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I don’t know that I have ever had an ear infection. Somehow I’m blessed with having some sort of immunity to earaches. My husband was not so lucky; he constantly had ear infections and was put on all the meds (eventually becoming immune to many of them) and got quite familiar with his ear, nose, & throat doctor.
Thankfully, he grew out of having ear infections around the time we got married. He has had one or two in the last 13 years that we’ve been married. Once required a 3am trip to the store to buy painkillers (pre-natural living days) and the other meant I whipped up a batch of mullein garlic oil.
Garlic oil? What does making a pungent oil that I could use for dipping bread in have to do with ear infections?
Garlic oil is one of those great home remedies for ear infections that crazy enough works like a charm! Better yet, you don’t have to buy any crazy ingredients because I bet you have garlic and oil in your kitchen!
You’ll notice that this post is titled “DIY Mullein Garlic Oil” but just in case you don’t have mullein lying about at 3am… you can also make just garlic oil which works almost as well the mullein just gives the remedy an extra boost.
But first, let’s go over why you wouldn’t want to just pick up meds from the doctor.
Reasons to Avoid Antibiotics for Ear Infections
Antibiotics are commonly prescribed for ear infections but most earaches are caused by viruses. Antibiotics do not work on viruses.
Taking antibiotics more often than needed can harm gut health and build up an immunity to antibiotics leaving you with fewer options for when you really do need them.
Most ear infections clear up on their own within 1-3 days without any intervention.
But even if an ear infection clears up in a few days that doesn’t mean it’s pain free which is why many turn to painkillers like acetaminophen … but painkillers come with their own issues.
Reasons to Avoid Acetaminophen for Ear Infections
Acetaminophen can cause liver toxicity (granted this has to do with overdosing)
If used for reducing a fever, acetaminophen can actually elongate the healing process. Fevers have their purpose and should only be reduced when absolutely necessary. You can learn more in my post: Fevers: friend or foe.
Acetaminophen has been shown to increase risk of asthma and allergies in children.
What is a natural minded person to do with trying to deal with an ear infection?
Mullein Garlic Oil!
You might have seen mullein garlic oil in stores or online when shopping for a natural ear infection remedy. These are great but sometimes you don’t have a store that carries it that is open at 3am (let’s face it, not all stores carry all the natural remedy stuff!)
Sometimes you just don’t want to pay so much for a remedy that you only use once in a blue moon. I’ve only had to use mullein garlic oil maybe a handful of times in the last decade and that’s with a husband and 5 kids!
I prefer to make this DIY Mullein Garlic Oil for ear infection! It’s super simple to make an herb infused oil and you can make it in under 30 minutes if you are rushed for time. It is also very inexpensive particularly if you are making just the garlic oil and leaving out the mullein
What Makes Mullein Garlic Oil So Great
Mullein is a pretty yellow flower that is known to help ease discomfort and is anti-inflammatory. This is just what you need when dealing with an ear infection! As the herbalist, Jim McDonald explains, “Mullein flower oil is often combined with infused garlic oil, and there are few remedies as effective for ear infections”
Garlic is more that just a tasty ingredient in food. Garlic is antimicrobial which means it can fight against ear infections whether caused from viruses or bacteria!
Even the oil you choose to use can help with easing earaches! Olive oil is said to help calm irritation, inflammation, and pain which is helpful for ear infections. Olive oil also has antibacterial and antiviral properties. (Note: you could use any liquid oil if you are out of olive oil. I’ve used avocado oil before.)
What If I Don’t Have Mullein?
No mullein? No problem! Just make garlic oil. Of course, mullein is a very helpful ingredient to include but even if you have to leave it out, garlic oil still does an amazing job of dealing with earaches!
Warnings About Using DIY Mullein Garlic Oil for Ear Infections
The only real warning you need to know when it comes to this remedy is that if the eardrum has ruptured then you can’t put mullein garlic oil in the ear (you can’t put anything in the ear for that matter!)
If ruptured or perforated ear drums is a common concern in your home then you might want to pick up this otoscope so you can check things out yourself before putting any remedies in the ear.
Mullein Garlic Oil also doesn’t work for swimmer’s ear. Sorry.
DIY Mullein Garlic Oil for Ear Infections
Slow Infusion (takes a few weeks):
Place mullein and garlic into a small jar and cover with enough olive oil so that everything is submerged.
Cover with a piece of muslin and let infused in a dark, warm spot for 2-3 weeks.
Make sure to check on the oil occasionally to make sure that everything is still submerged.
After the 2-3 weeks are over, strain through muslin or coffee filter.
Store in a clean bottle with dropper in the refrigerator.
Fast Infusion (for those sudden ear infections):
Place mullein and garlic into a small mason jar and cover with enough olive oil so that everything is submerged.
Place the jar into a small pot that has about an inch of water in it. (you want the water to come up to the jar about 1/4-1/2 way)
Heat over a simmer for 20-30 minutes.
Strain through muslin or coffee filter and allow to cool to room temperature before using.
Store in a clean bottle with dropper in the refrigerator.
How to Use DIY Mullein Garlic Oil for Ear Infections
Have the person with the ear infection lay with offending ear up.
Place 2-4 room temperature drops of oil into the ear.
If needed, cover the ear with a cotton ball (I usually skip this part but can be helpful for young kids)
Have the person lay with their ear up for 5 minutes.
Repeat as needed (you should probably aim for a few times a day but you can do it as often as every 30 minutes)
More Helpful Tips for Ear Infections
Lavender oil around the outside of the ear can help with pain and inflammation as well. Lavender oil is one of the only oils you can use undiluted but to be safe you may want to dilute 1 drop of lavender essential oil in 1 drop of olive oil (or any carrier oil). Lavender is also safe for kids! Read here for more about essential oil safety.
A warm rice bag can also bring relief when dealing with ear infection pain.
McDonald, Jim. (n.d.). Mullein, Vebascum thapsus. From http://www.herbcraft.org/mullein.html