10 Natural Earache Relief Methods {that really work}

Earaches and ear pain can have a number of causes, but not matter the cause, they are no fun! Here are some ideas for natural earache remedies using things you might have around the home--and they really work!

child with cotton ball and medical tape on ear for earache relief

As I said, earaches have many causes, some of which are fluid behind the ear, ear infections, irritation, and inflammation from an illness.

In this post, we'll talk about some ways to help with earaches while you are trying to determine the cause, and we'll also address the possible overuse of antibiotics in the case of ear infections.

Antibiotic Use and Ear Infections

Did you know that antibiotics aren’t typically necessary for ear infections and that overuse of antibiotics for ear infections can cause long-lasting health problems including gut dysbiosis and antibiotic resistance?

It's a common misperception that an infection means that one must use an antibiotic. In the case of an ear infection, that is definitely not the case. In fact, according to the CDC, for most ear infections, antibiotics are not recommended. Overuse of antibiotics for children’s ear infections can end up causing gut microbial imbalance and even antibiotic-resistance.

What's more, ear infections are often over-diagnosed and of course, viral ear infections won't respond to antibiotics.

For these reasons, it's important to know how to address ear infections at home to avoid unnecessary exposure to antibiotics and the problems that can arise from their overuse.

Overuse of Antibiotics in My Life

When it comes to sicknesses in our home, I try to avoid antibiotics as much as possible, for those very same reasons. We try to use saline washes, essential oils, probiotics, and other natural methods of strengthening our systems and healing before turning to OTC and prescription medications, but finding natural earache remedies that really work has been tough.

When I was young, my mother took me to the doctor for antibiotics way too often and as such, my gut had a lot of damage done to it.  My weaknesses were passed on to my kids, and so I try to do the best I can to keep them from further insult.  Since the gut is the source of most of your immune system, it's crucial to keep it as healthy as possible.

Now that we've talked about ear infections, let's move on to earaches.

Our Earache Experience

Awhile back, we had a month with quite a few health issues popping up in our family.

When we tried a bunch of natural ear infection remedies, I got a real shocker--A natural remedy for ear infections that was unbelievable. I just had to write and tell you all about it.

It all started when we went roller skating with our church and I decided to take a good run at it even though I'd only roller skated once in my life.

---In elementary school.

I should have practiced more between the first time and this last time because I ended up with a concussion and a badly injured tailbone and elbow.  My arm still isn't acting quite normal.

Then, the boys and I ended up with a bad case of the flu.

One of those "I don't know if I am going to live through this" illnesses.

When we were all starting to be on the mend, we had a meeting at church and our kids hung out with other sick kiddos while we met with the adults.

I figured, "Well, we've all got the same thing that's going around, right?" and didn't worry about it 'cause I figured we couldn't get sick from the same thing again.

Wrong.

Oldest son later came down with an earache.

It had been a looong time since we've had one of these in our home.

He was in a lot of pain.

Important Cautions About Ear Infections

Before we get to the natural earache remedies, here are some important notes. Of course, take caution before putting anything into your or your child's ear.  If there is pus coming out or you otherwise suspect a burst eardrum, nothing should be put in the ear.

And of course, please seek medical advice before putting anything into your child's ear (except the proverbial elbow, of course :).)

Seek Medical Attention Regarding Your Child If:

  • Symptoms last for more than a day
  • Ear pain is severe
  • Your infant or toddler is sleepless or irritable after a cold or other upper respiratory infection
  • You observe a discharge of fluid, pus or bloody discharge from the ear

Additionally, an adult with ear pain or discharge should see a doctor as soon as possible.

The following is not medical advice--I'm simply telling you about what worked for us.

Natural Earache Relief Methods That Really Work

1.  Vitamin C (personally I like sodium ascorbate) but camu camu is a new one that we love--its natural vitamin C power in a whole food form.

2.   Chinese herbal preparations recommended by our past practitioner (she always recommended Yin Chao Jin whenever we are sick, and Coptis Purge for infections.)

- and my DIY saline wash.

3.  Helichrysum Oil around the ear (diluted with a carrier oil)

4.  Essential Oil Antibacterial oil blend around the ear (again, diluted with a carrier oil)

5.  Ear Pulling 

Some practitioners recommend pulling on the earlobe gently in a number of different directions, and then following up by pulling firmly downward. This hasn't worked for me, but some say it does for them.

