Listen up: natural ways to treat earaches

Don't fall on deaf ears about this earache advice. With these home remedies, you can feel your best.

Listen up: natural ways to treat earaches

Heat and medicinal plants are the traditional mainstays for treating earwax and earaches naturally. Home medicine also offers useful advice to combat annoying ringing or roaring in the ears, and alleviate discomfort.

If you're susceptible to earaches, don't leave the house in cold weather without a protective hat or scarf, or at least a little cotton in your ears. When swimming, wear a bathing cap or don wax or silicone earplugs to avoid getting water in your ears. Consult a doctor immediately if your child has an earache, or if an adult's earache does not respond to home treatment within a short time.

  • Heat alleviates pain. Gently press a warmed flaxseed pillow against your painful ear, treat the ear with infrared light or lay your head on a hot water bottle overnight.
  • Dribble clove oil onto a cotton ball and insert it in the entrance to your ear canal to relieve pain.
  • Stir 45 millilitres (three tablespoons) of mustard powder into warm water to form a thin paste, spread on a handkerchief and place behind your sore ear for 15 minutes.
  • Try eardrops. For homemade eardrops, mix three drops of tea tree oil and 15 millilitres (one tablespoon) of olive or almond oil and warm the mixture in a double boiler to body temperature. Tip your head to the side and use an eyedropper to dribble the drops into the affected ear.
  • Drink 500 to 750 millilitres (two to three cups) of meadowsweet tea per day. It alleviates pain.
  • Place slices of raw onion behind your ear and hold them in place with a headband. It has long been known that onions have formidable anti-inflammatory properties. It's a quick (if smelly) traditional home remedy.
  • Even more effective, but a bit more work, is a chopped onion wrap. The heat has an additional role in soothing pain. Hold the wrap in place with a wool scarf or cap and leave it on your ear for 30 minutes. Apply three times a day.

Earwax drops

The purpose of earwax is to protect your eardrums, keep the skin moist and guard against dust and other particles. Normally the ear cleans itself, but sometimes wax builds up in your auditory canal and hardens into a plug. If water gets in, it will swell up and may partially or completely block your auditory canal.

Important note: Removal of a wax plug should be left to medical professionals — under no circumstances should you try to remove an earplug by inserting any kind of object into your ear. Try these remedies to help the earwax plug soften and be released.

  • Dribble a little slightly warmed tea tree oil or glycerin into your ear canal.
  • Place a cotton ball moistened with St. John's wort oil in the entrance to the auditory canal.
  • Mix a few drops of olive oil with a little lemon juice and water. Use a dropper to dribble the mixture into your ear. Eardrops from a pharmacy are also suitable for this purpose.

Good to know

Don't use cotton swabs to clean your ears — they merely push the wax in deeper. Inserting a plastic syringe filled with fluid into your ear can injure your eardrum, so get a doctor to do it if you feel it's necessary. The same is true of using ear candles to cleanse your ear canal.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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