Anybody that has suffered from an ear infection will be aware how painful they are. Not only can they affect you as an adult but they can be a major worry for parents. Ear infections can cause a great deal of pain to your child and they are also often very difficult to treat. Many people are now turning to natural remedies like essential oils to help clear up ear infections more naturally. But do these oils really work to clear up an infections and are they safe to use?
What is an Earache?
If you have an ear infection, it can be painful, whether you are a child or an adult. Moreover, ear infections and earaches are difficult to treat. If you wish to clear up the infection using an alternative remedy, essential oils can help.
Signs and Symptoms
Earaches result from infections in the inner, outer, or middle ear.
Symptoms of an Inner Ear Infection
If you have an inner ear infection, you will experience an earache, as well as other symptoms, such as:
Outer Ear Infection Symptoms
Should your ear infection occur in the outer ear, the ear will exhibit the following:
- Earache pain
Middle Ear Infection Symptoms
An earache that results from an infection in the middle ear, occurs behind the eardrum. This type of infection is called otitis media and happens when fluids become trapped behind the eardrum, causing it to bulge. Besides an earache, you may experience fluid drainage. A middle ear infection is often accompanied by a fever. You may have difficulty hearing until the condition is treated and begins to clear.
Causes of Earaches
An ear infection is usually caused by a bacterial infection. The location of the infection is dependent on how the infection is triggered.
Middle ear infections result from a respiratory problem or a cold. The infection moves to the ear by way of the Eustachian tubes.
The tubes regulate inner ear pressure and are connected to the throat and nose. If the ear becomes infected, it can cause the Eustachian tubes to swell. If the fluid in the tubes does not drain, the fluid presses against the eardrum.
Outer ear infections are sometimes referred to as swimmer’s ear. They occur when water remains inside the ear after a bath or swimming. The moisture attracts bacteria, which causes an infection when the ear is scratched or an object or finger irritates the outside lining.
Some Facts about Earaches
- The buildup of earwax can lead to an earache, assuming that infection is not the reason for the pain.
- Foreign objects, if inserted intentionally or unintentionally, can lead to pain too.
- Sometimes a sinus infection will lead to earache pain.
Essential Oils for Earaches
You can find a number of excellent essential oils to treat an earache. However, the most trusted oils are lavender oil, garlic oil, oregano oil, peppermint oil, tea tree oil, basil oil, and mustard oil. Olive oil and thyme oil are used, as well.
How Can Essential Oils Help?
Essential oils are the highly concentrated forms of plants they are derived from. The parts used are usually steamed to separate the oil from the water in the plants. The chemical content of the resultant essential oil depends on the plant from which it was taken. A number of essential oils have excellent antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that can help you to fight off both bacterial and viral infections.
Antiviral oils can work by preventing a virus from taking over your cells and replicating. Other essential oils have antibacterial properties and work like a natural antibiotic by killing off harmful bacterial strands. Some antibacterial oils do this by interfering with the processes that give bacteria their energy which essentially starves the bacteria to death.
The Best Essential Oils for Earache and Ear Infection
This is one of the popular essential oils in the world and it is no surprise to learn that it can be used for earache pain. Lavender oil soothes the inflammation present in the ear canal. Lavender oil has even been approved for use by come doctors. A number of studies have revealed that lavender essential oil has natural antibacterial properties that can help destroy bacterial infection. (1)
The best way to use the oil is to mix a few drops with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil. Rub the mixture on the outside ear. Never stick your fingers in the mix or place the oil deep within the ear as it can worsen the pain and inflammation.
Peppermint essential oil eliminates inflammation and gets rid of earache pain. It is approved for use on children as long as you use it carefully. Just make sure that the oil is diluted with a carrier oil, such as jojoba oil. Rub it gently just outside the ear. Make sure that the oil is absorbed entirely before it dries.
This is an effective earache oil. Not only is basic oil an antibacterial oil, it also contains anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant components.
Research published in 2005 looked at the effects of basil essential oil against ear infection in rats. The results of the study proved very positive with the oil helping to heal up to 80% of the rats. (2)
A small amount can soothe earache pain in a short period. Apply the oil with a cotton ball that is held in place with a small piece of gauze. You do not have to place the oil inside the ear, as the compounds in the oil’s aroma are enough to heal pain and swelling.
Tea Tree Oil
This oil has astringent compounds that dry up fluid. It also contains antiviral and antibacterial properties. This oil is another dependable choice to use for an earache and ear infection. A review published in 2006 explained that tea tree has oil is rich in terpinen-4-0l which is an outstanding antibacterial agent. (3)
Because it contains high levels of this antibacterial compound, tea tree oil is extremely deadly to bacteria and can be an effective weapon against infections including ear infection.
Mix this oil with a carrier oil like olive oil and slightly warm up the the mix. You only need about two drops. Use an eyedropper to administer the remedy. Deliver no more than two drops at a time and hold the tea tree oil and olive oil there for about ten minutes before it is drained.
