Crying, pulling on red, irritated little ears, boogery noses & cold symptoms that go along with it. Uhg. The dreaded ear infection. Fortunately we have not dealt with ear infections with our toddler yet, but I like to be prepared with the knowledge and supplies to treat things as they come up.
Enter garlic & mullein oil, the evident gold standard of ear infection care.
Garlic is a renowned antibacterial infection fighter, mullein will sooth pain and help fight the infection, and the olive oil will contribute to pain relief as well.
As a contrast, if you head to the pediatrician, you will most likely be given a prescription antibiotic that will irritate your child’s system and probably not do much to cure them. In fact, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that “ ’80 out of 100 otherwise healthy children would recover from an acute ear infection within a few days if given medication only to relieve pain or fevers. If all 100 were given antibiotics instead, 92 would be better in the same period.’ said Dr. Tumaini Coker, the study’s lead author.”
I want to quickly emphasize the importance of not putting drops of any sort in a ruptured ear drum. You can obtain an otoscope, the tool doctors use for examining ears, online to help you determine the extent of your child’s infection. If your child’s ear infection is not starting to heal within a few days, is getting worse instead of better, or if the ears are draining pus/blood, please seek medical attention.
Garlic/Mullein oil will treat an ear infection caused by congestion, but will not help when ear pain is caused by water in the ear canal (swimmer’s ear.) You can generally tell the difference because congestion will be accompanied by cold symptoms. If your child has been swimming lately or may have gotten water in the ear from a long shower or bath, consider treating with drops of rubbing alcohol, apple cider vinegar, or witch hazel to help dry out the ears.
You can easily make garlic/mullein oil at home with just three ingredients. You likely have garlic and olive oil at home already and will only need to obtain mullein flower. This can be purchased online or can probably be harvested from around where you live.
I was shocked to find Mullein growing along the edges of our driveway and on the edges of the fields around our house. Being that it grows up to 6 feet, has a tall spike of bright yellow flowers, and has giant leaves 5-8 inches long and a few inches broad, it’s definitely catches your eye once you know what it is and it grows in a wide variety of areas (from zone 3-9) So keep an eye out this summer! I will add a post about the Mullein plant, it’s benefits and uses, etc. closer to summer when it can be harvested outside.
– 1/2 Cup of oil. I used Olive oil.
– 1.5 heaping tablespoons of dried Mullein flower
– 3 cloves or 1 Tbsp garlic finely minced.
– pint jar with lid
– Mince garlic and add it to the pint jar
-Add Mullein and pat it down
– Add oil to cover the herbs. This will stir everything up, but it will settle back down.
– Cover tightly with a lid. (I used a mason jar)Set in the sun to infuse for 2 to 4 weeks. Shake as you remember. Some people say shake daily, some recipes omit this part of the process.
The Herbal Apothecary suggests using 1-3 drops in each ear 2 times per day. The Earth Mama blog suggests using 3-5 drops 2-3 times per day. Starting at a smaller dose and working your way up as needed seems to be the most logical thing to do. You can also rub some oil around the outer part of the ears and on the back or chest to aid in healing. Rosemary Gladstar notes the importance of treating both ears as the ear canals are connected and infection can move back and forth between ears.
Garlic/Mullein oil is a great addition to any family’s home apothecary, and I would encourage you to make a supply so you are prepared before you need it. I would love to hear about your experience using Mullein for ear infection; leave a comment with any other tips or ideas for treating ear infections!
As always, I want to add a disclaimer that I am not a medical professional and am not giving medical advice; I am merely sharing information about herbs and my experience as I learn and grow in my own knowledge. Also, my posts may have affiliate links.