Natural Health Remedies for You

Natural Home Remedies for Ear Infections

This page focuses on natural home remedies for ear infections, using herbs, essential oils, nutritional supplements, and homeopathy to treat adult ear infections.

Ear infections are usually not an emergency. Natural home remedies for ear infections are safe and effective for treating mild outer and middle ear infections in adults. Herbs and nutritional supplements can be used to boost the body's immune system as well as to fight infection. Essential oils can also be used topically to reduce inflammation and pain. Homeopathic remedies are effective in alleviating the symptoms of an ear infection.

When to See a Doctor

If the signs and symptoms last longer than a day or two, it is advisable to see a doctor.

If you see a discharge of blood or pus from the ear, this could mean you have a ruptured eardrum. This may sound like an urgent emergency; however, the rupture of the eardrum may actually relieve the pressure and the pain in your ear, and you can usually safely see the doctor within a day or two for treatment.

Home Remedies for Ear Infections - Herbs

Herbal Eardrops

Herbs that are antibacterial or antiviral can be used to make herbal eardrops. However, DO NOT use eardrops if the eardrum is perforated or if fluid is draining out of the ear.

Herbs that make good herbal eardrops include:

  • Garlic oil
  • Mullein oil
  • St.-John's wort oil

These herbs have antibacterial and/or antiviral properties and can help fight infections. In addition, they have natural pain-relieving qualities. Place two drops of any of the above herbal oils in the affected ear three times daily.

Herbs for Internal Use

To enhance immune function, take immune-boosting herbs if you have an ear infection:
  • Echinacea: Echinacea has both antibiotic and immune-boosting effects. You can try using a teaspoon of dried herb in tea or a dropperful of echinacea tincture in juice or tea. Drink either three times a day.
  • Goldenseal: Goldenseal is another potent natural antibiotic. You can combine echinacea, goldenseal and licorice root (for better flavor) to make a tea, using either a teaspoon of each herb or a dropperful of each tincture per cup of boiling water. Drink three cups a day.
  • Garlic: Like echinacea and goldenseal, garlic and its extracts have antibiotic and immune-boosting benefits. Taken internally, garlic can help cure a middle ear infection. You can take a supplement of garlic extract and use more garlic in your cooking if you have an ear infection.


Home Remedies for Ear Infections - Nutritional Supplements

Nutritional supplements that make good home remedies for ear infections include:
  • Vitamin C: Vitamin C is anti-inflammatory and an immune-booster. Recommended dosage is 1000 mg three times a day. Reduce dosage if diarrhea occurs.
  • Zinc: Zinc supports immune function. Recommended dosage is 30 mg daily.
  • Essential Fatty Acids: EFAs are helpful for the prevention of ear infections because they reduce inflammation and allergenic tendencies. Take one to two tablespoons of flaxseed oil daily.
  • Xylitol: Xylitol is a sugar alcohol produced naturally in birch, strawberries, and raspberries. Some studies show that xylitol may help fight a type of bacteria that is associated with ear infections. You may want to chew sugarless xylitol gums as one of the preventive measures against ear infections.


Home Remedies for Ear Infections - Aromatherapy

Essential oils that are antibacterial and antiviral can be used as home remedies for ear infections. Effective oils include:
  • Tea tree
  • Chamomile
  • Eucalyptus
  • Thyme
You can use these oils in the following ways:
  • As an ear wash: Chamomile oil makes a gentle ear wash for the infected ear. Dilute 2 drops of chamomile oil in a teaspoon of olive oil. Place a couple of drops into the ear. After about ten minutes, lie down on your side, with the infected ear turned toward the floor. Let the oil drain out onto a towel.
  • As an "ear plug": Warm a teaspoon of olive oil and add to it 3 drops of tea tree and 2 drops of lavender. Mix well. Soak a piece of cotton ball in the oil mixutre and use it to plug the infected ear.
  • As a massage oil: Dilute 3 drops of tea tree, one drop of thyme, and 2 drops of lavender in one teaspoon of olive oil. Use the oil mixture to massage around the ear area, up the neck, and across the cheekbone. Apply a warm compress to the ear area after massaging. This will ease the ear pain.


Home Remedies for Ear Infections - Homeopathy

Homeopathic remedies are quick and handy home remedies for ear infections. They can reduce ear pain rather quickly. Choose a remedy that most closely matches your symptoms and follow the instructions of use on the label.
  • Aconitum napellus: This remedy is helpful for a painful earache that comes on suddenly - often after exposure to cold and wind, or after a shaking experience. The person usually is agitated and restless, with great thrist and possibly a fever. However, Aconitum is helpful only if used during the initial six hours of the ear infection.
  • Belladonna: This remedy is for intense bouts of earache that come and go very suddenly, with high fever and a red face and eardrum. Pain can be pounding or throbbing, and may be worse from jarring. The right ear is most often affected.
  • Chamomilla: This remedy is for intense ear pain and extreme irritability and anger (including screaming). It is most appropriate for children who are difficult to comfort unless being rocked or carried by a person who is walking back and forth. Ear pain and other symptoms are worse from heat and wind, and the cheeks (often only one) may be hot and red.
  • Ferrum phosphoricum: This remedy can soothe the ache and inflammation of an ear infection - or even stop it, if given when the symptoms have just begun to show. The outer ear may look warm and pink, and the eardrum can slightly bulge. The person usually has a fever and feels warm.
  • Hepar sulphuris: This remedy is indicated when the ears are very sensitive to the touch and to cold during an infection. The earache feels like stabbing, sticking pain. It is helpful for an infection that is advanced (with a bulging eardrum or pus formation).
  • Mercurius solubilis: This remedy may be helpful if an ear infection is advanced, with an offensive-smelling pus discharge and shooting pains. The symptoms are worse at night. The person may also have swollen lymph nodes, offensive breath, a thick coating on the tongue, and sweat and drooling during sleeping.
  • Pulsatilla: This remedy is for an ear infection following exposure to cold or damp weather. The ear is often red and may have a yellowish/greenish discharge. Ear pain worsens when sleeping in a warm bed and is relieved somewhat by cool compresses. This remedy is most appropriate for children who tend to be gentle, weepy, and mildly whiny and are easily soothed by affection.
  • Silica: This remedy is for acute ear infections and for a ruptured eardrum with pus. It is also for chronic or late stage infections when the person feels chilly, weak and tired.

Related Topic

Adult Ear Infections


Balch and Stengler, Prescription for Natural Cures, (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2004).
Duke, J.A. The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook. (St. Martin's Paperbacks, 2002).
V.A. Worwood, The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, (New World Library, 1991). (

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