Ear Ache Remedies

Last Modified on Jun 18, 2014



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Garlic Treatment for Ears

Folk Cure Ingredients

  • Garlic - 1 clove
  • Cotton or cloth

Slice open one side of a clove of garlic to expose the interior, and cut the garlic into a piece small enough to fit into the ear but (CAUTION!) too large to slide into the ear canal. Wrap the garlic in a bit of cotton gauze or cheesecloth, and place into the opening of the ear canal.

[WARNING!]  02/28/2009: Eb22 from Hilo, Hawaii: "Warning! Do NOT PUT GARLIC INTO YOUR EAR! I placed a peeled garlic clove in my ear for 2 hours to relieve a 5 week long ear infection which had made me me desperate. 1 hour later my face went numb on that side. 7 hours later I woke up with vertigo and ringing in my ear. It is now 3 weeks later and I still feel vertigo and the ringing makes it difficult to sleep. I hope this goes away!"

07/01/2009: Jeremiah from San Diego, California replies: "Eb22, there are likely several reasons that this happened to you. If you are allergic to allicin or any of the other properties unique to garlic, that would explain the reaction, which I remember reading somewhere (I'm sorry that I can't remember where). Allicin is a very potent chemical, which is why it can irritate the stomach and/or the digestive tract.

If you are not allergic to any of the compounds, the length of time that you had the ear infection (5 weeks is quite a bit of time) might have something to do with it. The potency of the garlic/allicin, added to the fact that your immune system is working hard against the infection anyways, may cause for a little bit of overcompensation in regards to fighting the infection.

A third possibility is the first two possibilities combined. Both an allergy to the unique compounds in garlic combined with the duration of the infection as well as the fact that your immune system is hard at work already, could very well cause a little bit of overcompensation in regards to fighting the infection.

I don't know whether you are allergic to garlic, but something about it caused an abnormal reaction to what has otherwise been proven an effective method of treating an ear infection if used properly. I would advise that you look further into this, as this could be an underlying symptom of something else."

[YEA]  11/26/2008: Ani from Ontario, Canada: "I never tried garlic juice and it does sound like it would be painful but I've always used garlic successfully to cure an ear infection. Just score a garlic clove, wrap in gauze so there is no too direct contact and place in ear, preferably over night. Usually does the trick.

I've also used olive oil to soothe ear pain. Heat the oil a bit and dip cotton and make into a little ball to pout in the ear. The warmth and something in the oil immediately eases the ear pain and often is enough to cure the problem."

[NAY]  09/11/2008: Sarah from Youngstown, OH: "Fresh Garlic cure for Ear Infection: I put a few drops of fresh garlic juice in my infected ear, hoping the burning would stop the itching. I felt nothing and it did nothing. Disappointed."

08/31/2009: Leah from Friendswood, Tx replies: "Use a few drops of apple cider vinegar"

[YEA]  07/22/2008: Robin from Ladera Ranch, CA: "I was told if my son was breastfed he would have a stronger immune system. Now I wonder what time of immune system he would of had if I didn't breastfeed him! He had constant ear infections from the time he was 4 months old until about 6 years old. He was on numerous bouts of antibiotics, sometimes both ears twice a month!!! I spent soooo much money on doctors appts and antibiotic prescriptions. His immune system got worse from what I think are the vast amounts of antibiotics. Finally, a guy at work told me to go to this natural store. I went and a man came out and sold me a bottle of ear oil (mostly garlic oil with a couple of other things) for 2 dollars. I brought it home, tried it when my son had an infection and I was BLOWN AWAY!!! About 2 days worth and it was gone. What's amazing is, it came back once or twice after that for about the first year and he hasn't had one since. I wish someone would have told me sooner!!!! Yeah he smelled like garlic and he was mad about that but no more expensive trips to the doctor and these crazy amounts of antibiotics. I've seen these bottles of ear oil since then and given them to my friends with kids and they said it worked for them too and they were amazed. The sell them at like whole foods and trader joes. Doesn't hurt to try right?"

