The day before Easter Sunday, I was outside and heard Benji (8 years old) crying. I waited to hear what type of cry it was. Was it one that was wanting some sympathy after a disagreement with his sister or one that I seriously needed to attend to? It was the latter. At first a whimper, his cry on seeing me quickly escalated into a heart wrenching shriek, while holding his ear! Not a good sign…
An ear infection (or ache) is one of the many distressing illnesses we have to deal with as parents. Benj really seemed to be in pain and all I wanted to do was to take the pain away and make it better!
At one point when we were trying to placate him, he exclaimed through tears and upset outbursts, ‘WELL, HOW WOULD YOU FEEL WITH 1,000 BEES BITING INSIDE YOUR EAR’? Okay. That certainly got my attention.
Ear infections are super common in kids. Nearly 75 percent of children will have at least one ear infection by age 3, (of this group, about half will have up to three ear infections by that age), according to the American National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication.
Ear infections are very painful because of the pressure building in the middle ear. We need to know this because knowing this helped us treat his symptoms – and the cause.
While the following is what we did – and what worked for Benji, we would do the same for ourselves. Just at a higher dose.
Benji’s earache cleared up that day. We might’ve been lucky as we got onto it early and maybe it wasn’t a bad infection, but that aside, I hope a few of these ideas might also help you when (and if) the need arises.
Here’s what we did for him throughout the day…
- Garlic Ear Oil. Garlic is a natural decongestant and great for the immune system. We placed 3-4 drops of the home made oil in both ears twice through the day. Garlic ear oil is an Ayurvedic medicine used in many areas of the world. Check out the recipe below.
- Probiotics. I doubled the recommended dose of probiotics while he was sick.
- Green Smoothie. With 2 cups of water I blended a small handful of kale, 1/4 wedge of lemon (unpeeled), 2 Tbsp bone stock, 1 large clove of garlic and an apple (fresh from the orchard that day)! The smoothie is kind on the digestive system, delivering immune boosting and readily absorbable foods into his system. The apple was added for sweetness.
- Essential Oils. For the past year I’ve been using doTerra essential oils and LOVE them. Essential oils are the essence of the plant and incredibly potent. For Benji I used Melaleuca oil (eucalyptus) and Onguard, a blend of wild orange, clove, cinnamon, eucalyptus and rosemary. With 2 drops diluted with coconut oil I rubbed the mix on his feet and around his ear. I also gave him some to ingest.
- Saline Nasal Spray. I think this was key. We used the preservative free FESS from the chemist. This gave him immediate relief as it’s a decongestant and instantly relieved the pressure that had built up in his inner ear. After having a couple of squirts in both nostrils, we got him to lie with the affected ear down so gravity would assist in delivering the decongestant toward the blockage – not rocket science but it worked almost instantly.
- Stopping the crying was also key.
- Water. lots of it.
Even though his symptoms alleviated, we continued with the essential and garlic oil for the next couple of days.
Food. He wasn’t very hungry, but we totally avoided dairy, a congestant.
Vitamin C & Zinc Powder. A good “go-to” to support our kids immunity.
We threw everything at Benj to try and help alleviate the pain for him (and us) AND to save his Easter. We don’t know exactly what worked, but it definitely would’ve helped that his immune system, (his natural healing force) was strong and was boosted by our efforts.
And what about Chloe, our 10 year old?
As sure as (easter) eggs, 2 days after Benji’s ear infection, Chloe was complaining of a sore throat!! We started a similar protocol and within 2 days Chlo was back to her cheeky self. Her natural healing force supporting her recovery too.
Other remedies I haven’t tried and that have worked for clients and friends;
- Olive Leaf Extract.
And the following is recommended by the inspiring Danielle Wicks of cage free kids at http://www.cagefreekids.com.au. Danielle has 3 children under 5, but at one stage didn’t think she’d have children. Her story of debilitating health issues most of her life, culminating in cancer is compelling. For coughs and colds Danielle highly recommends;
- Home Made Cough Mixture. A handful of thyme (4 Tbsp roughly) steeped in 1 cup of near boiling water for 20 minutes. Strained. Add a squeeze of lemon juice + 1/8-1/4 cup of pure maple syrup (or raw honey if over 12 months of age). Mix and store in the fridge. Infants under 12 months 1/2 teaspoon every 2-3 hours, otherwise double it. This recipe helps ease congestion.
- Onion. Cut an onion in half and put it in the childs room as close to their head as possible. Under the cot is also good. It eases a cough in about 10 minutes. If the cough is really nasty a whole onion (cut in half) works.
The pain that comes with ear infections is intense as well as the fear of bursting an ear drum and making the situation worse. As Parents we have incredible intuition it’s important to trust that intuition and do what feels right for us and our family. If that involves Doctors and antibiotics then THAT is the right choice too… We need to do what we FEEL is right. I have just provided some natural remedies that have worked for us and others.
QUICK TIP: Make garlic your best friend through the change of seasons!
Children get sick. It goes with the territory. And it’s important to give the immune system a ‘run’ every now and then to keep it strong. But how sick and how long the kids are sick for varies immensely. The key is for them to have a healthy terrain – a strong immune system so that when they DO get sick they ‘bounce’ through it or as Hippocrates stated, ‘their natural healing force’.
Unfortunately with the many different toxins in our environment, malnourished soils that grow our food and misleading messages about what healthy food really is, in todays world our natural healing force is easily weakened. With good, clean, real food, supplementation as needed, connecting with natures rhythm, learning her lessons and respecting the wisdom of our ancestors perhaps…
‘The natural healing force within each us is the greatest force in getting well’.
What natural remedies have you tried and work for you and your family?