Cure Ear Infections, Naturally

By Marcy Franklin

Whether it’s your child—or you—who’s saddled with an ear infection, odds are you’ll try anything to ease the pain. To the rescue: garlic and mullein. Garlic’s antimicrobial properties kill the infection, while the anti-inflammatory properties of mullein tackle the pain, says herbalist Brigitte Mars, author of The Desktop Guide to Herbal Medicine (Basic Health, 2007). Mars recommends keeping a solution of garlic and mullein on hand throughout the cold season. To make your own, chop up 6 to 8 cloves of garlic, and mix with 2 tablespoons of dried mullein flowers. Cover with 4 tablespoons olive oil, let it steep for 10 days, and strain. Two or three drops in the infected ear several times a day will do the job for both you and your kids, but make sure the eardrum isn’t punctured (symptoms include pain, change in hearing, dizziness, and fluid or blood draining from the ear) before you put the drops in the ear canal or they could badly damage your eardrum. If you don’t want to make your own, pick up mullein and garlic ear drops at the health food store. We like Herbs Etc. Mullein/Garlic Ear Drops ($12.98, 1 oz; herbsetc.com)