Natural Treatment for Ear Infections

Did you know that a good percentage of ear infections are caused by viruses? And, the infection caused by a virus will not respond to antibiotics. In fact, the body will usually heal itself and the viral infection will go away on its own.

The goal with treatment of a viral ear infection is symptom relief. Symptoms such as pain, irritability, and distress can make for a very unpleasant experience.

One of the most effective natural remedies for the ear pain associated with an ear infection is warm homemade garlic oil. Garlic’s properties include, but are not limited to, use as an antiseptic, antiviral, and antibacterial agent. When preparing garlic for use in this recipe, or any recipe for that matter, it is important to allow garlic to rest after mincing for approximately 10 minutes (please click on this link to learn more).


Garlic Oil Recipe

-1 clove of garlic, minced
-2 tablespoons of olive or coconut oil

Directions: Warm oil slightly over low heat in small pot. Remove oil from heat and add minced garlic. Cover and allow oil and garlic to steep for at least 30 minutes. Strain and bottle if necessary. Oil will keep in refrigerator for 4-5 days.

To use: Instill 2-3 drops of oil in the ear as often as needed for pain relief.


You may also want to administer a light massage of the neck in an attempt to help the lymph nodes drain fluid away from the ears. Thereby reducing the risk for bacterial growth.

Lavender Oil

-1 drop of lavender essential oil
-1 tablespoon of carrier oil (olive, coconut, almond, jojoba, avocado)

Directions: Mix the 2 ingredients and rub it on your hands. Begin massaging gently from the ear down the neck toward the chest as well as massaging from the ear down the jaw line.


-For added pain relief, heat a small cloth bag of rice for use as a warm compress applied directly over the ear.

-If the pain increases and lasts longer than 48 hours, or if the child/adult’s symptoms are associated with an uncontrolled fever. This may indicate a bacterial infection, requiring medical attention.


  1. Thanks for linking your great post to FAT TUESDAY. Hope to see you next week! Be sure to visit on Sunday for
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    If you have grain-free recipes please visit Wednesday night for a grain-free linky carnival in support of my 28 day grain-free challenge starting Wednesday!

  2. Love this idea! I will have to try this with my girls…

  3. So I pre-peel a few heads of garlic & store them in olive oil in the fridge. Would the resulting oil have the same usefulness of the garlic oil described here, or is the heating/mincing necessary?

  4. Most ear infections are not viral. Especially in children. Otitis media is generally a bacterial infection in the middle ear. This would work for otitis externa which is generally known as swimmers ear. A fungal infection. NEVER use homemade concoctions if there is any drainage coming from the ear!

    • From what I know, most middle ear infections ARE viral, and are likely to resolve on their own within a few days. It is frequently associated with the viruses that cause the flu or the common cold, but there are bacteria that cause infection too. More and more doctors suggest deferring the use of antibiotics, but treating the pain with pain reducers, numbing agents, or warm compresses. They generally don’t agree with alternative therapies, but with an intact eardrum, warm garlic oil could be soothing even if it doesn’t get rid of the infection (and I think it does). OUTER ear infections can be viral or bacterial, as well as fungal, and again, garlic oil would certainly help here. One of the best ways to prevent (not treat) ear infections is to breastfeed (also very frugal and sustainable). Many studies show that breastfed children experience far fewer ear infections than non-breastfed children.

      • using Garlic press i pressed a clove of fresh garlic stuck finger in it… got the oil from it and rubbed down in my ear and all around outer ear and down side of neck …I felt relief almost immediately..and several hours later I am feeling No pressure or tenderness .I will repeat again in the Am to ward off any reacurrance

      • My daughter is a breast-fed baby, now at almost three years old she has encountered her first earache. I know that breast feeding her has deterred the ear infections, giving her a stronger immune system. I am studying to be a nurse, but come from a family who supports home remedies, so I was familiar with garlic’s healing properties. This garlic oil was a BIG help at 3 am last night when my daughter screamed out for me in pain while holding her ear. I had prepared the garlic oil yesterday because she said her ear hurt – just once – throughout the entire day, but had no other symptoms, so I decided to just be prepared. This works quickly and sufficiently moms!!!

