dosing was required. You can read a detailed analysis of the studies in the article “Ear Infections and Xylitol“. While this is not a conventional pain reliever per se, it could help your child avoid the pain of an ear infection in the first place by keeping them healthy.
Home Remedy for Earache #9 – Apple Cider Vinegar
As I researched home remedies, I’ve found that people use apple cider vinegar (ACV) to cure just about everything. Earaches/ear infections are no exception. Dee from San Diego, California writes on Earth Clinic:
“ACV also works great when getting an earache. My ENT told me to put some in the ear at the first sign of trouble, leaving it there for a minute then letting the ACV run out the ear … Repeat one more time 12 hrs. Later. This has worked for us!”
Home Remedy for Earache #10 – Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen Peroxide is also one of the most popular home remedies for earache. The easiest way to apply it is to soak a cotton ball and use it to squeeze a few drops into the ear. This will work to dislodge debris, so gently irrigating the area afterward with warm water to flush the debris clear may also be helpful.
Home Remedy for Earache #11 – Honey
Honey, either local and raw or manuka, is another treatment. Swab honey gently around the perimeter of the ear canal.
Home Remedy for Earache #12 – Hot Herbal Tea
While you’re applying warmth from the outside, you can also apply warmth from the inside. Echinacea, German chamomile, and holy basil are herbs that promote healing and relaxation.