Natural Remedy to Heal an Ear Ache in 30 Minutes or Less

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Garlic Mullein Ear Oil to Relieve Earaches even in Children via Kitchen Stewardship

This is a guest post from Sarah of Early Bird Mom, sharing her ear ache remedy.

My toddler woke up screaming last night just after 10pm, which was very unusual for him.

At first I thought his brother in the bed next to him had just made a noise and woken him up. But when William awoke again at 12, 4am and 5am for good, it was clear that he was sick. Poor baby his nose was running like a faucet and he was super-clingy. My plans for an early morning quiet time were scrapped.

A dose of Ibuprofen helped a bit but when he wouldn’t stop screaming later in the morning, I worried about ear infection. My oldest son used to get frequent ear infections and he ended up with ear tubes to help clear things up. Since switching to a more real food diet, my kids are sick much less, but it looked like this time, we had not escaped.

I hoped to avoid having to take my little one to the doctor who would surely prescribe antibiotics, so I quickly whipped up a batch of garlic mullein ear ache oil. (Yes, I’m weird in that I actually have mullein on hand). I had used this oil last year as a quick cure for ear pain in my 8 year old. The garlic in the oil is anti-bacterial and the mullein treats the inflammation and swelling. One of my favorite things about this oil is that it stops the pain so fast in just a few minutes, as opposed to waiting 24 hours for antibiotics to take effect.

It took just a few minutes to assemble the recipe and I let it simmer for a half an hour before taking a couple drops for William’s ears. He didn’t like the feeling of having the drops trickle into his ears but it seemed to help pretty quickly. I gave him a couple more doses of the drops during the day. His night was much better than the night before and he hasn’t been fussy at all today.

He still has a runny nose but his ear pain is gone I’m so grateful for this easy treatment.


You can buy garlic mullein drops but they can be pricey. It’s so easy to put together a batch at home.

Recipe: Garlic Mullein Ear Drops, for Ear Ache Relief

Ingredients:garlic mullein ear oil for earaches in children

  • 3-4 cloves raw garlic, crushed
  • 1/4-1/2 c. dried mullein (I got mine from Mountain Rose Herbs)
  • cover with olive oil


Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan and simmer on very low for at least 30 minutes, up to several hours. Be careful not to let the herb burn. Strain and decant into a dropper bottle.

To use: Warm the bottle by putting it into a cup of hot water for a couple minutes (optional). Put a couple drops into affected ear as needed for pain. Warning: do not use in an ear that is draining or if you suspect a perforated eardrum.

reduce ear infection pain with garlic ear oil for kids

buy bottles with droppers at Amazon

A small bottle will go a long way so you may find that you have way more oil than you need. In that case, you can do what I did and give some away to friends. They will surely be happy to have them for those middle-of-the-night ear aches.

Thanks, Sarah, for sharing your wisdom! I’ve never made this ear oil exactly, but I shared another ear infection story including garlic oil and a new one on antibiotics and natural remedies

Natural Health Month at Kitchen Stewardship

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Sarah Mueller is a blogger and homeschool mom of 4. Her blog,, is all about helping busy moms get more things done.



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Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post to Amazon and Mountain Rose Herbs from which I will earn some commission if you make a purchase. See my full disclosure statement here.

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48 Bites of Conversation So Far

  1. says

    This looks great! I had mullein growing in the yard a few years ago, but it got pulled because it was in the future location of the sandbox.

    How long will this keep in bottles? Refrigerate or store on shelf?

    [Reply to this comment]

    Sarah Reply:

    It should keep a year in the fridge, although I just keep mine on the shelf. As long as you strain the garlic well, it should be ok.

    [Reply to this comment]

  2. Karen says

    I’m glad this worked for you. I will just caution that it doesn’t always. My daughter is prone to ear infections–not as much as some children, but certainly more than her sister! I’ve used garlic oil with success sometimes. However, this last time, I used it, and she FELT better but didn’t actually GET better. When she saw the doctor, BOTH ears were badly infected–to quote the doctor, it was “nasty.” She had had no pain after using the garlic oil, but apparently healing the pain didn’t heal the infection. :(

    [Reply to this comment]

  3. Gayle says

    One night years ago, before I was very far down the “crunchy” path, my toddler had a terrible earache all night long, and I read about these drops. Of course, I didn’t have any mullein, but I made some garlic oil and was amazed at how fast it worked!

