Many factors can lead to a severe earache including problems of the gums, throat and teeth or the inflammation of the outer ear canal (otitis media) associated with swelling and discharge. In this guide,
Discover the best essential oils for earaches and ear infections as well as soothing essential oil blends that will help with ear pain and congestion. These have been backed by science and can help you avoid antibiotics and soothe ear pain associated with ear infections in children and adults.
Earaches and Ear Infections
Earaches and ear infections can be extremely painful and distressing; unfortunately, they often strike in the middle of the night, disrupting sleep and adding to the distress. Ear infections are very common in childhood, and some kids are even known to suffer from as many as 4-6 of them each year.
Earaches occur when the Eustachian tubes get clogged up due to mucus or hardened wax. An upper respiratory infection also results in an earache as the tubes are unable to drain adequately which stops them from receiving oxygen supply.
The air already in the middle ear is absorbed leading to a vacuum action that sucks the eardrum inwards. This causes severe pain, especially at night-time when the tubes are unable to drain normally. A cold, sinus infection or allergy can also lead to earaches at night-time.
Never Overlook Ear Infections
Ear infections need to be taken seriously; failure to do so could result in rupture or bursting of the eardrum. This occurs when there is a continuous build-up of fluid inside the middle ear. This condition is fortunately reversible, but it may take up to 2 weeks to heal completely.
Another complication of ear infection is mastoiditis which is damage to the middle ears bones. This may need surgical intervention. Some kids with severe ear infections are also known to suffer from the irreversible hearing loss. A rare complication of unchecked ear infection is meningitis which can cause damage to the tissues of the brain and spinal cord.
Causes of Ear Infections
Common causes of ear infections are upper respiratory illnesses such as sinusitis, coughs, allergies, etc. Children going to day-care get more colds which, in turn, lead to several ear infections. In babies, undeveloped nerves can affect the Eustachian tubes leading to frequent infections.
Smokers are not only prone to more ear infections; they also unknowingly harm the kids and elderly in their vicinity through passive smoking. Improper diet in the form of higher intake of sugar and fats can also weaken immunity and lead to ear infections.
Antibiotics for Ear Infections
Ear infections….antibiotics…ear infections….more antibiotics…more ear infections …more antibiotics. This becomes a vicious cycle for millions of babies and toddlers each year. For many children growing up, antibiotics and ear infections are the ultimate fate.
And in spite of antibiotics, many children continue to have problems until they are 6-7 years of age. There are many issues with antibiotics which parents need to take seriously:
- Overuse of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria
- These drugs are associated with many adverse side effects
- There is conflicting information regarding whether antibiotics are effective for the majority of children with otitis media
- Antibiotics can destroy useful bacteria like Lactobacillus acidophilus which is necessary for proper digestion. and gut health.
Many studies have now shown that majority of the cases of ear pain will resolve on their own without antibiotics or serious outcomes. Earaches are frequently diagnosed as ear infections, but they could simply be ear inflammation characterised by redness, swelling, pain, heat and loss of hearing.
Often, these symptoms can result from viruses and not bacteria. Neither a viral infection nor inflammation can heal due to antibiotics. Only bacterial infections respond to antibiotics. Therefore, in the majority of the cases, antibiotics do not help. And in many cases, when antibiotics are used, they lead to complications of the intestine and immune system health.
Why Use Essential Oils for Earaches and Ear Infections?
Essential oils are very useful in treating pressure and pain caused by earaches and ear infections. In mild cases, essential oils may be all that you need to get rid of the infection completely. Many essential oils have antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties.
They eliminate bacteria and viruses and also soothe the swelling, redness, heat and pain. Many oil blends mixed with apple cider vinegar, garlic and olive oil can be placed inside the ear to relieve pain. These oils not only eliminate the pain; they also kill the bacteria or viruses causing the ailment. With regular use, you can completely prevent ear infections.
Naturally, if you suspect punctured eardrum do not use essential oils; seek medical treatment immediately.
Best Essential Oils for Ear Infection and Pain
So what essential oils are good for earaches in adults and kids? If you are wondering what oils to use for ear infections, here is a list.
1. Tea Tree Essential Oil
Known as Nature’s antiseptic, tea tree essential oil is one of the best essential oils for ear pain and ear infections. It has antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. These properties help speed up healing and eliminate all kinds of infections from their root. Tea tree oil for earache remedy is even safe for treating ear infections in pets.
To use: Add a few drops of tea tree essential oil to a teaspoon of warm Sweet Almond oil or Olive oil and trickle a few drops of the mixture directly into the painful ear. Lie on the side opposite to the ear being treated. Let the oils seep down into the infected areas of the ear. After 10 minutes, allow the oil to drain out. Repeat this treatment 2-3 times a day. You can also mix tea tree oil with garlic oil or apple cider vinegar and add a few drops of the mixture to the ear canal.
Research on tea tree oil for ear infections: This study shows promising results and describes how tea tree oil could be an effective holistic alternative to antibiotics for earaches.
Caution: Do not use tea tree oil undiluted as it can sting, burn or lead to allergic reactions, especially in babies or people with sensitive skin types.
