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I used to get ear infections pretty often as a kid. So much so that the doctor recommended putting tubes in my ears. Thank goodness my parents didn’t let him because as coincidence would have it, I stopped getting ear infections shortly afterwards. While ear tubes are not recommend much anymore (some research has shown they could pose more risk than harm) kids still do get ear infections just as often as they did 20 years ago. And as any parent will attest to, it’s disheartening to watch a little one suffer from an ear infection.
As some of us can relate to, most physicians will head straight for the prescription pad when your child is diagnosed with an ear infection. Unfortunately, antibiotics cause an array of long and short term complications to our health. So, most of us #LifeFromScratch mommies try to steer clear of them as much as possible.
Thankfully, there are still many remedies in grandma’s medicine cabinet that actually do work.
From castor oil compresses to arnica for bruising; herbs, oils, and holistic remedies are very powerful indeed. Plus with the growing field of naturopathic medicine there are even studies to prove the effects of many of these remedies! One of these treatments from grandma’s stockpile is garlic oil for ear infections and ear aches. It is very easy to make, uses ingredients we all have on hand, and is quite effective.
Garlic is a superstar in this ear oil.
When used holistically it has antibacterial, antiviral, immune enhancing, anti-fungal, blood thinning, and cholesterol lowering effects. The most powerful of the components responsible for the amazing properties is allicin, (source). However, the catch is the stability of allicin is quite poor (source), so there is some question as to how well long this mixture lasts.
Allicin starts to degrade within 30 minutes of the garlic being crushed or chopped. And how quickly it degrades varies greatly depending on multiple factors, which are much to difficult to control in a home.
This means that even day old garlic oil is not nearly as potent as freshly made.
For me I want the most effective oil to be used, so I choose to make this fresh each time I need it. The remaining oil can be saved for cooking or salad dressing or what have you. However, this is really personal preference as I do know some who keep this oil for months in their medicine cabinet.
- In a small sauce pan over low heat, warm the olive oil. Make sure to not get the oil too hot that it smokes or even so hot that it will sauté the garlic.
- When the oil is WARM add the minced garlic and swirl in the pan. The moment the garlic becomes fragrant remove it from the heat, you’re not actually trying to cook the garlic just heat it to the point it releases its germ fighting compounds. If you get it too hot the allicin degrades much faster.
- Place in a small glass container and let cool to a temperature tolerable for use.
- Strain the mixture.
- Store in a dark colored glass bottle with a dropper.
- Apply 1-2 drops inside each ear canal as well as rub another drop or so on the external entrance. You can also rub some behind the ear in the area where the lobe connects to the head. In most people there should be a small indentation here to make it easy to identify.
- To help keep the oil in the ear you may need to use a little cotton at the entrance of the ear. Or try placing one drop on the cotton in addition to in the canal and keeping it in the ear overnight.
- To really boost the healing process, place a hot damp washcloth over the ear for about 20 minutes while the garlic oil is instilled. The damp heat expands the blood vessels so blood, and the germ fighting white blood cells, rush to the area to speed up healing.
- The oil should help soothe pain and fight of the bacteria which are causing the infection. Use as often as needed when pain returns.