Thyme oil is known for its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. While these components will not solve the cause of an ear infection, they are useful in minimizing the pain and discomfort. You can use the oil alone or combine it with another essential oil like lavender oil to obtain even greater relief.
Apply a few drops combined with a carrier oil to the outside the ear. Never place thyme oil inside your ear, as it can lead to more problems with inflammation and infection.
Oregano oil contains antioxidants and ingredients that assist in quickly clearing up infection or blockages in the ear. Studies have found that oregano essential oil has powerful antibacterial properties which have proven deadly to a variety of bacterial strains. (4)
Oregano oil is very powerful and you should never place this oil inside the ear canal. You can blend this oil with a carrier oil, such as almond oil.
Other Oils for Earache
Olive oil is ideal for clearing up earwax inside the ear. This oil is not an essential oil and can be used without the need for dilution. Just do not use the oil if the eardrum is ruptured.
Pour about one-fourth teaspoon of the oil into the ear canal, and allow it to remain there about ten minutes before draining it. The oil loosens the wax and soothes any inflammation or infection.
This oil contains allicin, which reduces the pain and inflammation. The oil, which is considered an antibacterial, is useful in getting rid of underlying infections. Mix this oil with a carrier oil, such as olive oil, and apply it on the outer and inner ear.
Always dilute garlic oil so that it will not irritate the skin. Never put the oil inside your ear, especially if the eardrum is ruptured.
This antibacterial oil is effective if an infection has caused your earache. The oil consists of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant ingredients that soothe inflammation and eliminate problems, such as issues with hearing.
Mix the mustard oil with warm water and pour it gently inside the ear canal. Allow the oil to sit about 30 seconds before removing it. Do not use this oil if your earache pain is due to an eardrum rupture.
How to Use Essential Oils to Treat Earaches
Essential oils can be used to treat an earache by soaking a cotton ball with an essential oil that has been diluted and placing the cotton gently in the ear. This will permit the oil to gradually seep into the ear. Never force the cotton inside the ear.
You can also drop one to two drops of essential oil into two to four drops of a carrier oil, such as olive oil, that has been warmed. Make sure the mix is warm, and not hot.
A clean dropper should be used to administer the oil into the ear canal. Keep the head tilted slightly before straightening it. Wipe any oil away that drips from the ear.
Essential oils can also be rubbed gently around the ear. This treatment can be used to reduce the pain and inflammation. This approach is useful for treating an infection of the outer ear.
Selecting the Right Carrier Oil
The carrier oils that are used most often with essential oils for earaches include jojoba oil, coconut oil, sweet almond and olive oil. Olive oil can be used by itself to treat a wax buildup. Just do not use the oil for the condition if the eardrum is ruptured.
The carrier oil you use for an earache should be mixed so that it is slightly higher than the drops you mix of the essential oil. If you have three drops of an essential oil, add about five to six drops of the carrier oil to dilute the substance.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are the Best Oils to Use for Treating an Ear Infection and Earache Pain?
There are a number of very effective essential oils for earaches and ear infections and the best oil will depend on the condition you are trying to treat. Antibacterial essential oils like tea tree and basil are extremely effective against bacterial infection while they also have powerful antiviral properties.
What is the best EO to use for children’s earache pain?
The best EO for children is peppermint oil, and it is sanctioned for use by alternative health professionals. Lavender essential oil is also gentle-acting and considered safe for use in children as long as it is diluted in advance.
What oil is approved by doctors for treating earache pain?
While many doctors do not approve the use of natural remedies, some medical health professionals approve of the use of lavender oil for treating earache pains and infections.
While essential oils have a number of health benefits when used topically, you should make sure to use them responsibly and safely to avoid any side effects.
Always dilute your essential oil in a carrier oil before applying it to your skin. Applying the essential oil ‘neat’ can cause skin irritation. After diluting the oil, you should perform a patch test by testing it on a discrete area of skin before applying a larger dose.
Do not use essential oil as a remedy of the eardrum has been ruptured. When your eardrum has ruptured, pain will tend to subside so if you are still experiencing pain in the ear, it is likely the eardrum is intact. Consult your doctor to make certain.
Only use a small amount of essential oil to treat a earache or infection. Using more than a drop or two can cause the ear to get clogged. Wait at least a few hours between treatments.
The oil you choose for alleviating earache pain depends on where the infection in your ear appears and whether you are an adult or a child. Peppermint essential oil is recommended for children, while peppermint and the other essential oils can be used by adults.
If you want fast relief for earache pain, basil is an excellent remedy. You can lessen earache pain with the scent alone. It is a safe treatment, as it does not need to be placed inside the ear canal.
When choosing an essential oil, you need to consider the application method. The best method of using essential oils for earache or infection is to dip a cotton ball into the dilute oil and place it gently inside the ear. Allow the oils to seep out slowly into the ear canal rather than forcing the cotton inside your ear.
Have you ever used an essential oil to alleviate earache or to treat an infection. Please let us know which oil you used and how effective you found it to be.