An ear infection can be caused by bacteria, a virus or fungi . Conventional drugs are not always effective in treating ear problems, and can come with nasty side effects. Fortunately there are some powerful anti-microbial herbs which you can take for treating ear infections, without the side effects of standard drugs.
Acute ear infection treatment
Initial symptoms of an infected ear can include fever, pain, headache, enlarged lymph glands, tiredness and sometimes nausea and diarrhea. Ear infection treatment at this stage is best with anti-microbial herbs like garlic, echinacea and olive leaf extract. You can add these herbs to your diet or take them as teas, tinctures or capsules. These herbs are suitable for children and are often available in child-friendly liquids and tinctures.
Other effective herbs for treating infected ears are Golden seal, the Chinese Herbal combination Gao Mao Ling, Wild Indigo, Cat’s Claw and Pau d’arco.
Chronic ear infection treatment
Symptoms of chronic or recurrent ear infections can include fluid congestion, hearing loss, ringing in the ears, loss of balance, dizziness and ongoing fatigue.
For chronic cases the best ear infection treatment is a powerful Chinese herb called astragalus. This herb fortifies the immune system and helps rebuild strength and stamina. Astragalus is also a good preventative to keep further infections at bay.
Long term side effects of an infected ear can be tinnitus (ringing in the ear), dizziness and loss of hearing. Gingko biloba is a wonderful herb that can give symptomatic relief to these symptoms. Gingko biloba works by improving circulation, oxygen and nutrient supply to the ears.
Herbs for treating the lymph
To help the liver, spleen and lymphatic system, which can be affected with infections, the herbs milk thistle and red root are traditionally used.
Herbs to reduce inflammation
A lot of the pain and soreness associated with infected ears comes from inflammation of the ear and Eustachian tubes. Inflamed tissue and fluid in the ear puts pressure on the nerves causing pain.
Inflammation is characterized by pain, heat, redness and swelling. There is also a reduction in function of the affected area. In some people, complete healing from an infection never occurs, and chronic inflammation sets in.
Fortunately there are some fantastic natural anti-inflammatories that can help ease pain and swelling without the side effects of conventional drugs. My favorites are ginger, cayenne and turmeric. You can buy these in capsules or tablets or simply use them in your cooking at home.
Herbs for reducing mucous
Mucus is a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses and is often the medium through which infections travel to the ear.
If you have a lot of mucous in your respiratory tract then the herbs garlic, horseradish, fenugreek, sage and thyme are great. You can add these herbs to your food or buy them in a capsule form.
Herbs for reducing fever
Fever should not be reduced unless it goes too high. Fever is there for a reason – it raises your body temperature to kill the invading virus or bacteria.
For high fevers which can be associated with febrile convulsions, coriander tea or cleavers can reduce the temperature and make you feel a little more comfortable.
Buying your herbs
Herbs as an ear infection treatment are a simple and cost-effective way to help your recovery. Herbs can be bought individually or mixed together in a commercial preparation from your naturopath or health food shop. Herbs can normally be sourced as teas, liquids, powders, tablets or capsules.