One of the most beloved herbal DIY recipes in my first book, “An Encyclopedia of Natural Healing for Children and Infants,” is for ear drops. If it seems like kids complain about their ears much more than adults, it’s true.
Children are more prone to occasional ear issues due to their anatomy. Their heads are still growing, and their Eustachian tubes are at an angle that does not promote proper drainage.
Warm, herb-infused oils can feel so good and soothing in the ears. This is one of the recipes I used to share with moms at the onset of immune season, so they could be armed with ways to support their kids’ health any time of day or night.*
This simple herbal DIY recipe allows you to make ear drops at home, using just a few ingredients. A note on sourcing: These herbal oils listed in the ingredients are available at some health food stores and herbal apothecaries, or online. If you can only find dried herbs (available in bulk at most co-ops and health food stores, or online), that’s OK. I offer instructions for both.
Basic Ear Drops Recipe
The herbs in this blend, along with Garlic, have been used in studies to support a healthy response to occasional ear pain in children.*
- 1/2 ounce Mullein flower oil
- 1/2 ounce St. John’s Wort oil
- 1/2 ounce Calendula oil
Mix together in a small bottle with a dropper. Use a couple of drops in the ears a few times a day. Store in a cool, dry place for up to three months. (If you need to store these drops longer, you can refrigerate them.)
Additional herbs to include:
1/2 ounce Garlic oil or Goldenseal vegetable glycerin preparation, to support a healthy microbial balance at the onset of acute issues*
1/2 ounce Lobelia oil, to support occasional pain*
Note: Be sure to use Mullein flowers, not the leaves, in this recipe. While Mullein leaves are often used to support lung health, the plant’s tiny yellow flowers are used to support the ears.*
If you do not have premade herb oils, place dried herbs in a jar and cover with olive oil. Allow to soak, shaking to combine daily, for a week.
Simple Garlic Ear Oil
Since the immune system doesn’t keep office hours, having a few simple DIY recipes can be a real help to parents of young kids. This Garlic oil is made from just two ingredients you probably always have in your kitchen.
- 4 cloves Garlic, minced
- 2 ounces olive oil
Place the Garlic and oil in a small saucepan over very low heat. Heat for 20-30 minutes, until fragrant. The oil should never boil (and you don’t want to burn the Garlic), so keep the heat as low as possible. Strain the oil into a bottle with a dropper. (Reserve the Garlic for another use, if desired.) Allow to cool to body temperature before using.
Store in a cool, dry place for up to 3 months. (If you need to store these drops longer, you can refrigerate them.)
Simple Herb Ear Oil
For another, even simpler ear oil, combine 1 ounce warm olive oil with a few drops of Lavender and Rosemary essential oils. Rub around the ears, throat and nose.
- Always allow ear drops to come to room temperature first. Cold ear drops will not feel good and could make a child dread the drops instead of welcoming them.
- Apply a hot compress, hot water bottle or heating pad to the ear(s) for 10-20 minutes, several times a day.
- Glycerin absorbs water, so choose glycerites over alcohol-based preparations to absorb fluid in the ears.