[YEA]  01/07/2009: Tara from Marlborough, MA USA replies: "I saw comments about garlic oil working for ear infections. A few weeks ago, my 4 yr old son was very lethargic and his ear was bright red and burning. He said it hurt. My husband chopped up one clove of fresh garlic, put it in maybe a couple table spoons of olive oil in a small cup and warmed it up in the microwave. He strained the garlic out, let it cool and put a dropperful in my son's affected ear. I gave my son some painkiller and a cold compress and he fell asleep for the night. By morning, he was fine!"

[WARNING!]  06/02/2008: Ouchy McNumbface from Suffolk, England: "DO NOT .. i repeat DO NOT, EVER put raw, undiluted garlic juice into your ear. I've had an ear infection for most of today, experiencing the normal agony [i've had maybe thirty of these damn infections over the years] and decided that i'd give the garlic juice a try. So i finely chopped seven cloves of garlic, stuck them into a large, plastic syringe [no needle!], put the end of the syringe into my ear and pushed the plunger. I hesitate to call it a plunger, I feel somewhat more inclined to call it a "detonator"; for at that moment the pain in my ear can only be described as... indescribable. I've had broken bones which hurt less than this. I've passed kidney stones which were positively comfortable compared with the insane, unimagineable combination of white-hot blowtorch to the entire right hand side of my face, and dynamite-coated road-drill intent on making a rather large impression/hole on my ear drum. I ran around the room desperately seeking some kind of cure for my newly acquired, self-inflicted facedeath, and in an insane panic managed to: 1: take four pain killers. 2: squirt cold water into my earhole and 3: place a nicotine patch over my ear. I'm not entirely sure what inspired the third choice, but in my insane stupor i think my brain somehow associated nicotine patches with stress/pain relief, so in a cloudy haze of bewildering desperation and nonsensical panic, i slapped 21mg of nicotinell over my earhole.

In a nutshell, it hurts. Don't do it. If you do do it, film it, put it on youtube."

11/19/2008: M from San Diego, Ca replies: "Dear Ouchy Mcnumbface, hahahaha thanks for the story and advice! I will definitely not try the garlic clove remedy but oh my gosh I laughed so hard at your story tears are flowing. I'm sorry you were in pain but you really know how to make a person laugh. Thanks I needed that! I hope your ear got better."
08/21/2009: Toya from Ny, Ny replies: "OhMY GOODNESS< McNumbface@

I TRIED not to laugh, but once you called the syringe a detonator, I couldn't contain myself any longer. You definitely convinced me to never put garlic juice in the ear. Oh my how funny. I'm sorry for your pain and I hope you are better now."
08/22/2009: Sara from The Beach, Canada replies: "to Ouchy McNumbface, and your experience with raw garlic juice for ear pain. i hope you feel better, but if laughter is the best medicine you just single handedly cured everyone on this site. i havnt laughed that hard for a long time."
08/22/2009: Kay from In The Valley, Ca replies: "OMG, I think I just busted a gut!!! What's the cure for THAT? Thank you so much for sharing this story, and I hope you don't mind our laughing. Oh, and thanks for the warning. Did the nicotine patch help (he, he)?"
08/25/2009: Rob from Manhattan, New York replies: "thanks Ouchy for the warning! sorry to have a good laugh at your expense...sort of like laughing at a funeral. I hope that all is healed."
08/31/2009: Leah from Friendswood, Tx replies: "ROFL! OMG, Laughing as Im typing, I can only imagine, I have also had instances like you where you just dont know what to do and do whatever to make it right again. Yeah, raw garlic is some strong stuff, never use just the raw juice, if you do, put some warmed coconut oil in it, like a drop, 2 at the most, Im still splitting my side, thanks for the laugh, sorry it had to be at your expense, I can honestly say, I know how you feel."
09/16/2009: Tracy from Arlington, Texas, Usa replies: "OMGOSH!!! Ouchy McNumbface! I hope your ear is better. I'm sitting here desperate to find some relief for my chronic ear ache till I can make it to the doctor appointment in the morning. I was almost in tears as I searched for some profound new way to ease the pain, and now I am laughing so hard, I think my ear may hurt worse once I stop, but that was hilarious! Have you considered stand up comedy? If you can articulate yourself on stage as well as you can write, I will be looking for you in the movies!!! Thanks for the crazy visuals! And again, hope you are feeling better!"

