Pain in the ear may result from simple mechanical problems, such as the build up of earwax, or it may be due to a bacterial infection. An acute ear infection, if left untreated, can sometimes result in perforation of the eardrum and hearing loss. If you have earache, you should always consult a doctor before attempting to treat yourself with natural remedies.
Conventional treatment to remove excess wax consists of syringing and, for an infection, antibiotics. Do not remove wax yourself by poking objects into the ear. Natural therapies include hydrotherapy, acupressure and herbalism for pain relief, and naturopathy and cranial osteopathy to solve any underlying problem.
For immediate relief, hold a hot compress against the ear. The compress should be as hot as is comfortable and left against the ear until it cools. This will stimulate the circulation of blood to the area and help to alleviate the pain.
Put two drops of mullein oil on a piece of cotton wool and insert gently into the painful ear (be careful not to force too far into the ear).
Echinacea, goldenrod and goldenseal are also recommended for ear infections. All of these herbs should be available in tincture or tablet form from health food shops. Do not take goldenseal if you are pregnant or suffer from hypertension.
For repeated infections, naturopaths recommend zinc and vitamins B, C and E. Foods rich in these nutrients include dairy products, green vegetables, wholemeal bread, citrus fruits and seafood.
Pain in the ear that has started after an injury to the head or spine may be particularly responsive to gentle manipulation of the bones in the skull.