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This one is about: Alternative Treatments for Ear Infection

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Treating Ear Infection with Alternative Methods
by Leigh Austin

Infections to the ear are a common occurrence in childhood, and sometimes into adulthood as well. For children born with a cleft of the lip and/or palate they are often times relentless due to improperly functioning musculature in the Eustachian tubes. This may or may not be a direct result of the cleft, or it may just be that the Eustachian tubes, for whatever reason, are not functioning well enough to drain the ear of excess fluid. In cleft-affected children, especially children with a cleft to the palate, the obicularis muscles, and other muscles that support the Eustachian tubes are usually not making proper connections. The Eustachian tubes are not able to drain excess fluid, and it builds up behind the ear drum. Once pressure builds, it must be released, and that can happen either outward, through the drum and ear canal, or inward toward the brain. Either way the resulting implications will be severe; hearing loss through a burst ear drum, or encephalitis in the brain. Ear tubes are generally the norm for children born with cleft lip and palate for these very reasons. The tubes will help a poorly functioning Eustachian tube to drain the excess fluid out the ear canal. The ear, nose, and throat are linked by the Eustachian tube, which is why ear infections often originate in colds, throat, or sinus infections. Bacteria growing in the build up of excess fluid will incite an infection. Infection can cause earaches, fever, runny nose, and occasionally a pussy discharge from the ear. These infections should never be treated lightly, even if they occur very often. A doctor should always be consulted, and usually, antibiotics administered. However, there are many other alternative treatments that can be done in conjunction to antibiotics, and many of these will work in synergy with them.

If your child suffers from regular ear infections, it is important to strengthen his or her immunity to infection by giving a whole food diet with plenty of vitamin rich fruit and vegetables, and extra vitamin C and zinc during the winter months. Avoid foods which contribute to the production of mucous, such as refined carbohydrates and dairy products.

The herb Echinacea (or Purple Coneflower) has a deserved reputation for enhancing the body's immune system. Research shows that it stimulates the production of white blood cells, which fight infection, and that the constituent polysaccharide has an anti-viral activity. Treatment of any infection, cold, or flu should include Echinacea at the first sign of symptoms. Also useful in the medicine cupboard is the herb Goldenseal, which is invaluable in the treatment of infections. Goldenseal is one of the most effective herbal medicines for inflamed or catarrhal conditions of the mucous membranes. It stimulates the production of bile, and has a strengthening effect on the body's systems. Modern research validates the plant's potential. The plant's major chemical alkaloids, hydrastine and berberine, exhibit a strong anti-bacterial and anti-viral action, and help to lower blood pressure. At the first sign of infection or cold, tincture of Echinacea 2 to 3x per day diluted in juice, water, breast milk or formula is very beneficial (please follow age appropriate dosage at the end of this article or manufacturer's recommendations), and for the symptoms of infection, such as phlegmy cough, drainage from the ear, sinusitis, or tonsillitis, Goldenseal can be administered in the same fashion, same dosages.

Specific to Ear Infections

As well as supplementing diet and herbs, an herbal ear drop formula made from the following:

20 drops of Goldenseal tincture
20 drops of essential oil of Eucalyptus
10 drops of Pasque flower tincture
5 drops of essential oil of Myrrh
1 tsp. of almond, jojoba, or Calendula oil


2 tsp. of almond, jojoba, or Calendula oil
10 drops of essential oil of chamomile
10 drops of essential oil of lavender

will equally help to soothe and provide antibiotic properties. In an ear whose drum has NOT been perforated (no tubes!!), shake well and use two drops in the infected ear three times a day. It is very soothing to slightly warm the oil first, and then massage gently all around the outside of the ear, behind the ear and down the neck.

In ears that have tubes or perforated drums, the same mixtures can be applied to the outer parts of the ears, and massaged into the bony protuberance behind the ears, all around the lobes, neck and outer ear and down the neck. Using this technique on a regular basis will help prevent ear infections as well as reduce pain, and increase drainage from current infections. This is a good way to introduce massage to your infant as well, if you have not already done so. Also, hot compresses steeped in the mixture with lavender and chamomile will loosen up fluid, relieve pressure and pain, and help to draw out infection.

To make a compress:

Take a clean piece of linen, gauze or cotton and soak it in a small bowl of hot water with either your tinctures or oils added. Make sure to add the oils before you add the cloth, and mix well. Wring out excess water, and apply to the ear as hot as tolerable. If it is too hot, you can wrap another piece of dry cloth around it to protect the skin. Change when cool, and repeat as necessary. [This technique is also great for sinus infections as well. (Use Eucalyptus and Chinese Wintergreen oils for best effect)].

Age Appropriate Dosing for Herbal Remedies

When treating children, it is important to consider their smaller size and different metabolic rates. The following information is taken from Zand, Walton, and Roundtree's Smart Medicine for A Healthier Child. Unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer, use these dosing recommendations.

Newborn to 2 years:

3 drops of tincture diluted in 1/4 cup of water, breastmilk or formula. Nursing mothers may take the adult dose, and the herb will pass to the infant via the breast milk.

Two years to 6 years

1/4 cup of tea
6-10 drops of tincture diluted in 1/4 cup of water

Six to 12 years

1 tablet or capsule
1/2 cup of tea
10-20 drops of tincture diluted in 1/4-1/2 cup of water

12 years to adult

2 tablets or capsules
1 cup of tea
20-40 drops of tincture in 1/4-1 cup of water


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