The 17 Natural Remedies for Ear Infections You Must Try

by Gregory
groblumiges st johns wort 373856 1920

St. John’s Wort

The ear is a wonderful thing.  It allows us to hear the birds sing and Strauss’ waltzes.  It allows teenagers to pierce them and to oddly put gauges in them.  It is a miraculous organ.  Before we cover natural remedies for ear infections, let’s review the anatomy.

Anatomy & Physiology

The role of the ear is to amplify sound.  The outer ear consists of the earlobe (or Pinna) which funnels sound into the Acoustic Auditory Meatus (AAM or ear canal).  There sound strikes the eardrum (or tympanic membrane).  The middle ear consists of 3 small bones (called ossicles).  The sound which enters the ear canal causes the eardrum to vibrate.  The malleus, the first ossicle, is connected on the inner aspect to the eardrum.  It feels the vibrations causing it to shake the incus (the second ossicle) which then strikes the stapes (third ossicle).  The middle ear also boasts the Eustachian tube which connects the middle ear to the superior section of the pharynx, or throat.

The inner ear consists of the Cochlea and Vestibule.  The stapes strikes the opening of the cochlea which then shakes the fluid inside the cochlea.  The Organ of Corti hearing cells are then moved by the fluid current in the cochlea.  Each hearing cell has a nerve connected to it which turns sound into electrical impulse.  Cranial Nerve VIII (Vestibulocochlear) sends those impulses to the cerebrum of the brain for processing.

{Read our natural remedies for UTIs, Kidney Stones, Diarrhea, Hemorrhoids, Constipation.}

Types of Ear Infections

Now that we are done with the anatomy lesson, let’s focus on the natural remedies for ear infections.   The two main categories of ear infections are outer ear infections (otitis externa) and middle ear ones (otitis media).  Swimming in lakes, pathogens, and trauma are the common culprits for otitis externa.  So is impacted cerumen (wax) in the ear canal.   Nevertheless, the most common earaches are the middle ear varieties, the subject of this article.

Factors that increase your chances of acquiring a middle ear ache (otitis media):

  • Family history
  • Food allergies
  • An sinus or throat infection which travels through your Eustachian tubes to the middle ear.
  • Seasonal allergies
  • Acquiring measles, mumps, or other common childhood illnesses


  • Earache, especially when lying supine (on your back)
  • Fever
  • Discharge emanating out of the ear canal
  • Throat or sinus pain
  • Listlessness or generalized fatigue

Doctors will employ an otoscope to look inside the ear canal to see if it is bulging, irritated, or perforated.  They will likely also peruse the throat and lymph nodes.

The first line of treatment for ear infections is prescribing an antibiotic.  Here at Naturopathic Earth, we look for natural remedies to ear infections first.  Why?  Risk factors are associated with antibiotics.  Antibiotics:

  • Destroy probiotic (good) bacteria quicker than pathogenic.  Some studies show it takes 2 years for your gut flora to regrow just after one course of antibiotics.  {Read this article on the importance of a healthy gut flora.}
  • Lead to more virulent strains of bacteria.  You hear of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.  Overprescription of antibiotics has lead to this future peril.
  • Increase incidences of obesity (especially in children). (Read this medical journal article.)
  • Lead to great fungal infections (e.g. vaginal yeast infection, thrush, et al).
Lavender, Bee, Summer, Purple, Garden

Lavender Oil is great for ear infections.

In a large majority of cases, otitis media is caused by a virus and not an bacteria making the antibiotics a useless treatment.  In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended to NOT prescribe antibiotics to children for these precise reasons.  However, many allopathic (conventional) doctors continue to do so either out of parental pressures, the practice of “defensive medicine,” or wanting the parent to leave happy with the antibiotic script to ensure repeat business.

{Please read our article on strengthening your immune system naturally.}

Here at Naturopathic Earth we recommend exhausting all natural remedies for ear infections prior to going to the antibiotic as your sole recourse.  Vis-a-vis ear aches plenty of studies exists showing the efficacy of naturopathic remedies over antibiotics.

Natural Remedies for Ear Infections

(The first 3 may be used for any sort of microbial infection.)

Muesli, Breakfast, Food, Cornflakes

Greek Yogurt, a probiotic source.

  1. As always, a diet high in prebiotics and probiotics will keep your immune system strong to prevent and later “knock out” the infection as quickly as possible.  Consume large amounts of resistant starch and fermented foods.  Most ideal would be to purchase a probiotic pill with multiple strains of bacteria and fungus and approximately 40 billion CFUs per dosage.
  2.  Increase your amount of Vitamin C.  Consume 3-4 grams a day to the point where you begin to have diarrhea.  (Don’t worry: Vitamin C is water-soluble so you will void out what the body does not need.)
  3. Consume foods which will increase your glutathione, the master antioxidant, immune system supporter of the body.  Or purchase glutathione pills.
  4. Ingest a tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar in warm water. (Read this article on vinegar.)
  5. Drink warm lemon water with honey.
  6. Drink Black Currant tea which will bolster the immune system.


  1. Consume large amount of herbs & spices that are natural antimicrobial agents (e.g. turmeric & garlic).
  2. Apply a hot compress of St. John’s Wort around the ear.
  3. Apply a tincture of myrrh directly into the ear canal.
  4. Mix a few drops of witch hazel with a tablespoon of St. John’s Wort directly into the ear.


  1. Tea tree or lavender in a diffuser
  2. Place a lavender-laced Q-Tip or cotton swab into the ear canal.


  1. Aconite, Hep. sulf., and Belladonna have been proven effective.  {Consult a homeopath prior to usage.}

For horrible nighttime earaches which may wake up the child, simply sitting them up alleviates much of the pain. Prop them up with some pillows to incline them for the remainder of the night.

Now you know the natural remedies for ear infections.  As with all naturopathic approaches the key is to strengthen the immune system so as to avoid ear infections all together. Subsequently the key is to strengthen the immune system to repel the infections once it has occurred.  

Most earaches resolve on their own.  Either way our body is incredibly resilient and will thwart most common-day infections if kept in an optimal manner (“clean” eating, proper sleep, exercise, sunlight, Vitamin C, et al.).  

Ear infections are relatively harmless, but on occasion may lead to permanent damage of the ear organs and/or loss of hearing.  Please visit an Integrative Medicine M.D. or Naturopathic Doctor (N.D) if unresolved for several days.

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(We would appreciate your comments below.)

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Lana April 12, 2017 - 12:04 PM

I have been using lavender in the ear for my kids for some time. 🙂

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