The ear is an important organ, which provides hearing and balance.  It has three parts and all these can become infected, with Middle Ear infection being the most common.  The most common cause of ear infection is upper respiratory tract infections.  The most serious complications of repeated or chronic middle ear infections are temporary or permanent hearing loss due to scar tissue, and meningitis.

Example Herbal Formula:

                 Common Name


Dose per day

Dose per week


 Mentha piperita

1.5ml of 1:2 liquid extract

10.5 ml of 1:2 liquid extract


Echinacea purpura

3ml of 1:2 liquid extract

21ml of 1:2 liquid extract


Echinacea Angustifolia

3ml of 1:2 liquid extract

21ml of 1:2 liquid extract

White horehound

Marrubium vulgare

4ml of 1:2 liquid extract

28ml of 1:2 liquid extract


Astragalus membranaceus

6ml of 1:2 liquid extract

42 ml of 1:2 liquid extract




122.50 ml


Dose - Taken as 5ml doses 3 times daily, due to the child’s age I would recommend putting the dose into some juice to cover the taste.  

how to work out the dose -- 10 ml for a 60 kg body

Peppermint  Mentha piperita

Traditionally Peppermint has been used for the common cold and influenza.  Mrs Grieve describes “an infusion of equal quantities of Peppermint herb and Elder flowers ( to which either Yarrow or Boneset may be added) will banish a cold or mild attack of influenza” (Grieve, 1980:543)

“Antimicrobial effects Peppermint oil has shown significant antibacterial and antifungal effects in several studies” (Mills & Bone, 2000:509)

Echinacea - Echinacea spp

I would include both Echinacea purpura and Angustifolia for their “immune modulating, and immune enhancing effects.”

Indications supported by clinical trials

Treatment of upper respiratory tract infections; beneficial for the prophylaxis of upper respiratory tract infections an infections in general, especially in patients with weakened immunity”  (Bone, 2005:159)

White horehound  -  Marrubium vulgare

I would use White horehound for its expectorant and spasmolytic effects.

Pharmacological studies

An expectorant action (route unknown) which was attributed to marrubiin and to the volatile oil, has been demonstrated in experimental studies (British Herbal Medicine Association 1992)” 

An extract of leaves, stems and roots produced antispasmodic activity in several isolated smooth muscle preparation.  This effect was attributed to inhibition of neurotransmitter activity (Schlemper et al. 1996)”

(Bone, 2005:129)

 Astragalus – Astragalus membranaceus

I would use Astragalus for its effects on impaired immunity.

“Impaired immunity.  High oral doses of Astragalus decoction given to participants susceptible to the common cold enhanced immune protection.  A prophylactic effect for the common cold was observed in another uncontrolled study, as evidenced by decreased incidence and shortened duration of infection after Astragalus treatment.”  (Bone, 2005:157)


External Treatments:

This combination of external recipes is a personal favourite of mine as when my children where very young they had on occasion had an ear infection.  It is my view from swimming pools.  I recommend this be done in the evening after the bath and brushing teeth. If a parent cannot do this daily, I ask them to do it every 2 days and do the lavender oil application around the ear frequently during each day. 


Garlic oil drops

Squeeze 2 drops of fresh garlic into 10 drops of olive oil, all must be room temperature, mix and pour 6 drops into each ear.  First, do one ear keeping head on an angle for 1 minute; gently roll head to facilitate the flow of the oil deep into the ear.  Cover ear with a tissue and turn head to other side to put remaining drops into other ear again gently rolling the head to facilitate the flow of the oil deep into the ear. Then cover the ear with tissue and tilt head to other side to drain ear.  Contra-indication would be a child with perforated eardrum or grommets.  Repeat Daily


Golden Seal Drops

Immediately after completing the Garlic oil drops add 1 drop of Golden Seal Tincture into the ear, following the procedure above cover ear with a tissue and roll around ear to facilitate the even distribution of the fluid.

Repeat Daily

As the last step in the process


Lavender Essential Oil   Lavandula angustifolia

Do a spot test on the child’s arm of 1 drop of a good quality pure Lavender Essential oil, leave for 6 hours and watch for a local red raised area.  If none emerges, then apply about 4 drops to your finger and paint a circle of Lavender oil around the ear.  In the diagram below, apply the Lavender oil to the blue area             


Unfortunately, I could not find any research on these types of applications for Garlic, Golden Seal or Lavender.  More a Traditional approach.  


In this case, I would not want blood tests due to the child’s age although they (Full Blood Count including White Blood Cell count) would be indicated.  I would assume this child might be a fussy eater leading to nutritional deficiencies as the primary cause; therefore, I would discuss the eating habits of the child with the mother.

Dietary Recommendations

Reduce or remove dairy, wheat and sugar in the diet.

Banana Smoothie

Use 300ml of full cream soy-milk, ¼ avocado, 1 banana, and ¼ teaspoon of honey, blend and drink.  Small doses (a few drops) of the herbal formula can be added to the smoothie. 

I would also recommend increasing the child’s fruit & veg intake by either making a juice of apple, carrot and celery, at least 3 per day of 250ml serves.  The easiest way to do this is supplementing with Juice Plus+


Journal of Medical VirologyVolume 72, Issue 2 , Pages 241 - 248

        Published Online: 18 Dec 2003

Better Nutrition, Jan 2005 v67 p54(1)

Bone K 2005 HS 417 Herbal Therapeutics 1 Study Guide, University of New England

Science of Juice Plus+

Simon Mills & Kerry Bone, Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy, 2000

 Mrs Grieve, A Modern Herbal, England, revised 1980


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Self diagnosing and self prescribing is not recommended.

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