6. Basil Oil

A little bit diluted well on a cotton ball. placed gently in the ear.  And some medical tape or sports tape to keep it from falling out.  Bandaids just never worked well for us for this application.)

boy with cotton ball on ear for earache

Side Note About Where to Buy Essential Oils

Read my Best Essential Oils Series to find out which company I buy from and why.  It got VERY interesting along the way, so I recommend reading the whole thing, but of course you can skip to the end here.

7. Onion Juice

Another "interesting" remedy.

From the instructions on the internet, you are supposed to either press an onion or scrape at it to remove some of the "juice" from it. Then you either drop a bit of it into the ear or mix it with oil and do the same.

Well, let me tell you--getting juice out of onion isn't easy. I tried several times. I would be interested in hearing if anyone out there has a better method for making this.

8. Saline Wash

Saline washes are great for getting junk out of your sinuses to relieve pressure around the ears. I love using them and make my own homemade saline nasal spray, but it didn't do anything this time to help his ears.

9. Garlic oil is often recommended as a natural way to address an earache. You can simply put 2-3 drops of the oil in the ear in question, cover with a cotton ball, and leave in the ear for about 15 minutes.  Lying on one's side with the affected ear up helps the oil to stay in the ear.

Homemade garlic oil is something some natural websites recommend, but I have heard that putting garlic oil in the ear can lead to heavy-duty detoxing that can cause more problems.  Plus garlic apparently spoils quickly and can lead to botulism. Botulism in the ear? No thank you.

10.  Breastmilk is touted on some natural living sites as being a dependable option for earaches. Breastmilk is known to have immune-boosting properties, so this makes sense.  Breastmilk is well known that breastfeeding provides helpful antibodies to the child, helping them to fight off bacterial and viral infections. (source)

Natural Earache Remedies We Have Used

child with cotton ball and medical tape on ear for earache relief

We have tried many of the above remedies with varying amounts of relief. And we've tried a few more.

To my recollection, we have never had to use antibiotics once for an ear infection or earache for our kids. Natural methods have always worked for us--thankfully!

Conclusion

I'm all about avoiding antibiotics and pharmaceuticals whenever possible.  I wrote some about how antibiotics and other drugs can affect gut health in my Candida and How I Went Sugar-Free series.

When my kid is in pain, I'm for trying almost anything.  Almost :).

Somehow these remedies support the body so that they can deal with what is ailing it. Of course, if you have concerns, speak with your physician. And if you need medication, take it. I just am deeply concerned about antibiotic overuse and so is my physician. Antibiotic resistance is a real problem and we need to take care when using those medications.

More Natural Health Topics:

- Eczema and Food Allergies - From Despair to Healing
- How a Mercury Filling Almost Took My Son's Life
- Natural Autism Support--Monster Included
- Natural Sleep Help for Kids--And Adults

What natural ear infection remedies have you used?

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551 Comments

  1. I cure earaches overnight.At bedtime before I go to sleep, I puncture a garlic softgel ( garlic softgel supplement) and squeezing the contents into the ear.I then place a cotton ball over the ear canal and put tape across it to hold it in place.When I wake up all the pain is gone and I can hear clearly so the earache is healed.I have used this method on myself, my husband and other adults in my family . I have not used thus method on children but the garlic softgels in the ears also cured an infection one of our pet rabbits had.

  2. I have tried tea tree oil on a cotton ball for an earache before. It seemed to work alright at the time.

    The other "home remedy" earache treatment I have tried is using Vick's on a cotton ball plugging the ear canal. It definitely creates a bit of a burning sensation at first, but mellows out the pain.

    Also as far as cotton balls are concerned, I don't think tape really is necessary. If you tear it to the right size it will plug into the end of the ear canal without falling out.

  3. Thanks for the article. Urine also help my son recover from ear pain after several other things failed to help him.

  4. As a child my mother used warm sweet oil for earaches and if that failed would have us kids pee on a cotton ball and stick it in our ear. The urine always worked quickly to end the earache. I still use it to this day.

  5. Please, you should consider DoTerra lavendar and coconut oil. All you have to do is put it in a roller bottle and put behind the ear 4 times a day. I do this at first twinge of pain and it goes away. If it's a more difficult case I also use the roller bottle on the inside of my ear and feet. OnGuard & lavendar has also worked.

