I know from personal experience that earache can be the worst.
From the time I was a baby, I struggled with regular ear infections and, unfortunately, my family didn’t know about the use of alternative medicines.
Consequently, there were a lot of late night emergency room visits and antibiotics, which were rough on my little immune system.
I remember enduring incredible pain until I got medication.
I only wish my family had known that essential oils can offer immediate relief for earache! So I’m happy to be sharing this information with you so that you and your children don’t have to suffer.
Why Essential Oils Are Great For Earache & Ear Infection
Antibiotics can be problematic for a few reasons:
- They kill bacteria indiscriminately, meaning that some helpful bacteria we need get taken down along with the culprits causing the infection.
- Not all earaches are caused by bacteria – many are caused by viruses, food allergies, or a disrupted gut micro biome, for which antibiotics do not help.
- We begin to build up antibiotic-resistant bacteria, making us more susceptible to infections in the future – including more ear infections!
Remember only a doctor can offer you an official diagnosis of ear infection. If you notice the first signs of an earache, essential oils are an amazing way to mitigate pain and discomfort, tackle a virus, and nip a looming ear infection in the bud before it has a chance to develop.
In addition to the joy of using gentle medicines that encourage the immune system to fight its own battles (especially in children), using essential oils can save time and money since you may be able to avoid a doctor’s visit…
Best Essential Oils For Earache
First off, it’s generally not recommended to put essential oils inside the ear. It is essential that you confirm that your eardrum is not perforated before inserting anything inside your ear. Also, these remedies are not effective for swimmer’s ear, and in fact can make it worse.
The following are oils gentle enough for use inside the ears:
1. Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
Sweet basil is great at supporting the fight against viruses & bacteria. It has a reputation for fighting pain as well. It works as a mild disinfecting antibiotic and fungicide. So, whether the infection is viral, bacterial or fungal, Sweet basil will be your ally!
Antioxidants in this plant help to reduce stress, inflammation and to soothe the nervous system.
Sweet basil mixes well with lemon essential oil.
2. Roman Chamomile (Anthemis Nobilis)
Roman chamomile is a winner as kid-friendly. It is one of the gentlest oils and a safe option for children.
Roman chamomile is antimicrobial, antioxidant, antiseptic, and reduces pain and inflammation. It is also a mild sedative and reduces stress and anxiety, so when your child is overwhelmed and upset by having to deal with the sometimes-intense pain of an earache, chamomile will help to calm them in addition to soothing the pain. It is also great at inducing sleep.
Do not use this oil if you are allergic to ragweed, chrysanthemums, asters, marigolds, and dahlia. Avoid using chamomile if you are on blood thinning medications, or if you have a bleeding disorder.
Do not use if you have epilepsy or other seizure disorders. High doses can cause drowsiness and even vertigo.
3. Clove (Syzygium aromaticum)
Clove is one of the strongest antibacterial essential oils due to its high eugenol content (a strong antibacterial constituent of some plants). It is also antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral. It is great for reducing pain as a local anesthetic when mixed with a carrier oil and massaged behind the ear.
4. Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia)
Lavender is great at reducing pain and inflammation. It reduces stress and anxiety and offers support as a sleep aid. This makes it a wonderful oil to use in calming the nervous system while experiencing the discomfort of an earache.
Lavender mixes especially well with peppermint, lemon & Roman chamomile. When resting after your ear treatment, we suggest doing so in a room where you are diffusing lavender.
5. Lemon (Citrus limon)
Lemon (and all citrus oils, really) shine at supporting the fight against viruses and bacteria. It supports your body’s natural abilities as antiseptic, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory support. Lemon kills infections, while it is very soothing to the skin and soft tissues.
6. Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
Oregano’s strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects will reduce the inflammation and soothe pain associated with earache.
This oil is also packed with antioxidants to clear infections and blockages. This is a very strong oil so use small ratios.
7. Peppermint (Mentha Piperita)
Peppermint essential oil is well-known for its ability to rapidly eliminate inflammation, making it very useful in reducing pain associated with earaches.
This oil is approved to use with children, although caution should be used, while it should always be diluted in some way with a carrier oil. It is a strong oil and should never be used internally.
8. Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis)
Rosemary is a powerful antioxidant and analgesic, so it’s great for reducing pain. This oil also reduces cortisol (stress hormone), and so it’s another great choice for alleviating anxiety and stress that accompanies pain and discomfort.
Do not use rosemary essential oil if you have high blood pressure, epilepsy, or psychosis and delusions.
9. Tea Tree (Melaleuca Alternifolia)
Tea tree is a powerful yet gentle disinfectant. It is antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial, anti-fungal. Tea tree dries up fluids as well.
Tea tree combines well with rosemary, but is not meant for long-term use.
10. Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
Thyme is great at reducing inflammation to soothe tissues, which makes it a powerful remedy for alleviating discomfort. This oil is strongly antiseptic and has been shown to be very helpful in fighting bacterial, fungal, and viral infections
It is a very strong oil. Always dilute it well before using. Do not use if you have hypertension, hyperactive thyroid, or high blood pressure.