2. Oregano Essential Oil
Oregano essential oil is one of the strongest antiseptic and antiviral essential oils. It's an amazing essential oils for clogged ears. It boosts immunity and is very effective against many kinds of infections. Many hospitals actually spray oregano essential oil mixed with rubbing alcohol around sick rooms to prevent germs from spreading. Oregano oil can eliminate pain, swelling, redness and inflammation associated with ear infections. Several upper respiratory infections also respond well to this oil.
To use: Add a few drops of oregano essential oil to steaming water and inhale the vapours. This remedy will drain the phlegm and mucus and relieve pressure from the ears. You can also dilute the oil with a bit of warm olive oil and using a dropper, add the mixture inside the aching ear. Repeat this remedy several times a day until the infection is cleared.
Research on oregano essential oil for otitis media: This study is one of the few ones that have established the efficacy of oil of oregano in fighting bacterial and viral ear infections.
Caution-Do not use oregano essential oil undiluted on the skin and never take this oil internally. Always dilute with olive or coconut oil before using oregano oil in the ear. Failure to dilute it before use could lead to allergic reactions like stinging, burning or pain. To use this essential oil for ear infection in babies, use 1 drop of oil per one teaspoon of carrier oil such as olive oil.
3. Lavender Essential Oil
No other essential oil is as versatile as lavender essential oil. Lavender tea and its essential oil have been used for centuries to treat all kinds of bacterial, fungal and viral infections. The antiseptic and analgesic properties of lavender essential oil have now been documented to to eliminate all types of painful infections. European lab studies have shown that the oil is useful in killing many different viruses, fungi and bacteria.
To use: Add 1-2 drops of pure lavender essential oil inside your child’s aching ear. You can also make a pain-relieving blend with lavender, tea tree and coconut oils to soothe the pain and inflammation away.
Research on lavender essential oil: This study highlights the pain relieving, anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties of lavender essential oil in treating ear swelling.
Caution: In most cases, lavender essential oil is generally well tolerated. However, you must never ingest this oil. Always test to see if the oil is suitable for baby’s delicate skin before using it for treating ear infection.
4. Chamomile Essential Oil
Not only will chamomile essential oil soothe away the pain caused due to ear infection; it will also help your child sleep better. The analgesic, soothing, relaxing, and anti-inflammatory properties of this best oil for ear infection also eliminate the bacterial or viral cause of the infection to provide relief and prevent recurrence.
To use: Directly pour 1or2 drops of the oil into the infected ear. Repeat application 2-3 times a day or as needed. You can also inhale the steaming vapours of the oil added to boiling water. This will relieve mucus and congestion and also prevent headaches.
Research on Chamomile essential oil: This study highlights the curative and preventive properties of chamomile oil in treating ear and eye infections.
Caution- Chamomile essential oil is generally well tolerated. As always, try a patch test on baby’s skin first to ensure no allergic reaction occurs.
5. Frankincense Essential Oil
Frankincense oil for ears is an excellent remedy to soothe inflammation, bring down swelling and pain and also eliminate the infection from its root. The oil has healing, antiseptic and antibacterial properties. It is also analgesic. Many people recommend this essential oils for ear infection in adults.
To use: Add diluted to infected ear/s. Also, diffuse the oil in the child’s room to aid sleep and faster recovery.
Research on Frankincense essential oil: Analgesic activity of Frankincense essential oil has been documented in this study.
Caution: Some individuals may experience skin irritation with the use of this oil. So always test it on a small patch of skin first before use. Never ingest this oil.
What Other Essential Oils Are Suitable for Earache, Ear Infections and Clogged Ears?
Other noteworthy essential oils that are good for treating earache and ear infections are:
6. Basil Essential Oil
Basil essential oil is a potent antimicrobial oil that can relieve various viral and bacterial infections. It has a high linalool content that makes it an excellent analgesic.
To use: Diffuse in the child’s room or massage the diluted oil along the ears or on the temples to relieve aches, pains and congestion. Also inhale the vapours of this oil to reduce sinus pressure and congestion that often results in earaches. To read research on this oil, click this link.
7. Lemon Essential Oil
Lemon essential oil is a fantastic oil for colds, coughs, sinuses and earache relief. Its antibacterial and antiviral properties help you effectively curb seasonal infections and respiratory problems. Diffuse the oil or inhale its vapours when ear pain strikes. Alternatively, massage the oil behind the ears or insert cotton wool soaked in the oil inside the aching ear for relief from swelling, pain and inflammation.
8. Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus essential oil is an age-old remedy for treating sinus infections, cold, cough, sore throat etc. Massaging the oil behind the ear will give relief from ear pressure. Add a bit of the oil inside the ear canal (diluted with a carrier oil) to relieve ear pressure, waxy build-up and ear pain.
Which Essential Oil Brand Should I Use?
Did you know that more than 75% of essential oil companies on the market sell adulterated oils, which mean that they are either diluted or mixed with synthetic or impure substances?
Essential oil purity and quality have no FDA testing, unfortunately, so it is very difficult to know which the best oil company is. Having said that, good reliable companies use third-party testing which ensures accuracy in the chromatography and mass spectrometry reports that are used to certify each essential oil.
