Earaches and Ear Infections




by Andrew W. Saul

Many medicines for earache are actually ineffective even though still commonly prescribed. Way back in 1983, the February 10th issue of the New England journal of Medicine reported that a three-year study of decongestants and antihistamines commonly prescribed by ear specialists showed that they are no better than nothing at all. Putting tubes in a child's ears is hardly a pleasing alternative. When your child (or adult family member) has pain in or around the ear, here are some other approaches to consider.

1. Simple earache is likely to be a symptom of an ear infection. Almost anything you do to fight the infection will fight the earache as well. Large doses of vitamin C are especially effective. At high levels, vitamin C is a natural immune booster and antihistamine. It will also reduce inflammation and fever, and is safer than pharmaceutical drugs. Details of vitamin C dosage and administration, written by medical doctors, will be found at


2. Check and see if the uppermost neck bones are misaligned. If one or more of these cervical vertebrae are "out," the resulting strain on muscles or nerves can lead to an earache. To check this out, find the place where the neck, skull and jaw meet. This spot is just under the ear. If gentle pressure on this spot is painful, you may have an earache that a chiropractor may be able to help. It is worth a therapeutic trial to find out.

3. Warm, damp compresses are a traditional earache treatment. A washcloth moistened in warm tap water (or very briefly in a microwave oven) works fine, and feels good. Even better is a little warm (not hot!) oil introduced carefully into the ear canal. Test temperature before administering.

4. To help relieve pressure and encourage natural drainage, you can try a simple massage technique. Gently press just under each ear. Now continue pressing, moving downward and forward along and under the edge of the jawbone. Repeatedly massaging like this aids in relaxing and clearing the ears.

5. Give lots and lots of liquids. Vegetable juice is ideal. Dr. Ralph Bookman, President Ronald Reagan’s personal physician, said, “Liquids make mucus liquid.” This is very helpful for clearing out the gunk that germs love to live in.

6. Say no, or at least no for now, to dairy products. Long known to be congestive, milk and other dairy foods should be halted while there is an ear infection. My father’s barbershop choir director told the men that they should not have any milk or cheese before a concert. Why? Because of the phlegm that so quickly may build up in the throat. To this I would add, “Or ears.” If dairy is non-negotiable for you, then choose cultured milk products such as yogurt or aged cheese. And drink a full glass of water with each dairy serving. This is an old (and I mean millennia-old) suggestion from Ayurvedic medicine. And, for dairy addicts, it’s a mighty good one.

7. I think that natural healing advocates who believe that earaches and infections are fundamentally caused by improper diet are right. Many kids are fed processed meats, white bread, sugar and chemically-doctored foods daily. This must stop, or the earaches won't. A plant-based diet with lots of fruit, vegetable salads, whole grains, and legumes (peas, beans, lentils) results in healthier children. Think that your kids won't accept these good foods? Mine did. Not without a struggle, granted. But I leveled with them and cut a deal: “Eat this, drink this, and take your vitamin C, and I will probably not have to take you to the doctor and you get a shot." It worked. I raised my children all the way into college without one single dose of any antibiotic or any antihistamine, not ever. Consider the powerless default scenario of ever-more medicines that are no better than a placebo. If you possibly can, start your children eating right early, and it will pay dividends for a lifetime.

Revised and copyright 2019 by Andrew W. Saul. Original version copyright 2004 and prior years.

Andrew Saul is the author of the books FIRE YOUR DOCTOR! How to be Independently Healthy (reader reviews at http://www.doctoryourself.com/review.html ) and DOCTOR YOURSELF: Natural Healing that Works. (reviewed at http://www.doctoryourself.com/saulbooks.html


Andrew W. Saul


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