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Protocols

Treating Ear Infection Naturally with Essential Oils

Overview

Alleviating Ear Pain Naturally with Essential Oils

Author: Joshua Yorgason, MD

 

Ear infections are increasingly common, typically affecting young children at a higher rate, with up to 40% of kids experiencing recurrent episodes. This excruciatingly painful condition can occur frequently and unpredictably, especially in children and is the number one reason for ER visits in the US. Because ear infections treatments are often unresolved with standard medical treatment due to biofilms produced by antibiotic-resistant bacteria or a lack of treatment for viral infections, there is a strong need for complementary and alternative medicine approaches for this condition.

 

Overview:

In this protocol, melaleuca and lavender oils are applied topically on the ear for an acute infection and melaleuca, lavender, and Protective Essential Oil Blend* are used for a chronic infection to help reduce ear pain intensity and frequency. Additionally, wild orange is added to water for internal use daily and Protective Essential Oil Blend* is used aromatically throughout the day to help avoid and ameliorate ear pain symptoms. Chronic ear pain sufferers may want to take additional steps, using a Monthly Ear Pain and use other suggested products monthly to help decrease ear pain frequency and severity.  This includes taking the Longevity supplement pack** for adults or children’s chewable multivitamins*** as well as using Xylitol Nasal Spray,**** and diffusing either Wild Orange or Protective oil blend to help prevent ear infection.

Author's Preliminary Clinical Observations

 

“I have had experience using Melaleuca essential oil in patients with ear infections.  This has helped with both bacterial and fungal ear infections.  I have had patients who were not getting better with antibiotics, who responded to the Melaleuca.  It is important the concern toxicity of oils, with the ear.  Melaleuca has been shown in an animal study to have a toxic effect on the hearing when used at full concentration, but less than 5% was safe in that study.  Some studies show that 2% Melaleuca may be effective against most bacteria.  However, still not a good idea to pour it directly in the ear or mix it and pour it without a Ear, Nose and Throat specialist directing the care.  I have also used basil and lavender in patients for ear pain.  The ear is very vascular, and applying all of these oils behind the ear, or at the entrance to the ear, without going too deep, should allow the oils and their healing constituents to get deeper in the ear canal for outer ear infections, or otitis externa (swimmer’s ear) and even into the middle ear for middle ear infections, or otitis media.” -Dr. Yorgason

 

Read article About Ear Infection by Joshua Yorgason, MD

Discussion, Articles Summaries, and Research

 

Essential oils such as thyme, melaleuca, basil, and oregano are widely used in alternative medicine for ear infections due to their chemical components including thymol, carvacrol, and salicylaldehyde that exhibit antibiotic, antiviral, and immune boosting properties. Various in vitro and in vivo studies have found that these plant compounds are able to reduce the inflammation response in the body as well as manage pain. Studies have found that the use of essential oils and products containing xylitol during infections can inhibit the growth of bacteria that commonly cause ear infections and xylitol and zinc used regularly can prevent frequent otitis media in children. Essential oils have also been found to help decrease both the frequency and severity of ear infections, making them a viable treatment option for many migraine sufferers who have otherwise found no relief or do not wish to medicate.

 

In a review of four randomized, controlled trials, it was found that Xylitol^ is an effect treatment for acute otitis media when given to children as a syrup or chewing gum at 2 grams each dose, five times daily. (Danhauer, JL, et al. Xylitol as a prophylaxis for acute otitis media: systematic review. Int J Audiol. 2010 Oct;49(10):754-61. doi: 10.3109/14992027.2010.493897. ABSTRACT)

 

Thyme essential oil^^ shows evidence of the ability to treat inflammation such as is seen with ear infections, possibly by reducing inflammatory cell migration and reducing tissue edema formation. (Fachini-Queiroz, FC, et al. Effects of Thymol and Carvacrol, Constituents of Thymus vulgaris L. Essential Oil, on the Inflammatory Response. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:657026. doi: 10.1155/2012/657026. Epub 2012 Jul 5. ABSTRACT)

 

Melalueca, or tea tree oil, was shown to effectively treat otitis externa, or outer ear infection at a 2% concentration, and was effective against both fungus and bacteria.  It was effective against MRSA, or resistant Staph, as well as 25% of the pseudomonas bacteria; this bacteria, also known to be resistant to many antibiotics, was the only bacteria that showed resistance to Melaleuca. (Farnan TB, et al. Tea tree oil: in vitro efficacy in otitis externa. J Laryngol Otol. 2005 Mar;119(3):198-201. ABSTRACT)

 

Zinc supplements^^^ show promise to help decrease the amount of ear infections in kids with recurrent infection, especially in kids with malnutrition.  This may be good during treatment, and for prevention, in kids at higher risk for infection. (Gulani, A, and Sachdev, HS. Zinc supplements for preventing otitis media. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Apr 18;4:CD006639. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD006639.pub3. ABSTRACT)

 