EC: One of our favorite posts on the site!

09/17/2009: Candi from Spring Hill, Florida replies: "I do not understand why you all are making your own garlic juice or oil. Go to the health food store and BUY a bottle of garlic oil made specifically for ear infections. Then you won't be putting pieces of garlic in your ears. I mean seriously Ouchie, do you not think that small pieces of the garlic went through that syringe tip and into your ear? Talk about OUCHIE! No wonder it hurt so badly. BUY GARLIC OIL AT A HEALTH FOOD STORE AND STOP MAKING YOUR OWN, PEOPLE. It is CHEAP. Won't break the bank OR make you go deaf."
11/01/2010: Johnny from Portland, Or replies: "LOL!!! Thanks for the good laugh :D I think you cured me. The juice of 7 cloves of garlic! Why such extremes? I can't imagine the pain that much alicin caused. Hope you got better quick. Alicin is very powerful indeed and obviously a strong irritant. As such, only a small amount is needed, 1 clove peeled only at the tip and carefully scored there is enough (as instructions given above). You CAREFULLY insert clove (big enough to fit but not enter fully) into the ear for a few hours (max 3) and it will kill anything with little pain (think fumigating more than pouring liquid alicin onto your ear drum). Fresh garlic is also important, as the alicin vapors quickly dissipate after a few hours of contact with air. Hope this helps you! It helped me a great deal."
06/01/2011: Jc from Fullerton, Ca replies: "Ouchy McNumbface; sorry for your experience with garlic juice. But totally agree this was hilarious and should consider stand up comedy! You've made my day... now I have to explain to my co-workers why I was laughing so hard ;D I hope you are better."
09/04/2011: Sbvmax2 from Plymouth, Mn / Usa replies: "Ouchy McNumbface.Yeah I just tried this a few days ago. Was at the pool doing exercises and someone jumped in and just got two drops in my ear. Woke up the next morning with an ear infection. So I decided to use new sandpaper for my ear. Just cut 2. 5" x 9" or so of 220 grit and put clear packing tape on the backside (lasts longer after washing it) and then put fresh clove on sandpaper to get the juices going. I just used a Que tip and put it right in there. I was amazed how much it burned, it is pretty intense though. Only good thing was I wasn't thinking about my neck, shoulder, hand and back pain as much for a few minutes :) I just got back from the pool a little bit ago and got another couple of pool drops of water in there. Still have the ear ache so I just put Hydrogen Peroxide in my ear once I got home. Need to do this anyways if you put it directly in the ear since it builds up. So now going to put it on a Que tip again. However with the sandpaper, after I am done with an application I wash it off with water and take my White Vinegar and Chlorine mixture and spray it on the sandpaper just in case. Well for the athletes foot sandpaper I have to do that. Only thing is, I don't see how just putting the garlic in a cotton ball or tissue is going to do anything really. So even if you block the air from the outside, just the heat build up and the garlic "vapor" starts to cure it? If there is no vapor effect then I don't see how much garlic juice can really be touching your skin to help. ----- I've been using garlic on my athlete's foot too. I've had athlete's foot for over 3 years and prescriptions just aren't doing it. Granted it's not that bad though, but it just won't go away. I've only not put something on it 2 days out of a year. Also spray my shower with my Vinegar and Chlorine mixture. Always wear flip flops and water shoes, which also get sprayed after I wear them at the pool. I guess I just don't heal worth a damn.""
[YEA]  12/21/2011: Ashley from Celle, Germany replies: "I have never read a recommendation to put garlic juice into your ear. Onion juice is usually recommended, or a chunk of garlic wrapped in tissue.

Garlic is highly potent and should be used accordingly. I currently have a chunk of raw garlic in each ear wrapped in toilet paper to help clear up ear pain from a cold/flu that's been coming on slowly. I also just ate two cloves of raw garlic, crushed and doused in olive oil to protect the stomach.

