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You know the drill: a red, uncomfortable ear, crying in the middle of the night, and probably a fever. It’s another ear infection.

If your child is prone to getting painful ear infections and you spend some time on the Internet looking for home remedies, you’re likely to run across references to garlic oil as a curative for ear infections. But is there any truth to it?

Garlic and garlic oil have been used for centuries as a remedy for naturally relieving the pain of ear infections. In fact, an active ingredient in garlic is allicin, which studies say has antibacterial and antiviral properties that can help an ear infection resolve more quickly.

Garlic and garlic oil have been used for centuries as a remedy for naturally relieving the pain of ear infections.

Two clinical studies evaluating the use of an herbal mixture of mullein and garlic in children with ear infections showed that the treatments were effective in reducing pain and discomfort. However, the researchers stated that the garlic oil may have had little effect on the infection itself since the eardrum creates a natural barrier to reaching the infection site. As a result, the infection resolved on its own.

Some experts say that herbal extracts may be beneficial and offer new options in the treatment of the ear pain associated with infections. These extracts can also be much less expensive than some prescription pain medication drops.

Garlic extracts are available both online and at health food stores. Experts caution, however, that pure garlic and its oil are too harsh to place directly in the ear, and that herbal drops are much milder. Remember that it is always a good idea to speak with your pediatrician before trying any alternative treatments.

Reviewed by Dr. Sara Connolly, January 2019

Takeaways

  • Garlic and garlic oil have been used for centuries as homeopathic remedies.
  • In clinical studies, an herbal mixture of mullein and garlic effectively reduced pain and discomfort in children aged 6-10 with ear infections.
  • Some experts support the use of herbal extracts in treating the ear pain associated with infections.
  • Always discuss alternative treatments with your pediatrician before trying them.

References

  1. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. Efficacy of Naturopathic Extracts in the Management of Ear Pain Associated With Acute Otitis Media.
  2. Pediatrics. Naturopathic treatment for ear pain in children.
  3. International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology. Management of acute otitis media in an era of increasing antibiotic resistance.

Comments

  1. My mother in law wanted me to stick a clove of garlic in my infant son’s ears, put tape over it and hold everything in place with a hat! Needless to say – I just took him to the pediatrician and got antibiotics. 🙂

    Reply
  2. Thanks for this article. I have read about this before and wondered if it worked.

    Reply

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