    [Reply to this comment]

  4. Tonya says

    I have never heard of this mixture, but have used just straight olive oil, slightly warmed, with amazingly fast results. The few times my kids have had earaches, I have been amazed every time to see how quickly they get relief.

    [Reply to this comment]

  5. Rachel says

    My daughter had an ear infection last month to the point where she was crying because of the pain. My husband was ready to take her to urgent care, but I decided to try a method my naturalpath recommended. I heated up an onion, placed a cloth over it and held it up to my daughter’s ear. Within 10 minutes, the pain was gone, and she fell asleep. We did not need any other treatment. I wish I had known about this method when she was younger and had antibiotics prescribed because of ear infections.

    [Reply to this comment]

  6. says

    It is ammazing to know that there are effective natural remedies for common health problems/infections. The best part is tha these remedies such as the garlic mullein ear drops do no have the negative side effects associated with presciption drugs/antibiotics.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Carol Reply:

    Sorry about the duplicated comments, wanted to edit the comment before posting but realized that I had already hit the “enter” button.

    [Reply to this comment]

  7. Renee says

    Any advice for a kid complaining their ears are plugged? She insists they don’t hurt but her hearing is definitely affected by the plugged ears. We’ve tried cleaning them but it doesn’t seem to help.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    My kids always have horrible trouble hearing after an ear infection. Has she had a cold in the last month? Could just be fluid in the ears, no biggie, and time is your best offense. That and talking loudly, but I know – it’s so annoying as the parent! (Although probably more annoying to them)

    :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  8. Steff says

    printing this one for future reference. I usually use the hyland earache drops. When my kids have an earache I always carry the bottle in my pocket so it is body temp when I put the drops in. When they were still nursing, I would put the bottle in my bra between my breasts and put the drops in whenever we sat down to nurse.

    [Reply to this comment]

  9. Donna says

    Do a search on onion juice and earache. It has worked for me and doesn’t stink like garlic. I cruched the onion to get a little bit of juice, warmed it and poured it in my ear.

    [Reply to this comment]

  10. Tanya says

    Thank you so much for this. My 6yo daughter had grommets put in on 1 March 2013 and today she showed me the smelly yellow discharge from her ear. Now not in a mood for the doctor or antibiotics I turned to Google and came across this post. I always have a bottle of Equinox Botanicals Mullein Garlic Ear Oil on hand. As soon as it runs low, I order the next bottle.

    [Reply to this comment]

  11. Alyssa says

    Hello I am a new mom and I was wondering if I see ear wax starting to creep out if that’s an ear infection. My daughter has been tugging at her ears a lot lately but no real signs of hurting (my daughter is 4 months). And do you use pure olive oil or eevo?

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Nope, not necessarily, Alyssa! My youngest has crazy ear wax sometimes. It just…is. I use EVOO b/c it’s what I have on hand, but I have no idea if it makes a difference. Ear tugging at 4 mos. can be teething, or just a little habit. It can be nothing. :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  12. Michelle Rose says

    I bought some Garlic Mullien drops from my local Co-op. I used them three times a day for 8 days. It helped, but didn’t get rid of the problem. Now I’ve been off the drops for a week and the pain is back. Any suggestions on what to do next?

    Michelle in MN

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    That sounds like a long time to have an earache – time to see the doctor!

    [Reply to this comment]

  13. Radhika says

    Ye mullein oil works. You will also get mullein oil ear drops (homeopathic medicine) in natural foods store. My mom is a homeopath in India and she suggested me to use it when my son had ear infections. Now, the whole set of family and friends use mullein oil. Its harmless and if you put 2 drops once or twice a day when you child is beginning to have a cold, you will not get the infection.

    [Reply to this comment]

  14. Jessica says

    Can you use Coconut oil instead? I don’t have any EVOO on hand. Also, fever with the ear pain…does it matter in the long run in your decision to dr or not?

