Obligatory disclaimer: before we kick off our list of natural ways to manage ear ailments, it’s important to consult your medical practitioner for expert advice should you experience any ear-related concerns.
Did you know that five in six children will experience an ear infection by the age of three? More often than not it’s simply a case of mild inflammation, easily remedied by natural baby products.
Ear congestion is arguably more common among both adults and children since it occurs alongside sinus congestion or, in more common parlance, when you get a cold. And then there’s glue ear, which again affects children more than adults, and is characterised by the middle ear filling with a glue-like fluid. Sensorineural hearing loss is one of the most common ear conditions in cases of problematic gut health, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
The list of possible ear ailments goes on.
Luckily, the list of immune-boosting supplements that can help restore ear health are as numerous, and, in this article, include vitamin C, collagen, omega 3, and probiotics.
- Vitamin C and collagen are arguably some of the most important components of ear health (and natural skin care, too). The immune boosting benefits of Vitamin C aside, it is an essential component of natural collagen production in the body. Collagen, in case you didn’t know, is a protein that helps with the synthesis of cartilage – the flexible tissue found between bones, in the nose, and ears.
- Vitamins A and E, when combined with vitamin C can help protect against inner ear cell damage by slowing production of free radicals.
- Where omega 3 is concerned, studies have shown that it can reduce the risk of hearing loss up to 42%, especially in older adults.
- Probiotics are excellent for gut health, and have been found to prevent or minimise intestinal inflammation.
- Bonus supplement: Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It is a strong antioxidant and possesses powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Named the ‘golden spice’ for its treatment of tinnitus (also linked to inflammation), it can be used to treat general middle ear infection.
But the problem with many supplements is that they’re attacked by the gastric system as soon as they are consumed, resulting in minimal absorption by the body.
Lypospheric supplements solve this problem.
Lypospheric refers to Liposomal Encapsulation Technology which essentially means that the molecules of the supplement is wrapped in spherical liposomes made of the same material found in living cells.
Aaah, the sweet smell of… tea tree oil? Basil? In a 2005 study researchers found that oil of basil healed up to 86% of animals with acute ear infection. Tea tree oil, on the other hand, contains terpinen-4-ol, which essentially kills bacteria off on contact.
Oregano oil and garlic oil can be added to the list of essential oils known to alleviate ear discomfort.
Some swear by homeopathy, which is based on the principle of ‘like cures like’. It operates on the scientific principle of hormesis . What this means is that the homeopathic substance or solution, when taken in large quantities, will produce similar symptoms as the disease or discomfort. When taken in smaller or diluted quantities, it can prove beneficial and act as a healing agent.
As such, homeopathic ear drops may contain a variety of ingredients which seek to match the profile or symptoms of the ear ailment. Otitis and Nr. 4 Tissue Salts are examples of these, and prove to be extremely effective.
Other homeopathic ingredients for ear ailments include chamomile, pulsatilla, and sulphur.
Note, however, that the guidance of an experienced homeopath is always recommended, especially when you’re not getting the desired result.
Looking for a safe, non-invasive alternative to prescription or over-the-counter medication?
Chiropractic adjustment is a gentle therapy which aims to reduce joint restrictions or misalignments. Through these adjustments nervous system function and spinal health are corrected and maintained, helping the body to fend off inflammation, which is one of the most common ear ailments in both children and adults.
Last on the list is a somewhat unconventional option, but one that we’ve found to work wonders nevertheless. Some home-made recipes can prove just the tonic to help speedy recovery from ear ailments, such as our very own recipe for garlic oil:
What you’ll need:
- Four tablespoons of pure virgin olive oil
- One garlic clove
- Empty the pure virgin olive oil into a saucepan and place on low heat
- Chop up the garlic clove and add it to the oil
- The mixture should not boil, but rather heat slowly
- Leave on low heat for about 7 minutes until the smell of garlic fills your kitchen
- Remove the mixture from heat and strain it into a glass container
- Apply drops of the mixture to the ear when sufficiently cooled. Alternatively, soak cotton wool in the mixture and apply the soaked cotton wool to the ear.
Now it’s your turn. What are your favourite remedies for ear ailments? Let us know which supplements, essential oils, or chiropractic solutions have helped ease your discomfort and sped you on the path to recovery.
“The ears and the heart are connected, it’s true, for when ears open wide, the heart opens up too.”– Richelle E. Goodrich