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
- 3-4 cloves raw garlic, crushed
- 1/4-1/2 c. dried mullein (I got mine from
Mountain Rose Herbs(Link Removed))
- cover with olive oil
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.
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…
Other Natural Health Posts at KS
- how to get rid of warts naturally
- natural remedies for ear infections
- stomach problems: the BRATY diet for real food
- How an elimination diet cured eczema
- What’s Eating Your Child? review
Sarah Mueller is a blogger and homeschool mom of 4. Her blog, www.earlybirdmom.com, is all about helping busy moms get more things done.
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.Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.
51 thoughts on “Natural Remedy to Heal an Ear Ache in 30 Minutes or Less”
I have always had a phobia about eardrops and putting things in my ears in general. This has been passed on to my daughter who also not can’t deal with it. She had an ear ache recently and I was at a loss on what to do to help her discomfort. So I first tried this on myself just to see how it went and had no issues. Then I dropped a bit in my daughters ear and she felt better after about an hour. Thank you!
For infusing oils with herbs: those little bitty crock pots, that are supposed to be for keeping dips and suchlike hot, are perfect. They are also great for making salves, hard lotion, etc. Mine came free when I bought a big crock pot. I’m not sure I’ve ever actually used it for food!
Hi! I am wanting to make these drops for my daughter however I don’t have dried Mullien I have Mullien in liquid/oil form. Would it work the same???
I wish I could answer – not sure! Sorry, Katie
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!
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.
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!
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.
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
Help! I want to try this, but I’m always so scared of doing something wrong and making things worse!
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. 🙁
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?
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?
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!
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?
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
Does it matter if the garlic gets dark, dark brown?
Hmm – do you think your garlic burned? If it smells funny, I would try again.
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.
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
That sounds like a long time to have an earache – time to see the doctor!
I was wondering if someone would explain clearer to me how I make the earache drops?
Just cook all the ingredients on low for half an hour, strain out the solids and put into a bottle. Couldn’t be simpler!
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?
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
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.
Thanks for this Sarah is there a substitute for 1/4-1/2 c. dried mullein? I am really a believer in natural remedies so this is fantastic
I’m not aware of any substitute but you can just leave the mullein out. The garlic is quite potent on it’s own. Good luck!
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.
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.
The warning about not using if eardrum may be perforated or draining scares me…how would i know?
The drainage is easy to spot – yellow drippy stuff coming out of the ear (not the same as ear wax which would be sticky and clumpy).
Here is a link about perforated eardrums: http://kidshealth.org/kid/health_problems/sight/eardrum.html#
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.
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)
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.
Sorry about the duplicated comments, wanted to edit the comment before posting but realized that I had already hit the “enter” button.
I used to have issues with ear aches all the time. Thanks for sharing this.
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.
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.
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!
Yes, it’s always good when we can handle these situations without a trip to doctor. Garlic oil is quite common in India for ear ache.
I went to the Mountain Rose Herb website. So what exactly do I look for in purchasing mullein for this remedy…the dried flowers or leaf?
Thanks for your help.
For this garlic ear oil, you’ll want the mullein leaf.
Hi there, on the Mountain Rose Herbs website, it sounds like it is the *flowers* that are used to make an oil?
I just tried this a month ago, and the ear pain went away within 10 minutes! I reapplied throughout the day just to stay on top of the infection. It never came back! No meds, no antibiotics, no doctor bills…I love this remedy!
Isn’t it exciting when something natural works so much better than conventional meds?
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. 🙁
We have had great results with garlic mullein oil. Of course, your kid will smell like pizza for a week. (not sure if that is good or bad)
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?
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.
Oh how I wish I would have had this recipe when my babies were younger. Blessings~Nancy