  6. always have inside itching in my ear. L am looking for what to stop it. I do not feel Amy pains nor pores buy serious itching

  7. I've been having ear infection on my left ear since Wednesday, used drugs and ear drop but in Saturday the other ear got infected too.
    They seem to be blockage inside because the pus DOSENT come out(though i feel it ) and i feel it's full. Don't know what to do since the pain affected my jaw and i can rarely eat. all i do is swallow my meals.
    please does the urine treatment work for blocked pus as I'm really unbalanced by this.
    thanks

    1. Hi there. I'm sorry but I can't medically advise--I don't know that it does come out unless the eardrum bursts. I think that fullness can be from many things when talking about an eardrum -- not sure how you know it's pus?

  8. I think this is great! Going to suggest to a friend. I used my urine to cure poison ivy and oak..... I am highly allergic, it goes systmeic, nothing else EVER worked, I tried pee when a friend suggested it and Bam, fixed it right away and it did not go systemic!

      1. Hi! Thanks for the response! I have used all those except Goldenseal ( I never seem to have it around when it strikes) and the only one that has even helped a little is the salt. I actually use epsom salt, make it into a wash and then use washcloths over the area. I get this stuff BAD. So let me tell you, though it does in fact help, it HURTS. And it still takes time. I did it when my entire stomach and chest were covered and it was horribly painful. I have even grown my own Jewelweed to make salve...nope. I have used the urine twice since and I will continue with that remedy from now on it is SO much better. I agree I am an extreme case when it comes to this, so I am sure those other remedies may work for some. For me, I will stick with what works. The only other remedy I have heard of by a wisewoman is to eat it, and I am not willing to try that at this point. THANKS! Love your Blog! Thanks for sharing, we need more of this and your responses to folks needing some wake up!

  9. My mother recommended this. Apparently, my cousin had constant ear infections as a small child. So my Aunt went to go see the woman who dealt with natural remedies (we are native american) and she told her to make her child pee in a cup and put it in her ear. It cleared up her infections within a couple of days and she used that method the rest of her childhood and they cleared it up quickly each time. When my Aunt got an ear infection later in life she immediately did it herself and found it helped her quickly too. I'm current about to give it a try. I've had an ear infection since last friday (its now thursday) and have been on antibiotics since sunday with very little improvement.

      1. I ended up trying it on my daughter who came down with an earache right after I did. It cleared it up completely in 2 days. It didn't cure mine but it greatly relieved the pain until my family doctor could see me and prescribe stronger antibiotics. I also have a compromised immune system so I figured I wouldn't be able to fight it off completely on my own.

  10. I have found urine to be a great helming agent for eye styes. I agree whole heartedly about danger of antibiotic overuse, what have you done in cases of kid strep? My son had it a second time and I gave in to antibiotics after he hit 105.6 fever. Also I'd appreciate your recommendations in toddler gut re-building after antibiotics.

    Thanks!

    1. For my kids, we didn't know if they had strep but I suspected it. I did a crushed garlic clove with raw honey and cayenne.

      I have a lot of thoughts on gut bacteria but probiotics are something we prioritize. This post might be of interest: https://wholenewmom.com/health-concerns/low-histamine-probiotics/

      Depending on your needs there are some in there that should be of interest. I featured 1 in particular that I really like. I'm doing more research :).

  11. Thank you Adrienne for this information, I’ll certainly try it when needed, I do believe that my body knows what it is best for itself, and by all means I prefer natural medicine. And thank you because you have the courage to share this, not everyone would be willing to say it, as it could be controversial

  12. Thank you so much for this! I am a natural remedy type of woman..I truly believe in our bodies abilities to adapt and fight off illness/disease. after fighting a cold this week, doing everything in my power to naturally get myself better..I felt much better and went to work today. Almost as soon as I get there I started getting ear pain I’ve never had an ear ache before and let me say I wish nobody has to go through this! I thought the flu/cold was bad! This is painful! Will be trying my own STERILE urine as soon as I finish this glass of water!! I’ve been fasting for days and drinking only alkaline mineral water so I trust my urine to be exceptionally clean haha. Thank you thank you thank you! The power of our bodies is REAL! We just have to get in touch with them and listen ! Intuitively. I also have sweet basil oil that I will try later too! Thanks again, mama!

  13. That is so stupid. Urine is highly infectious and unsanitary. It goes out of your body for a reason. Maybe the basil oil worked but not the urine. Don’t try this!

    1. Hi there. Maybe you should confront those who write books on urine therapy instead of me? I have addressed your concerns in the post.

      Not all things that come out of ones body are highly infectious and unsanitary. The basil oil didn't work for us. I've tried it numerous times. Thanks for reading!