Home remedies

The best home remedies for otitis media

The best home remedies for otitis media

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Effective home remedies for self-treatment of otitis media

Inflammation of the middle ear is usually a very painful affair that usually heals itself within a few days. However, the pain can be alleviated by the following simple and proven home remedies. In the case of severe complaints, as well as in babies and toddlers, a doctor should always be consulted as a precaution, so that appropriate medication is available if necessary. Naturopathy knows supportive home remedies for the treatment of acute otitis media acuta, which often bring about a significant relief of the symptoms within a very short time.

What helps with earache? A quick overview

Onion bags have established themselves as a quick and easy home remedy. Potato bags or onion socks can also help relieve pain. Warm envelopes or exposure to a red light lamp can also help. A pad with roses and lemon balm can help to prevent unpleasant ear noises. A tea made from lemon balm flowers can also contribute to your well-being. A cantharid patch available in the pharmacy can support the body in the healing process. However, this leads to very violent blistering and is not dangerous. Therefore, it should not be used in children and, in principle, only by experienced therapists.

First aid for ear infections: onion sachets

The essential oils of the onion have an antibacterial effect. An onion sachet is the best known home remedy for earache and has proven itself as a home remedy for otitis media. It stimulates the metabolism and expectorates. The heat generated in the sachet also relieves the pain. The onion bag is also suitable for small children. In adults, it can optionally be supplemented with garlic and chamomile. Here you will find detailed instructions on how to make onion bags.

Make onion sachets
  • One or two onions are chopped and grated and spread over two linen cloths, handkerchiefs or cloth diapers
  • Fold the towels together and place the compresses on each ear
  • Then tie a cloth, headband or thin scarf around your head or put on a hat to fix the pads

The children usually sleep on the affected side. In this case, the compress - tied into an onion bag - can be gently pushed under the ear. The effect increases if the bag is warmed up a little over hot steam. Leave it underneath for about half an hour, check again and again that the child is not turning and that the small package is lying correctly and is not slipping. If the children lie on the onions, the vapors can be better activated by the heat generated. This can be repeated a few times a day. Another option is to fry the onion pieces until they are glassy and pack them warm in the flax bag.

Potato sachets as an alternative to onion sachets

Similar to the onion bag, potatoes can also be used. These are cooked softly and pounded. Then put the pound in a linen cloth and let it cool down a bit. Place the slightly warm cloth with the potatoes on the affected ear for about half an hour.

Onion bags and potato bags naturally also work with heat, which often has a positive effect. Alternatively, this influence can be used in the case of otitis media by a red light lamp. Care should be taken to ensure that the lamp is not too close to the body or ear for too long so that it does not get too hot for those affected.

Warmth as a therapy for earache

Even a warm cloth, which is placed on the painful ear, can contribute to the relief. It should be noted that the cloth is not heated too much, otherwise it can burn the skin. It is best to hold the cloth briefly on your cheek to check whether you can put the cloth on yourself or your child.

Irradiation of a red light lamp can also help with ear pain. The painful ear should be irradiated for ten to fifteen minutes. In children, the duration should not last longer than five minutes at the beginning and can then be increased slowly if necessary. This method is less suitable for smaller children because they often cannot sit still for long. To avoid possible burns, the child should be observed during the heat treatment. If there are signs of reddening of the skin, the radiation must be stopped. If in doubt, a doctor should be asked whether the red light application is suitable.

Natural help through homeopathy

Homeopathy offers some remedies that can help relieve uncomfortable ear pain and accompanying symptoms such as hearing loss or ringing in the ears. In order for the preparations to work accordingly, it is important for otitis media acuta that they are used as early as possible.

If drafts or cold wind are the cause of the complaints and the aching ear is red and overheated, Aconitum (D6) is the most suitable option. Belladonna can be the treatment of choice if, in addition to the stinging pain, excessive sweating and fever occur in parallel. Chamomilla (D6) primarily has a good effect on children, especially when the pain increases with heat or with cool drinks.

Roses and lemon balm against ear noises

In addition to the stinging, pulsating pain, there are often unpleasant ear noises such as e.g. a whistle, ringing, rustling or roaring.

A rose and wormwood overlay can help here.

For this you need:

  • a clove of garlic
  • 20 grams of rose petals
  • 10 grams of wormwood leaves
  • 30 grams of bran

The garlic is peeled and crushed, the leaves are crushed in a mortar. Mix everything together with the bran to a porridge and wrap a small amount of it in a linen or cotton cloth every evening. Put the package on the aching ear and leave it there overnight.

A balm infusion is also an effective home remedy for ear pain and noise in the ear, because the flowers contain essential oils that have a calming and strengthening effect.

How to prepare the tea:
  1. Boil a liter of water
  2. Pour 60 grams of lemon balm flowers over it
  3. Mix the two well and let them steep for ten minutes
  4. Then strain and drink a cup three times a day after eating

Cantharid plasters to remove toxins

A so-called “cantharid patch” is suitable for pain relief in the case of an inflammation of the ear. This is a special plaster from the pharmacy, which is coated with an extract of the dried and pulverized ground beetle type "Spanish fly". The application is one of the "rejection processes" and has a very strong skin-irritating effect.

The poison cantharidin contained in the paste creates a burn and stimulates the blood circulation. A few hours after the patch is placed on the bone behind the ear, a blister is formed that is gently punctured to allow the fluid to drain. In this way, the toxins are removed from the body, at the same time the body's defense is stimulated by the artificially created inflammation. However, the use should only be made by experienced therapists and the plasters are not suitable for children.

Advice on the use of home remedies for otitis media

The home remedies mentioned are to be regarded as natural help, but in no way replace a medical diagnosis or treatment. Also in naturopathy, the use of painkillers is seen as very helpful against the severe pain in acute otitis media.

Critics point out (rightly) that the inflammation takes place in the middle ear, but the alternative remedies would affect the ear from the outside and thus do not even reach the site of the actual inflammation. However, experience reports show that the described methods and agents can have a healing and soothing effect on the environment of the painful place and have proven themselves in many cases. (tf, nr, vb)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Thorsten Fischer, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch


  • Thomas Lenarz, Hasn-Georg Boenninghaus: Otorhinolaryngology, Springer, 14th edition, 2012
  • Ursel Bühring: Practical textbook of modern herbal medicine, Haug, 2011
  • Heinz Schilcher, Susanne Kammerer, Tankred Wegener: Phytotherapy guidelines: With access to the medical world, Urban & Fischer Verlag / Elsevier GmbH, 2016

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