I put the crushed and oiled garlic onto a spoon and take about half to all of it at once, depending on how big the clove(s) is/are, then I swallow the crushed clove with a swig of water like a pill. This helps me to best avoid the strong taste of garlic."

01/23/2012: Kristen from Santa Cruz, Ca replies: "Ouchy mcnumb face thank you for such an hysterical account of your ear pain! Just reading your entry made my husband and I laugh so hard that I think his ear is already feeling better. You should definitely consider creating a blog as you are a great writer! Here's to no more garlic encounters in your future! Thanks again;)"
03/13/2012: Helen from Kaiserslautern, Germany replies: "OMG, 4 YEARS LATER AND THIS IS STILL FLIPPIN HILARIOUS!!! Thanks for the visual ouchy, I feel better already :)"
12/28/2012: Montemamma from Mckinney, Texas, Usa replies: "Oh em gee and pshahahahahahaha! thankyou Ouchymcnumbface for your hilarious post:)!! That made my ear feel better:)!!!"
[YEA]  07/22/2013: Cherokeenanny from Felicity, Oh replies: "Seven cloves of garlic, really?? kinda make one hard pressed for giving sympathy.. WAY excess.. Done this many times and it works..... every time."

[YEA]  05/11/2008: Rita from Markham, Canada: "My four year old had a severe ear ache after a year of having ear aches every few weeks. I was tired of giving her antibiotics, therefore this time I wanted to find out a natural way to cure this pain. I tried the garlic cure and it worked. Although she did complain about the burning in her ear and she wanted me to clean it out, she ended up falling asleep and slept through the rest of the night. When she woke up she did not have an ear ache any longer. Whereas before putting the squeezed drops of garlic into her ear, she would dose off for a bit but then the pain would wake her up and she could not fall asleep. The crushed garlic juice in her ear really worked."

[YEA]  01/11/2008: Brigitte from Houston, Texas: "Garlic works to alleviate ear aches. You simply must be sure to take the garlic clove and expose the tender inner flesh by scoring the outer flesh of the garlic; then wrap the garlic clove in a light cotton gauze to prohibit the ear from making direct contact with the garlic clove and place this into the ear canal. Be sure that the garlic clove is large enough to prevent its becoming lodged in the ear canal. leave it there and you will find that the pain will disipate. I have used this remedy repeatedly with great success. When my oldest daughter was about two years old she found it so soothing that if the garlic fell from her ear she would pick it up and place it back in her ear all by herself. Garlic works to alleviate ear aches"

07/27/2011: Bitten from Largo, Florida replies: "I would like to thank all who have added their stories, I have greatly benefitted, and I thnk this is a SUPER site! Thanks again :D"

[YEA]  10/04/2007: Vina from Marian, Ohio: "your garlic cure is awsome -- i tried your garlic cure for ear infection it work like a charm thank you god bless you."

01/10/2012: Dawn from Springdale, Pa replies: "I'm new on this site...... And I love it. It's so helpful. Thanks!"
03/08/2012: V from New York replies: "Recently, my twin Lex began to experience itching in his throat and pain on swallowing. This symptom is usual for him, and it usually foretells his version of a common cold. (first the pain on swallowing, then extraordinary headache, and finally congestion that lasts for weeks or even months. I think he would have preferred the headache. Lexxie is a wee bit special. He's not retarded, but pain frightens him a lot. When he got his trouble swallowing, I completely ignored it, as his problem is always gone in three days; I just poke an excedrin down his throat at the headache part and let him do somersaults all day. But instead of the headache, he got a really nasty, really persistent earache. My friend's father suggested I try to drip some olive oil into his ear. I dunno if the olive oil was the cause, but... He required tylenol to sleep that night. When the pain was gone, (in the morning) he was dripping olive oil out of his ear. That night, his pain returned with a vengeance. As I write this now, he is laying in bed with his hands over his ears. He is swearing, and has taken both a tylenol and an excedrin, both to no effect. And both extra strength. I tried to poke him with garlic but he nearly bit me. Never give your special brother olive oil to treat earache. I'm about to take him to the doctor's now, I hope they can do something for him as I really hate to see him in pain."