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Since the oil is just a carrier, I think any oil would be fine- you just don’t want to get it stuck in there, so it has to be liquid obviously. Is your question about fever referring to whether a fever would impact my own decision to home-doctor vs. call a doctor? If that’s what you meant, in my own home every symptom has to play a role in the decision, along with duration, severity, and especially how the child is acting. For me, a fever isn’t a reason to run to the doctor – not right away. Good luck! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  15. Hilary says

    Ok — so I am a naturally-minded woman with a very medically and scientifically-minded husband, trying to find a nice balance! I went to our pediatrician when our 4-month old had an ear infection, and I mentioned garlic drops to see what he thought of that. He said garlic indeed has great anti-bacterial/microbial properties, but since the garlic cannot penetrate the eardrum it cannot reach and act upon the bacteria on the other side. Made sense to me! So what is it about the garlic that helps actually kill the virus?? I need a biological explanation to convince my husband! :-) Is it just pain-relieving?

    [Reply to this comment]

    Sarah Reply:

    My husband is the same way – he likes proof and scientific explanations.

    I think the answer to your question is that the garlic does penetrate the eardrum – it gets absorbed, just like lotion gets absorbed into your skin. Plus, the nice thing about this remedy is that you can try it when you suspect an ear infection and if the pain goes away and it resolves, you’ll know right away if it helps. If not, you can still use conventional medicine.

    Antibiotics take 24 hours to help anyway and many ear infections are viral where abx won’t help at all, so you can use this in the mean time. That may be what your husband needs to see.

    I hope that helps!

    [Reply to this comment]

  16. Hilary says

    Well, it’s true it can’t hurt to try! And my husband thankfully agrees! I’ve simmered the garlic and olive oil for awihle (did not have the herbs on-hand), and it has not burned since it still smells like garlic and olive oil. However, the garlic has turned a very dark dark brown. Is this normal?

    [Reply to this comment]

  17. Hilary says

    Help! I want to try this, but I’m always so scared of doing something wrong and making things worse!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Oh no! I hate when comments get a bit buried and not answered for a month. :( this was definitely the wrong one to miss, but I just didn’t see it until just now, and I guess Sarah didn’t either, shoot. I hope your child’s ear infection worked out for the best – in my experience, yes, sometimes the garlic turns brown, so I wouldn’t have worried about it. You can always redo at a lower temp or shorter time OR just use gently warmed oil for starters for basic pain relief.

    The natural health journey is SCARY because I hear you – as a mom, you don’t want to mess up! It’s much less daunting to do what a doctor tells you. But it’s all a journey, and baby steps are good steps. Trust your mothers’ intuition and your gut, which will do you surprisingly well in a lot of these situations.

    I’m so sorry again that we missed your comment. :(

    [Reply to this comment]

  18. Miyakanamas Mik says

    I just came across your recipe for garlic/mullien ear drop. Thank you!
    I want to make it. We have lots of mullein growing around our property so I will make my own.
    How ever, I have made other things with mullein and they always require one to strain out the mullein because it has fine little prickly hairs(as you can see on the leaves when it is growing). This concerns me because prickly little hairs against the ear drum cant feel good! So what are you using to strain it? Too big a strainer will not strain out the fine, prickly hairs. Or is it that the cooking dissolves the hairs? Or? Please respond. Thank you again for the recipie.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    I’m thinking the dried mullein you could buy wouldn’t have the hairs – cheesecloth or a tea towel would do the trick for sure. :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  19. Beth says

    It’s 3am, and I’m up with my 5yr old who was complaining of ear pain since bedtime (is at the tail end of an upper respiratory infection). Didn’t read this in time though, as I already treated him with Children’s Tylenol. But if his pain is there again in the morning, I will be sure to try this. Am wondering…Does this also work on dogs? Between the 3 we have, it seems we are dealing with ear infections rather frequently.

    Thanks for the info and God bless!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Sarah Mueller Reply:

    Oh, dear – I hope your son is feeling better soon. I really don’t know about dogs – if garlic is safe for dogs, I guess it’s worth a try.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Beth Reply:

    My son is feeling better…In the morning his ear was still bothering him a bit, so I made up a little batch of garlic/olive oil (didn’t have the other ingredient)…He started feeling relief shortly thereafter, and today he feels “real good” :) Thanks!

    [Reply to this comment]

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