      • I breastfed my daughter for one year. She never had a bottle. She had 1-4 ear infections a month starting at 1 month until she was 2. She certainly was the exception to this rule

        • Did you try putting a little breastmilk in her ear? I heard that works. my daughter was breastfed and had alot of ear infections. she grew out of then finally right after i decided not to get tubes put in, when she was about 8. Never tried the breastmilk thing back then, but it worked great on my son’s eczema.

        • I wish breast feeding could get rid of ear infections. I breastfed both my children for over a year – the eldest never had an ear infection in his life, the younger one has had so many, I have lost count. Always the same ear, always with perforated ear drum and clear fluid or pus coming out. He had so many courses of antibiotics that I am worried about long-term damage to his liver and kidneys. I was told he would grow out of it, but he is now nearly 10 and so far no sign of improvement.

          • Hi, I had the same thing with one of my children. My daughter is 40 now and still has ear infections,the pediatritian that we loved never suggested tubes in her ears and I just figured if there was something better to be done he would suggest it . my daughter lost all but 25% hearing in her right ear and was able to hear out of her left ear 100% so she has gotten along. One Dr. told us her heariing loss was from the infections constantly another didnt. At this time she was able to hear and suddenly went deaf in her left ear,which is from a benign tumor in her left ear pushing on her brain stem and is getting ready to have surgery.
            This is a common tumor they tell us and it is the size of a golf ball,when it is taken out and the Dr. has not said it was from anything just one of those strange things that is common and sust happen.I am not telling you this to scare you at all and im not suggesting that you child might get a tomor because that isnt accurate either ..after my long winded note what i want to say is I would get tubes in her ears in a second now or i would look for a good specialist and see if that is what would help your child. I hope he gets over this because i really believe some out grow it .

  5. You really need to be careful when placing anything in your ears, for any reason! It is possible that any type of ear infection can cause a ruptured ear drum in which case putting things in your ear will lead to extreme pain and possibly cause further damage including permanent hearing loss. As an adult who still suffers ear infections I recommend you always get your ears checked by a DR.

  6. Denise Watson says:

    My childrens doctor always recommended a very simple treatment for ear infections. Cut a brown onion in half, scrap a teaspoon up the cut face of the onion to extract a bit of juice, pour this from the teaspoon inot your childs ear. Works a treat every time.

  7. As a mother of seven children, the oldest is 38 tomorrow and the youngest is 12, I have rarely had to deal with ear infections and when there was a complaint of ear pain, garlic oil is the only thing I ever used because it worked every time.
    For eye infections I used warm tea bags. Chamomile was my first pick if I had it but green and back tea were also effective. Avoid peppermint, or any other herb which would cause the eyes to sting/burn. Just apply the tea, either in a bag or between a layer of paper towel or fine muslin/cheesecloth, as warm as can be tolerated without burning and leave it on till it cools. Rewarm and reapply as needed for comfort, using fresh tea after 3 or 4 uses. As soon as the child felt relieved, or got too bored ;), the treatment was over and it was rarely necessary to repeat. These days I think my go-to would be plantain leaves… my favorite weed!… but back then I was unfamiliar with it and tea is something most everyone has available to them.

    • Beth, I would love to hear more of your remedies. I wish my grandmother would have lived longer so that I could have asked her for old times remedies. I trust these the most!!! Thanks for passing along your remedies to help others! Do you know of any good books that have remedies?

  8. The remedy I have used for ear infections since 1979 is goldenseal tea. 1/4 tsp. goldenseal powder to a cup of water, let cool, irrigate the ear. Works quite well.

  9. Heather says:

    A combo of garlic and mullein oil is great for ear infections. Place 4 drops in each ear (even if only one ear is infected). Place a cotton ball in each ear and go to sleep.

  10. Here in South Africa a common home remedy for the pain caused by earache is to take a geranium leaf, wash clean, pat dry and then scrunch up (releasing the natural oils) and place in the painful ear (not too far in though). This is often used by moms here at night to tide the little one over til the doctors office opens. When I first heard about it I was rather sceptical, but, one night, in desperation, I gave it a try and it worked like a charm. Now, if one of my boys has an earache, they ask me right out if they can have a geranium leaf.

  11. SuzAnne says:

    I have a chronic inner ear problem and I get rid of the pain and “heaviness” as well as the drainage problem with a few drops of lavender and tea tree oil (equal parts of each). It really helps a lot!!