[NAY]  05/21/2007: Marie from Arlington, WA: "I tried the crushed garlic juice in the ear. I "DO NOT" recommend this. I was in "SEVERE" "PAIN" for about five minutes!!!! It did not cure the ear infection. I only tried it in one ear because I could not purposly take that much pain again!!!!"

11/21/2012: Cooky from San Fran, Ca replies: "DO NOT put garlic juice in your ear it will burn your ear... just go to the store and buy some garlic and mullein ear drops for your ear and just follow the directions on label."
11/21/2012: Lisa from Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa replies: "Hi Cooky, Actually, you don't even need to go buy the drops. You can save yourself money by making your own garlic ear oil. I would do this whenever my kids got an earache through all the years of raising them. It always worked like a charm.

I would take a bit of olive oil and gently heat it and then put a clove of garlic in it and let it steep. After it would cool down, I'd remove the garlic clove, gently warm it and drop it in their ears then put a cotton ball in. Very simple and very effective. Never had to take my kids to the doctor for earaches, that's how effective it was. Hope this helps, Lisa"

11/22/2012: Mmsg from Somewhere, Europe replies: "Lisa, I did a simpler version and it also always worked, never took them to doctors for earaches: I just put olive oil on a piece of cotton and put it (not deeply) in the ear for at least two days - changing once in about 12 hours. Earache usually gone in 24 hours, but I kept it there a day more, to make sure it was really all gone. I still do that if I feel the slightest tingle in my ear."
11/22/2012: Lisa from Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa replies: "Hi Mmsg, It's always good to hear your input on things! So, you mean I didn't even need to use the garlic?! I learned this a very long time ago about the garlic oil so I don't know what my source was. I always figured it was the garlic doing the most beneficial part. Since you're in Europe, is this a known tradition? Is this common for people to do as a folk remedy? Because America is such a melting pot, I find this kind of knowledge has been lost for the most part. Many of the things I know are from Europeans who wrote books or articles. I started studying long before I had kids and this knowledge helped sustain me through all my child- rearing years (which I'm still in! LOL) They were such people as Paavo Airola, Viktoras Kulvinskas, Tine Thevenin, articles in Mothering magazine back in the early 80's, etc. As a result, I never had to take my kids to the drs! I try to pass this on to women raising their own kids. Hope you do too! Best to you always, Lisa"
11/22/2012: Mmsg from Somewhere, Europe replies: "Lisa, I never knew about the garlic, that's why I never used it. I would imagine it is indeed more potent with garlic, but just the oil-in-cotton did work for us. I learnt this from my grandma, who was from Russia."

[NAY]  12/05/2006: Melissa from Machesney Park, IL: "I used fresh garlic dropped in ear as another person had said that she did for her son. to get rid of the pain. I tried this on my boyfriend to try and get rid of his earache and infection. It immediately made his ear burn like it was on fire. Why, I am not sure. All I know is it caused him more pain then before. I DO NOT recommend this to anyone!!!!!! I felt so bad for him."

[NAY]  04/01/2007: Jinc's from Greenville, SC replies: "Thank you Melissa from Machesney Park, IL . . . I tried the garlic cure after getting an ear infection. I was glad to have read your warning about your boyfriend's ear burning badly. Your description of "like fire," was accurate. I did a little research and below is what Wikipedia had to say about allicin . . .

"Allicin is a powerful antibiotic and anti-fungal compound obtained from garlic.

Allicin is not present in garlic in its natural state. When garlic is chopped or otherwise damaged, [squeezed] the enzyme alliinase acts on the chemical alliin converting it into allicin. Alliin is an amino acid that does not build proteins.

Allicin is not a very stable compound. It degrades slowly upon standing and is rapidly destroyed by cooking. Allicin can be used for some medicinal purposes - it helps fighting arteriosclerosis, it has the ability to dissolve fats and it can also be used as an antioxidant to some extent.