This article discusses the concerns for overuse of antibiotics, and antibiotic resistance.  It suggests garlic as a good treatment for outer ear infections, and cites a study. (Pai ST, and Platt MW. Antifungal effects of Allium sativum (garlic) extract against the Aspergillus species involved in otomycosis. Lett Appl Microbiol. 1995 Jan;20(1):14-8.ABSTRACT)

 

Basil (Ocimum basilicum) and essential oil components^^ (thymol, carvacrol, and salicylaldehyde) was shown to effectively treat 56%-81% of rats infected with H. influenzae and 6%-75% of rats infected with pneumococci, compared with 5.6%-6% of rats in the placebo group.  These are the most common bacteria that we see for otitis media, or middle ear infections. (Kristinsson, KG, et al. Effective treatment of experimental acute otitis media by application of volatile fluids into the ear canal. J Infect Dis. 2005 Jun 1;191(11):1876-80. Epub 2005 Apr 29. ABSTRACT)

 

Microcapsules of orange peel, that contain the essential oil, were given to animals with acute ear infection, that this lead to a reduction in the inflammatory response in the blood and the ear fluids, suggesting that ingestion of orange essential oil^^^^ may help as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory adjunct for treating ear infections. (Lv, YX, et al. Effect of orange peel essential oil on oxidative stress in AOM animals. Int J Biol Macromol. 2012 May 1;50(4):1144-50. doi: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2012.02.002. Epub 2012 Feb 10. ABSTRACT)

 

A study of over 1000 children in a day care center determined that kids with a diet high in refined carbohydrates had a higher incidence of pneumococcal carriage as well as otitis media based on a survey that parents completed regarding dietary intake. (Tapiainen, T, et al. Diet as a risk factor for pneumococcal carriage and otitis media: a cross-sectional study among children in day care centers. PLoS One. 2014 Mar 5;9(3):e90585. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0090585. eCollection 2014.ABSTRACT)

 

Garlic extract, and more so, garlic essential oils showed antifungal activity when looking at fungal cultures.  Garlic is therefore a good backup for ear infections, especially if they are not responding to antibacterial oils or medicine, to target fungal otitis externa. (Li, WR, et al. Antifungal effect and mechanism of garlic oil on Penicillium funiculosum. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2014 Oct;98(19):8337-46. doi: 10.1007/s00253-014-5919-9. Epub 2014 Jul 12. ABSTRACT)

 

A combination herbal drop (Lamigex) composed of essential oils from Syzygium aromaticum, Lavandula angustifolia, and Geranium robertianum was studies in a randomized trial compared to in the alleviation of AEO symptoms and compared its effects to those of ciprofloxacin 0.3% drop in 70 patients. All assessed symptoms (tenderness, itching, erythema, edema and discharge) were equally improved in the ciprofloxacin and Lamigex groups by the end of trial (p > 0.05). The pain scores were equally reduced, and the number of positive cultures was not significantly different between groups.  This suggestions that the essential oils combinate was equal to the ciprofloxacin drug group. (Panahi, Y, et al. Investigation of the effectiveness of Syzygium aromaticum, Lavandula angustifolia and Geranium robertianum essential oils in the treatment of acute external otitis: a comparative trial with ciprofloxacin. J Microbiol Immunol Infect. 2014 Jun;47(3):211-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jmii.2012.10.002. Epub 2012 Dec 27. ABSTRACT)

 

A study of biofilm formation by Streptococcus pneumoniae found that xylitol^ is able to inhibit the growth of Strep p. to prevent acute otitis media when glucose and fructose are not present. (Kurola, P, et al. Effect of xylitol and other carbon sources on Streptococcus pneumoniae biofilm formation and gene expression in vitro. APMIS. 2011 Feb;119(2):135-42. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0463.2010.02703.x. Epub 2010 Dec 1. ABSTRACT)

 

A review of four studies found that children that chewed two pieces of xylitol^ gum five times daily were able to reduce their risk of otitis media. (Lous, J. Chewing gum can prevent acute otitis media. Ugeskr Laeger. 2013 Feb 25;175(9):574-6. ABSTRACT)

 

^Found in Xlear Nasal Spray

^^Found in xEO Mega, part of Lifelong Vitality Supplement Pack

^^^Found in Microplex VMz, part of Lifelong Vitality Supplement Pack and Children’s A2Z Chewables

^^^^Found in On Guard Protective Essential Oil Blend

When to seek a medical professional for treatment:

 

If after one week of the Self-Administered Protocol you are still having Ear Infection symptoms, or are having severe earaches with fevers and pain, then consider taking a 10-14 course of antibiotics as directed by your physician. If symptoms persist, consider repeating the course of antibiotics as ordered by your physician.  For chronic symptoms consider seeing an ENT/Allergist for allergy testing and treatment.  Continue to follow the protocol while being treated by your physician.

 

Share this protocol with your physician:  Share the protocoled website with your physician, or download a professional handout to give to your doctor.  If your provider would like to be listed on this website as a provider open to discussion natural alternatives with their patients, please have them contact professionals@protocoled.com.

 

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