  12. SuzAnne says:

    OOps! Forgot to add that eucalyptus oil, added to a carrier oil such as olive oil, or jojoba (1 part to approx. 5 parts ) rubbed on the outside in the hollow under my ear just where my jaw meets has also been very helpful in relieving the “congestion” of an earache.

  13. A couple drops of Melaleuca on a cotton ball and put just inside the ear will kill viral and bacterial. So no worries of which it is. Just know it works quickly. do it 3xs in a day. Infection gone!

  14. Hi! I found your website in my search to learn more about natural health remedies. I currently use tea tree oil in a carrier oil for ear infections, with wonderful results. I also like your suggestion about massaging and warm heat. We have chosen not to own a microwave, and so haven’t used our rice bags in awhile. Most rice bags warn not to warm in an oven, Do you have any thoughts on that? Thanks!

    • You might be able to get a bowl of bowling water and then place another bowl inside of the pan with boling water and place your rice pack in that to heat. I would cover the bowl that you place your rice pack in to hold the heat in. Not sure if this will work or not but worth a try.

    • if you dont have a microwave to heat a rice bag for warmth how about having two and folding a heating pad over them ,one on ear and another heating ?

  15. Does anyone has experience using oil and garlic for dogs when they get ear infections?

  16. Shannon Samczyk says:

    Great tips! I just made warm garlic oil for my sons horrible ear infection. I also gave him colloidal silver- a natural antibiotic, and took tea tree oil on a q- tip and applied on the inner ear. It seemed to help. Anyone else use tea tree oil?

    • I love tea tree oil for everything!!!! Recently bought some tea tree oil soap from . I have lupus and horribly dry skin ,sometimes a rash,sometimes itching so bad that I scratch and cause a little bleeding so I use the new soap everyday to shower and I feel like it is doing a great job. It really looks like a handmade bar of soap and has a light tea tree oil smell nothing over powering.

  17. Sophia Coaxum says:

    I have been experience a swooshing sound, heartbeat sound in my right ear. I have NO pain, but it has been this way for about 2 weeks. When I move sometimes, it sounds like a windy day in my ear. I dont hear it so much when I am sleep, but I am more conscious of it now. I am in need of a natural remedy as I have no medical insurance, but I also just like natural remedies. If this can be treated with natural remedies, that would be great. Please advise.

    • sounds like swimmer’s ear. Put some alcohol on a cotton ball and place in your ear or if you have an ear dropper place a drop of alcohol in your ear This will help dry the liquid.

    • This happenend to me. Put a few drops of peroxide in your ear. lie down on your side with that ear up. Let it bubble to break up the wax. Wait a little while. Wipe it off with a cotton ball and follow with a few drops of olive oil also helps break up wax. Fluid is stuck behind the wax. It could cause an outer ear infection (swimmers ear). You don’t really need both. peroxide works by itself, and i think olive oil will too, but maybe not as quick.

  18. Today is the 10th day my daughter is suffering from ear infection/pain. I brought her to the doctor twice. She’s been taking antibiotic. I tried garlic and olive oil and other eardrops. I give Ibuprofen; works only for few hours and the pain is back. Anymore advice? Should we consider seeing ear specialist? We live in Cambodia by the way. Thanks

    • Momma Karen says:

      I know it is too late to help you , but my daughter developed ongoing ear infection that
      Ended up being mastoiditis(infection through ear canal to mastoid pockets around the brain)
      This is life threatening . She had history of ear tubes 2 times and chronic infections. Unclean water and
      An ear infection . Couldn’t touch her head, drainage swabbed from ear= admit to ER , given morphine
      For pain, vancomycin for infection and hospitalized for a week.
      We do use the garlic oil remedy but know when to see a doctor.

  19. is it possible to use an actual garlic oil. I have a bottle of it and I used it last night on my daughter. Her ear seems fine today but wondering if either is more effective.. home made or already pressed.