Allicin is also the chemical constituent primarily responsible for the hot, burning flavor of fresh garlic."

Please note that alicin is described as the agent that causes the hot burning sensation when you eat raw garlic. Probably does the same thing when you put raw fresh garlic in your ear.

I put raw garlic in a thin meshed gauze and after squeezing the juice into my ear. I then pushed the gauze (with garlic still in it) into my ear. I let it stay until I couldn't take the burning anymore.

Although the burning is great, I will try to endure to see if my ear gets better now that I have some idea of why it happens. I only tried it today (1 April 07). Will let everyone know the outcome in about a week. Wanted to let you know about the burning now!

Note: Wikipedia is an open source, free, web encyclopedia. I happen to trust it greatly, although some suspect it because ANYONE can add a definition."

[YEA]  03/30/2006: Barbara from Dunwoody, GA: "I use fresh garlic as an antibiotic for earache and sinus infection. The antibiotic properties of garlic are a direct result of the allicin produced from raw, crushed garlic. This is destroyed by age and cooking - cooked garlic has virtually no antibiotic value. I crushed a fresh garlic clove, placed it in a handkerchief and squeezed a couple of drops in my son's ear, he was asleep in minutes with no pain in the morning. I've also sauteed noodles in olive oil & sprinkled fresh crushed garlic on it to address sinus problems."

[YEA]  11/16/2005: Anonymous : "Garlic for ear ache: one garlic tooth. heat not too hot. cut a piece from garlic. wrap in a cotton ball with vick 's vapor rub then insert in ear. Not both ears. in no time you'll feel better."

Garlic and ACV

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YEA (1)

[YEA]  10/23/2006: Christina from PC, Florida: "Garlic and apple cider vinegar syrup cured a yeast infection in my ear, a sore throat and all else that acv and garlic does!!Put chopped garlic into a glass jar, add 2-4 tbs of raw apple cider with the mother, close jar, let sit 24-48 hours. Either take by spoonful every few hours, or put into ear w/ qtip, or mix with equal part of olive oil and eat the healthiest salad dressing EVER!"

Garlic and Hydrogen Peroxide, Alcohol

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YEA (1)

[YEA]  06/03/2011: Holly from O'fallon, Mo: "This works! I have five kids and have dealt with numerous earaches. Chop one tooth of the garlic clove and place on a cotton ball or pad. Wrap cotton around garlic and set in a bowl. Pour peroxide or rubbing alcohol over cotton ball and let sit for a minute or two. Drop 3 or 4 drops into ear and let sit for 2 minutes. Place a dry cotton ball in ear and tilt head or lay down (on the earache side) and let drain. If using peroxide wait until bubbling stops (a few minutes). Peroxide will clean out any wax or build up in the ear. Alcohol seems to evaporate quickly and aids in draining. (But chose one ore the other, not both at the same time! )
My mom always used a washcloth filled with warm salt as pain relief for earaches. Warm 1/4 cup table salt in pan on low heat until salt is warm to the touch. Pour into center of washcloth. Bring sides of washcloth up and wrap a rubber band just above pile of salt. Place on ear until it cools(it usually lasts about 15/20 min). This heat brings great relief and is safer/easier than a heating pad (great for middle of the night! ) Be careful not to get salt too hot, it can burn the thin skin around your ear."

Garlic or Mullein Oil

Approval Ratings
YEA (1)

[YEA]  06/10/2009: Lanayanie from Santa Rosa Beach, FL: "When my son was 4, he had a recurring ear infection. Antibiotics did not help, and I was very frustrated. It seemed like a vicious cycle. Finally, I stopped taking him to a doctor (and stopped the antibiotic round). Instead, I would put a small piece of cotton ball dipped into garlic oil or mullein oil into his ear before bed time. Both are supposed to work well for this. (Mullein is an old native-American remedy for ear ache.) I also gave him high doses of vitamin C, garlic, echinacea, and golden seal (in liquid) mixed with his juice several times a day. Once he recovered, the problem did not come back."

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