Watchful waiting can be the better method of handling middle-ear infections in our children. It is said the most frequent reason for children's antibiotic use in the U.S. is for ear infections.
In a parent's attempt to avoid the overuse of pain relievers, decongestants, antihistamines and antibiotics, it may be in the child's best interest to try long trusted herbal remedies for pain relief and see if the infection resolves itself.
The structure of a child's ear and the fact that their young immune systems are still immature, they are more prone to infection. The eustachian tube connects the middle-ear cavity to the throat, their purpose being to maintain air pressure in and drain fluids from the middle ear. In young children these tubes are shorter and smaller, therefore increasing the likelihood of improper drainage and irritation from allergies and microorganisms. Infection and inflammation can develop which results in pain.
Garlic fights bacterial infection by being a natural antibiotic. It also works against fungal infection. Before the Age of Antibiotics with the discovery of penicillin in 1928 by Alexander Fleming, garlic was relied heavily upon for the treatment of infection. The source ingredient in this wonder herb was discovered in the 1920's when researchers at Sandoz Pharmaceuticals in Switzerland isolated alliin. When garlic is chopped or chewed, the alliin comes in contact with a garlic enzyme, allinase, which transforms it into another chemical, allicin, a powerful antibiotic.
Calendula has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral properties and is so very gentle.
Mullein flowers have long been added to olive oil as an ear oil to help reduce pain, inflammation and fight bacteria.
St. Johnswort also contains antibacterial properties and helps with the inflammation. The buds and flowers contain hypericin, a treasure responsible for the plants healing powers.
Antibiotics are a godsend when truly needed, but the problem is that while antibiotics do destroy harmful bacteria the friendly bacteria that normally fights against the colonization of the bad guys is also destroyed. Overuse of such antibiotics increases bacterial resistance, which means the antibiotics may become ineffective.
We want our child's system to build immunity by being able to recognize and mount a response to invaders. However, if you suspect your child is not improving after a day or two, don't hesitate to go to your physician. If there is dizziness, nausea and vomiting it may be a problem with the inner ear which is not the time for home remedies. These ear drops should not be used if the eardrum is perforated, if something is lodged in the ear or if there is drainage.
Don't use oil in the ears if the problem is swimmer's ear. The ear canal has to dry out therefore oil can make things worse.
Herbal remedies can help reduce the frequency and severity but if your child continues to develop these infections seek the advise of your doctor for further testing and check for food allergies.
To use the Herbal Garlic Ear Drops:
Warm the bottle in a pan of warm (not boiling) water a few minutes to warm the oil. Though olive oil is the one oil that can withstand higher temperatures without breaking down, you don't want the blend getting too warm or the allicin in the garlic will degrade. In my research for the best way to warm the oil blend, most sources say to warm the bottle in a warm water bath. Other sources just say to roll the bottle between your hands to warm it up. And another said to just let the bottle come to room temperature (olive oil coagulates when cold so you'll know when it warms up when it is again in a liquid state). As long as the oil is just heated enough to bring it back to a liquid state, it shouldn't harm the properties of the blend.
Should you have concerns about reheating the whole bottle over and over with each use, then choose one of the other two methods.
Shake and test on your arm so it is not hot. Apply 2 drops to both ears (adding to the other ear will help protect it as well). Gently rub a bit around the outside of the ear as well. This also helps to work in the drops placed inside the ear. Plug the ear opening with a bit of cotton so the oil doesn't just drain out. Elevate your child's head and turn on a humidifier. A warm, moist washcloth held over the inflamed ear can be very beneficial as well. Apply the ear oil a few times a day during the infection.
Store the oil in the refrigerator to extend its shelf life which is about a year.
Herbal Garlic Ear Drops come in a 1 oz. glass amber dropper bottle
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