  20. This was amazing. My husband said he felt he had an ear infection started small last night and it was hurting him today. I have some Lavender Ess Oil from work and just used our Extra Virgin Olive Oil, put the olive oil in a Little container and had him lay on a small pillow on my lap. I made him get comfortable and I massaged his ear, head, shoulder and just did it wherever I thought it would feel good for him (obviously concentrating on his ear). BTW I work at a spa so I know a little bit about how to massage. I put a rice Pig (a gift) that I had on him, he said it was too hot to leave on his ear so we let it cool down while I continued to massage, placed the pig back on him for about a minute and he took it off (again just too warm for him). He said his ear felt soo much better. Now he is in the shower, I told him not to get any water in his ear. He seemed very relaxed as well. Anyways, thanks for the idea, worked great.

  21. how to make a garlic oil for ear infections i mean is garlic oil can be made at home…or it can be bought from out…as m having a bad ear infection from many days ..what is the best way to get out of it?plzz anyone revert back soon

  22. Grandma4Life says:

    my son has recurring ear infections he has c.p. and is always rubbing his ears when he gets nervous causing moisture and a yucccchy ear to put it kindly,anyways i found this wonderful ear treatment in oil its called ERYAN LING OIL this chinese ear treatment can be found at a local chinese herbal store a traditional store would more likely be in your local CHINATOWN ,believe me it will be worth the trip my son has beautiful healthy looking peachy looking ears,after all our suffering no more yucch and pain, good luck earache people

  23. Looks like a good recipe for ear infections. Two of my friends told me they hsve ear infections today…worth a try.

  24. I did this and it works!! Thanks!

  25. Healing oils are great at curing what ails you. Great remedy!

  26. to sophia: Im not trying to scare you about hearing the heart beat in your ear or the swooshing sound but High blood pressure can cause this . Just recently one of my friends who has been going to a dr with the same symptoms for a year and was being treated for high blood pressure has found out that it is really a blockage of her carotid artery. I understand about no insurance but if there is a clinic somewhere that you can go to they can hear the sound of a blockage with a stethascope ,dont treat on your own too long. try what you want but if it persists please go to someone ,health nurse,free clinic somethng.

  27. Tracy Spangler says:

    I’ve had ear infections nearly every month since I was a child, due to being 4 months premature and with mild cerebral palsy. I am now 35 years old and continue getting 2 to 3 ear and/or sinus infections a month, despite sinus surgery, and living a much healthier life. I also have Geniculate Neuralgia on my right side, which makes the ear infections that I also get on my right side near unbearable. I currently have tubes in my ears, as I have many times in the past, and I was hoping someone would know if it is safe to use this in my ears. Also, this current ear infection is the worst I’ve ever had and it has caused complete loss of hearing in the affected ear. Does anyone have suggestions for how to help this? I am using basil essential oil around my ear, and am on the strongest antibiotics possible since I have quite an antibiotic resistance built up. Thank you in advance for any help!

  28. Hi! I’m hoping someone may have an answer for me. I have had ear infections nearly every month ever since I was a child, I assume because I was born 4 months premature. This month’s ear infection has been the worst yet. It has lasted all month, and for the past week I have been completely deaf in the infected ear. Because I have tubes in my ears I’ve been told I can’t put anything such as oils in them, although I have been prescribed antibiotic ear drops as well as the only antibiotic it seems I have not developed a resistance to. I read mullein leaf tea helps sometimes, but it’s been impossible to find in my area. I have been applying basil essential oil to the outside of my ear. I am miserable and hope someone reading this might have a suggestion for something, anything to try that I’ve overlooked. Thank you!

  29. I have also found this helpful when flying with small children!, helps to check the pressure!

  30. After researching several sites,they seem to all come up with the same remedies pertaning to earaches that is. I suffered horribly with swimmers ear and many other ear infections as a child. There were summers, heck even winters, that I was confined to bed and not let outside because I had an infection. I had tubes placed in my ears but one fell out and the other caused a hole in my eardrum which I had to have surgery to fix. Luckily I’ve grown out of them other than what may appear when I have a cold, like RIGHT NOW. My main comment or somewhat of a question I suppose,is I ‘m sitting here at the computer searching for help because I can’t sleep because I’m in pain and obviously cannot get to a doctor tonight but almost every solution involves oils and leaves and such. I’m not a cook and not into health foods and stuff so I have none of these items to help me. I’m not going out shopping, I need something NOW!! I don’t even own an other ideas??

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