Not only do they employ this third-party testing; they also have reputed aroma-therapist Robert Tisserand on board. Robert Tisserand is the founder of Tisserand Institute which is a leading organisation in testing and researching aromatherapy oils.
Plant Therapy oils received fantastic reviews on Amazon from many happy users. They are sold in sets or as individual oils or blends. You can see the full selection here and choose any of the oils disused in this article to make your perfect earache or ear infection remedy.
This makes all of Plant Therapy products trustworthy. Another fact that I love about Plant Therapy oils is that they are the only essential oil company that makes KidSafe oils or kid safe synergy blends. You can see the full range of Plant Therapy oils for children here on Amazon.
This way, parents can rest assured that they can safely use the oils on their children having sensitive skin without the fear of adverse effects. Now isn’t that a good reason to select Plant Therapy oils for all your Aromatherapy needs?
Plant Therapy KidSafe Ear Erase Essential Oil Blend
If you are busy or not the DIY kind of parent and have a kid that suffers from frequent ear infections, then this easy to use, pre-blended and pre-diluted oil blend from Plant Therapy is a must have in your medicine cabinet. It contains lavender, tea tree, chamomile and rosaline essential oils all diluted in hemp seed oil.
To use: add a few drops on the outer ear and massage downwards from the ear to the neck to relieve pressure and congestion. Alternatively, soak a cotton ball in the blend and insert it gently in the ear. You can also add a few drops directly inside the aching ear for quick relief from ear pain, congestion and hardened wax.
Plant Therapy Kid Safe Ear Erase Essential Oil Blend is very inexpensive. Order a bottle and keep it at home so you always have it handy when your child becomes unwell. It has received great reviews on Amazon as an effective and convenient earache essential oil remedy for kids. Check it out here.
Best Essential Oil Recipes for Ear Pain and Ear Infection
Powerful Remedy for Ear Pain
- 2 tbsp organic, extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp each colloidal silver and raw, unfiltered organic apple cider vinegar
- 1-2 drops of garlic oil and tea tree oil each
Mix all the ingredients. Lie on your side with the aching ear up. Using a dropper, place a few drops of the blend in the aching ear. Keep lying on your side for 5-7 minutes. Now turn on the other side and let the oil drain out of the ear and into a paper towel.
You will experience immediate relief from an earache. Repeat this remedy several times a day as needed. You can also substitute oil of oregano in place of tea tree oil and mullein oil in place of garlic oil for ear infection.
Hot Compress for Aching and Blocked Ear
Add any of the following oils to a bowl of hot water: lavender, tea tree, eucalyptus, chamomile, lemon or rosewood. Soak a clean flannel cloth in hot water and wring out the excess. Place the hot cloth on the aching ear.
The heat along with the analgesic properties of the oil will reduce pain and inflammation and also facilitate drainage. You can also massage any one of these oils on the neck, behind the ears, around the head/temples etc. for soothing relief.
Ear Ache Relief Blend
- 2-3 cotton balls
- 1-2 drops of lavender essential oil
- 1 tsp coconut oil or any other carrier oil of your choice
- 2 drops of tea tree essential oil (not to be used in babies below 6 months of age)
- 1-2 drops of basil essential oil (not to be used for toddlers below 2 years of age)
- In a small bowl, take the coconut oil and add 1-2 drops of lavender oil to it.
- If the child is above 6 months of age, add tea tree oil.
- For kids above 2 years of age, add Basil oil.
- Mix well.
- Soak up cotton wool with the mixture.
- Place the cotton wool gently in the ear-do not press it inside the canal.
- Hold the cotton ball in place until the pain subsides. For additional relief, wipe the backside of the ear with the blend along the mastoid bone.
Other Remedies to Use for Ear Ache Relief
- Apply a hot water bottle around the ears to draw out moisture and get relief from pain.
- Drink tea or tinctures of antiseptic herbs like chamomile, lavender, goldenseal, echinacea, ginger etc. These are relaxing herbs that help reduce congestion.
- Chamomile tea is particularly beneficial as it fights microbes causing the infection and can help the irritable, fussy child sleep.
- Take garlic oil capsules for earaches. These improve immune function and help the body fight the infection.
- Avoid solid food-especially junk food, processed items, sugar, soy, poultry, red meat, excess dairy etc. These increase phlegm and mucus as well as the inflammation in the body.
- Take turmeric capsules every few hours to enhance immunity and fight infections.
Essential oils are extremely beneficial in treating ear infections and earaches. You can use them standalone or in blends and recipes mentioned above.
Mix the oil of your choice with other natural ingredients like colloidal silver or apple cider vinegar, and you get a potent earache remedy that works without any adverse side effects. Essential oils have antimicrobial properties that eliminate ear infection from its roots.
These oils can be mixed with a bit of warm olive oil or coconut oil and added inside the aching ear for fast relief from pain.
Alternatively, diffuse the oil in your room or massage a few drops behind the ears for quick pain relief. I recommend that you try the oils from Plant Therapy. Their oils are inexpensive, pure and tested by experts, and you will come back again and again to them for all your essential oil needs.