When I was a young mom, my kids often had earaches. The pain usually intensified in the evening hours when their activity slowed and the pediatrician’s office was closed. I hated the idea of taking them to urgent care when their immune systems were already working hard, knowing they would be exposed to all kinds of new germs. I also read that the majority of earaches and infections were not actually helped by the antibiotics we were running around in the night to get. This motivated me to research effective natural remedies that I could make easily at home.
Over the years, I’ve refined this ear oil process down to a quick and easy procedure that you will love! A few disclaimers before we get started though… First, there is always a very slight risk of botulism when raw garlic is sitting around in oil. Although this risk is extremely low with this oil because it is gently heated, it is still not an edible product. If you have small children, keep it out of reach and do not let them get it into their mouth when you are treating their ears.
It is also very important that you never put liquid of any kind into an ear where the eardrum has ruptured. If your child has a simple earache from playing outside in the wind or too much swimming, this is perfectly safe to use. If your child has an ear infection, you must check the eardrum before you treat it with this oil. There are two ways that you can do this. First, you can ask your pediatrician to take a quick peek for you. They can look easily and give you the green light to try a natural remedy for a few days. This however does not do anything to avoid the midnight urgent care runs! Another option is to purchase a simple ear scope and look yourself. This is not nearly as complex as it sounds. Here is a link to purchase my favorite ear scope http://www.amazon.com/Notoco-Otoscope-1202-Scope-Specula/dp/B000CEAXEM. This book is full of photographs of eardrums to help you interpret what you are seeing http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0964231417/ref=olp_product_details?ie=UTF8&me=&seller=. I sincerely promise that this is not rocket science. Once you know the eardrum is intact, you can get your oil ready.
You only need three ingredients and about thirty minutes to make this oil. The flowers that this calls for are called mullein flowers. I like to buy them from Mountain Rose Herbs but they should carry them at any local health food store. Buy them at the beginning of cold and flu season so that you are ready to go when the sore ears strike.
Smash the garlic cloves with a heavy knife and place them in a small saucepan. Add a nice handful of mullein flowers in one layer with the garlic. Just cover the ingredients with olive oil and place them on the stove over VERY low heat. Set a timer for ten minutes and stay right with the oil.
Watch the oil during the ten minutes, making sure that only the tiniest bubbles are forming around the garlic. Do not let the oil sizzle, which will cook the garlic rather than extracting its powerful properties. If the heat seems too high, remove your pot from the fire and then briefly put it back and forth to keep the bubbles small. After ten minutes, set the pot aside and set the timer for another ten minute interval. You can leave the oil sit like this for several hours as well, but I’ve never been able to manage to make this ahead of time and sore ears don’t wait for hours. While you wait, set up a colander with a cheesecloth or paper towel to strain the oil completely.
Once the ten minutes have past, pour the oil into the lined colander to insure that none of the solids make it into your oil.
Once most of the oil has strained, squeeze the cheesecloth or paper towel so that none of your ear oil is wasted.
Place your finished oil into a clean dry container. I like using a tincture bottle since it makes application easier.
Before you use the oil each time, make sure it is sealed tightly and place it into a mug of hot water. Leave it a few minutes until the oil is comfortably warm but not hot. Test it on the inside of your wrist before you place it in your child’s ear. This will make you smell like a garlic clove so your house with be totally protected from vampires.
When the oil is warm, have your child lay on their side (ouchy side up) so that they can comfortably watch a movie or listen to a story for about ten minutes. With a towel nearby, place a few drops of ear oil right into the eardrum. If your patient is young and wiggly, you can put a small piece of cotton at the opening to keep the oil from dripping out. An older child can just hold a towel nearby to grab any drips. Once about ten minutes has past, have the child sit up holding a towel over the ear. Ask them to tip their head to the side so that the oil will drip out. Do not clean out the ear canal because the remaining oil will continue to soothe the ear throughout the day. This ear oil can also be used effectively for adults with earaches or infections. Use the exact directions from above since adults act like babies when they are sick.
Repeat these directions a couple of times a day until the symptoms have passed. This oil will keep in the refrigerator for a few weeks, but I always use it up quickly and make a fresh batch for each sore ear.
Have a vibrantly healthy Fall!