Holistic Approaches To Ear Infections


Before we get to the holistic approaches, let’s discuss what ear infections are, how to prevent them, and why they happen.:


A few words on antibiotics:

  • Most people assume that ear infections need antibiotics. Not true, read on.

  • Antibiotics are used to treat ear infections in those less than 6months old.

  • The Academy of Pediatrics recommends Watchful Waiting for 48-72hrs in those children over 6months old who are not very ill, do not have any chronic medical problems, do not have a ruptured tympanic membrane, or do not have a clear infection.

    • 80% of ear infections in healthy children resolve without antibiotics within 2-7 days

    • children who get antibiotics for ear infections, have a much higher risk of recurrence of ear infections and antibiotic use, compared to children who have never had antibiotics

    • early antibiotic use in children has been linked to Inflammatory Bowel Disease

    • pain can and should be controlled for 48-72hrs as needed.  Anti-inflammatory remedies are recommended. Remember that the eustachian tube is swollen and the middle ear is full of pus.  If swelling is decreased, the eustachian tube opens, and pus/fluid will drain out of the ear in most cases.  Pain from ear infections is caused by pressure build-up in the middle ear.

    • keep the nose clear of snot as much as possible

  • If ear pain does not resolve in 48-72hrs or it becomes severe despite management with anti-inflammatories, other modalities, and nasal irrigation, then antibiotics are recommended by the AAP.

Holistic Remedies For Ear Infections

Pain control

  • Warm Water Bottle or Warm Wet Washcloth infused with rosemary or tea tree oil. Apply the compress to the outside of the ear until the pain subsides.

  • Mullein Garlic Ear Drops or Eclectic Institute Ear Drops have been shown in a clinical study in 103 children to be as effective at reducing pain as prescription anesthetic drops. You can also chop up garlic and mix in warm olive oil for 20 min. Strain the garlic and store the infused oil in a dark glass bottle and store it in the fridge. Apply 3 drops to the affected ear (warm) every 3hrs as needed. Do not use oily ear drops the day of a doctor’s appointment because it will obstruct the view to the eardrum.

  • Turmeric and Ginger combo are potent anti-inflammatories. My favorite is from Leefy Organics because its liquid formulation does not contain alcohol. It only has turmeric, ginger, black pepper, and vegetable glycerin.

  • If all else fails, it is ok to use dye-free ibuprofen every 6hrs for 2 days to reduce pain and inflammation. Several doses of ibuprofen are better than 10 days of antibiotics.




Keep the nose clear

As per my in depth review of ear infections, the nose passages are directly linked with the inner ear. The nasal passages should be kept as clear as possible to let the ears drain.

  1. Xlear Saline Nose Spray

    1. With Xylitol and Grape Fruit, Seed Extract is a great option to rinse the nose and thin out the boogers. 2 Sprays per nare three times daily and then have the child blow their nose or you suction their nose.

  2. Colloidal Silver Sinus Rinse

    • A small study in 2018, of 22 patients showed that 10 days of twice-daily 0.015 mg/mL colloidal silver was as effective as oral antibiotics for treatment of stubborn chronic sinus infections.

    • Sn Italian study in 2011, of 100 children, 0-12yrs old, demonstrated the positive effect of colloidal silver. Kids were selected to either be in the test group – colloidal silver + beta-glucan solution vs saline only. 90% of the kids in the test group recovered without adverse outcomes. 10% developed ear infections, bronchitis, or tracheitis. 66% of the kids in the control group got better, with 34% developing adverse outcome

    • S study in 2011, demonstrated significant activity of colloidal silver against H1N1 in the lab


The Wet Sock Method


  • 1 pair of very thin socks, liner socks or polypropylene socks

  • 1 pair of thick wool socks or thick polypropylene socks

  • 2 sets of sweats or pajamas

  • 1 bowl of ice water


  1. Soak the pair of thin socks in the bowl of ice water. Then wring the socks out thoroughly so they do not drip.

  2. Take a hot bath for 5-10 minutes. This is very important for the effectiveness of the treatment. In fact, it could be harmful if your feet are not warmed first.

