Most people suffer from ear infections at some point in their lives. These infections can be caused by an array of things including colds, sinus infections, allergies, excess mucus, changes in pressure, infected adenoids, smoking and so on. Sometimes, infections can be hard to treat. They cause great discomfort and looking for a natural remedy that works is critical. Essential oils can help clear ear infections. How do they work and are they safe? This article explores this topic in depth.
Facts About Essential Oils For Ear Infections
Studies have been undertaken to determine the efficacy of some essential oils in treating ear infections. Even though more oils need to be studied, research findings on basil and tea tree oils have shown positive results. A 2006 study on tea tree oil revealed that it had potent antibacterial properties that can be more effective than antimicrobial cleaning agents. The chemical property in the tea tree oil responsible for this action is terpinen-4-ol. This compound kills any bacteria that it comes into contact with.
In another 2005 study, basil essential oil was found to eliminate acute ear infections at a satisfactory rate. The animal study demonstrated that properties in basil can eliminate pneumococcal and haemophilus influenzae. This goes to show that when used properly, essential oils can treat ear infections naturally.
How Essential Oils Work To Clear Ear Infections
Essential oils are potent aromatic oils derived from plants. Various plant parts are used to extract the oil through steam distillation or cold pressing. Every oil has its own unique properties and depending on how it was extracted, it has varied therapeutic compounds. Many essential oils have antimicrobial properties that kill viruses, bacteria and fungi. Some oils work by preventing viruses from replicating in the body. Scientifically, these oils are indeed capable of treating ear infections as needed.
Best Oils For Ear Infections
As hinted to above, tea tree and basil oils are some of the most notable oils for ear infections. Others are oregano, garlic, peppermint, mustard and thyme oils. Below is a close look at some of these oils and their properties.
Tea Tree Essential Oil
As mentioned above, tea tree has an antibacterial compound known as terpinen-4-ol. This element has both antimicrobial and anti inflammatory benefits. Owing to its composition, tea tree is not just used for ear infections, it is commonly used to treat acne, lice, athletes foot, dandruff, skin infections, oily skin, inflammation, itchy skin and many others. To get the most out of any essential oil, you must use a high quality pure oil. This oil is derived from the leaves of the tea tree plant which is native to Southeast Australia.
Oregano Essential Oil
Oregano oil has an active component referred to as carvacrol. This element is antiviral and can greatly help with ear infections. Mexican oregano oil is the best for ear infections. Oregano is part of the mint family and is widely known for culinary use. The oil is native to the Mediterranean region and is extracted from the oregano perennial plant. It is obtained through steam distillation and contains many other compounds like flavonoids, thymol, myrcene and more.
Basil Essential Oil
Basil oil is extracted through steam distillation of the leaves or flowers of the basil herb. With a thin clear consistency, this is a sweet smelling herbaceous oil that comes with many benefits. It is mainly composed of linalool, eugenol, fenchol, methyl chavicol, among others. These properties make the oil an antimicrobial and anti inflammatory agent. As mentioned earlier, animal studies revealed that this oil can kill all manner of microbes including those that cause ear infection.
How To Use Essential Oils To Treat Ear Infection
Essential oil safety is pivotal whether you are treating an ear infection or any other condition. For any topical use, dilute essential oil with carrier oil. This basically prevents and reduces any irritation or burning that is caused by potent essential oil. The best carrier oils are olive, jojoba, coconut and sweet almond oils. For every drop of essential oil, use a teaspoon of carrier oil.
A rule of thumb is to always do a patch test on your inner arm before using any oil or blend. For ear infections, you can soak a cotton ball in your diluted oil and place it lightly in the ear. This is to allow the oil to slowly slide into the affected ear canal. Never use cotton balls inside your ear canal, allow the liquid to flow slowly. Any forced irritation makes ear infection worse.
Another way to use essential oil for ear infection is to use a dropper. Using the dropper, release a drop or two inside the ear canal. Tilt your head to make sure the oil doesn’t spill. Allow a minute for the oil to settle then sit up to ensure that extra oil drips out. Some people will rub the oil around the ear to reduce pain and inflammation. If your middle ear is not infected, this method can help.
Start by making sure that your essential oils are of high quality. Poor quality oils may not contain therapeutic compounds mentioned above. Then, choose a suitable carrier oil and mix your remedy in a clean environment. Follow instructions carefully to avoid using too much oil. Before all this however, consult your doctor just to be sure. A health expert can shed more light on how to use the oils effectively.
If you are not allowed to use essential oils for medical reasons, use a different alternative like a warm compress for ear infection. When used properly, these oils should help clear ear infection within a few days. If you don’t get relief, consult your doctor for further investigations. Essential oils help keep you healthy naturally and giving them a try can make all the difference.