Popular Carrier Oils For Ear Pain + Uses
The following carrier oils are safe for use in the ears, and enhance the effects of essential oils by soothing and calming the skin.
- Olive oil
Can be used on it’s own to soothe inflammation and sore skin. Applying a few drops of olive oil into the inner ear will unclog a blocked ear and promote healing.
- Coconut oil
Safe and gentle to use for almost all skin types. Great for ear massage that leaves skin hydrated without residue, or for a cotton ball insert.
- Almond oil
Another gentle oil that is great for massage.
- Jojoba oil
Probably my favorite oil for massage. It is thicker than coconut oil and leaves the skin ultra-hydrated.
Best Ways and Essential Oil Blends For Earache
Cotton ball insert
- Combine 4 drops of warmed carrier oil with 2 drops essential oil in small dish, or a glass dropper bottle.
- Apply 3 drops of the mixture in the dropper bottle to a cotton ball and gently place in the external opening of the ear.
- Repeat 3 times per day, as needed.
Great essential oils for a cotton ball insert are: lavender, chamomile, basil, tea tree, clove, frankincense, rosemary, eucalyptus, helichrysum
If pain is persistent, the cotton ball insert can be kept in the ear for the duration of the earache, periodically removing to refresh oil on a new cotton pad.
Inner ear treatment
- Mix 1 drop essential oil with 1 teaspoon carrier oil and warm the oil mixture either by rubbing the bottle between your hands or placing in a bowl of warm water.
- Test the oil on your forearm to make sure it’s not too hot.
- Drop 2-3 drops of warm oil into each ear, let it sit for several minutes before draining it out. Use every 4 hours as needed.
Treat both ears because ear infections can move from ear to ear.
A small amount of olive oil on its own can be poured inside the ear to help loosen ear wax and deliver antioxidants and antibacterial compounds to help with infection.
NOTE: Not for inner ear use: Oregano, thyme, lavender. Use clove only if your eardrum has not ruptured.
Roman Chamomile To Calm Children In Pain
Use the a cotton ball insert method to address the pain.
Additionally, to decrease anxiety, you can mix a few drops of roman chamomile with coconut oil and gently massage the mixture onto the temples, neck, shoulders, stomach, wrists, and bottoms of the feet of your little ones.
Essential oil massage around the ear
- Combine 1 tsp. carrier oil with 1-2 drops essential oil(s) of choice.
- Gently massage around the painful areas around your ears, with a downward motion. Massaging down will help with fluid drainage
- Apply twice daily or more if desired.
Best essential oils for ear massage: Lemon, lavender, oregano, thyme, chamomile, tea tree
Be generous. Massage all the cartilage from the top of the ear down, behind the ear down the sides of the neck, massage the ear lobes and the jaw. I love the relaxation and release I get from a gentle massage.
Coconut, almond, or jojoba are superb carrier oils for massage.
Warm Compress on the ear
- Dip a cloth into very warm water, wring out until cloth is just damp
- Place a few drops of essential oil of choice onto the warm compress, making a small circle.
- For five minutes, hold the compress to the outside of the ear, lining up the circle of essential oil drops with the opening to the ear canal. After five minutes, allow the ear to breathe and cool, then repeat, warming the cloth with new water as necessary.
The same essential oils that are suitable for the cotton ball insert can be used with a warm compress. Lavender and chamomile combined are a great choice for a compress.
Be careful that the water is not too hot, and that you do let the ear cool after 5 minutes. There should not be a burning sensation at any point. The heat should relieve the pain.
Tea Tree Inner Ear Treatment For earache
- Combine 3 drops of tea tree oil, 1 teaspoon of carrier oil, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, warm the mixture over very low heat.
- Allow the mixture to cool slightly, and then fill a dropper with it.
- Place a few drops (4-5) into the affected ear while laying on your side, and allow the solution to sit for 8-10 minutes.
- Drain your ear in the sink and repeat on the other ear if necessary. Use 3 times per day for a maximum of 3 days.
Thyme And Lavender For Ear Infection
- Add 2 drops of thyme and 2 drops of lavender essential oils to 1 tablespoon of coconut oil.
- Mix well and massage the outer ear lobe and cartilage, and behind the ear.
- Be careful not to insert this mixture inside the ear.
- The combination of the strong infection killing properties of the thyme, and the sedative qualities of the lavender, make for a potent combination for fast relief and healing.
- Do NOT place any essential oils inside the ear if you have a ruptured eardrum!!! Only a doctor can offer and exact diagnosis for an earache.
- Essential oils are AMAZING at reducing pain and inflammation and can even address underlying virus and infection.
- There are many ways to use essential oils to help with an earache. Make sure to read through suggestions and precautions carefully to ensure that you are choosing the proper essential oils for each method.
- Feel good knowing you are taking care of you and your loved ones’ bodies with organic, high quality essential oils and self-massage.
Your ears will thank you!