  3. Dry off feet and body with a dry towel.

  4. Place ice-cold wet socks on feet. Then cover with thick wool socks.

  5. Put on the first set of pajamas. Go directly to bed. Place the second set of pajamas next to the bed. Avoid getting chilled.

  6. Wear the socks overnight. During the night, you may wake up with your whole body wet from sweat. If so, change into the dry pajamas, but leave on the socks.

  7. You will find that the wet cotton socks will be dry in the morning.

  8. Medical Research? none. Effective? so far 100% of my patients have seen a benefit for their congestion.

Ear Massage


If we look at my practice, many patients have been able to recover from their ear infections when we added chiropractor referrals to their treatment regiment. In the medical literature, there is one study done on 46 children 5yrs and younger, which showed resolution of symptoms with chiropractic manipulations. The study had flaws but it clearly demonstrated benefits.

Foods To Heal

  • Fruits and Veggies

  • Water

  • Bone Broth

  • Many of my patients swear by the onion method. Cut the onion in half or chop it. Heat it up a bit to release its juices. Place it in a sock or between gauze and hold it in place with a headband over the affected ear. Medical research? None. Old remedy from many generations. Side effects: None.

Foods To Stop Eating

  • Stop eating dairy when congestion arrives to help prevent ear infections

  • Dairy: milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, cream cheese, butter. Here is one of several studies on cow milk and ear infections.


Here is a list of Supplements to Treat Ear Infections. The blog post includes a list my favorite brands. Go HERE for my online Supplement Store.

  • Zinc

  • Vitamin D3/K2

  • Probiotics

  • Elderberry Syrup

  • Vitamin C

  • Juice Plus

  • Omega 3

Essential Oils

Basil, Oregano, and Tea Tree Oil. 1 drop to 5ml of carrier oil – fractionated coconut oil or olive oil. Rub essential oil around the ear focusing on the bony part behind the ear. You can use these oils to do the Ear Massage as shown above. You can place essential oils on a cotton swab and hold it in place with a headband over the affected ear, never in the ear canal.

These essential oils have been shown in numerous studies to have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. Tea tree oil can be irritating to the skin so I do not recommend placing essential oils in the ear canal. Tea Tree Oil Study Oregano Oil Study. Basil EO was found to be effective in treating ear infections in rats in this study. Cotton balls were soaked with diluted EO as above and placed in rat ear canals.

NOTE: never place anything in the ear canal if the tympanic membrane may have ruptured.

Lamigex ear drops for Swimmer’s Ear

A small-scale 2014 clinical trial compared the effects of standard Ciprofloxacin ear infection drops with a mixture containing the following essential oils:

  • Clove oil, Syzygium aromaticum

  • Lavender oil, Lavandula angustifolia

  • Herb-Robert oil, Geranium robertianum

Hope this relieves some of the stress associated with ear infections and empowers you to better care for your children.

Easy Shopping

Here is the link to my online supplement store for all your needs – including supplements, ear drops, colloidal silver, and essential oils.


In Good Health, Dr. Ana-Maria


My Latest Posts

Eat Less Sugar Challenge

Sugar Sugar everywhere. There is a strong correlation between sugar and eczema and other chronic diseases. Our kids and...


Homemade Dairy Free Ranch Dressing

Making Homemade Ranch Dressing and getting kids cooking in the kitchen A study conducted in Alberta Canada in 2012 and published…


Crispy Baked Tofu with Italian Herbs

This is a flavorful family favorite that tastes just like pizza! When you have kids, you know that’s a win. This…


Download Dr. Temple's Mega-list of Approved Packaged Foods

Sign up with your email address to receive your free download, tips, news and updates!

Scroll to Top