Ear pain can be some of the most intolerable pain there is. This could be why so many people go directly to their medical doctor at the first sign of an ear infection, seeking antibiotics. It’s true that we have an unhealthy dependence on antibiotics and in the case of ear infections, that dependence is wholly unwarranted. The good news is that herbal remedies may be able to replace antibiotics in many cases – at least that’s what some research says.
According to the Cochrane Collaboration, antibiotics are prescribed for 98% of ear infection (acute otitis media) cases in the U.S. That’s compared with 38% in the Netherlands. This is particularly interesting when it’s believed that 80% of these ear infection cases could be resolved without any treatment at all—none.
One study, published in the journal Pediatrics, looked at 171 children between the ages of 5 and 18. All had middle ear infections. The children were blindly split into two groups—those that would receive naturopathic ear drops and those that would receive ear drops and amoxicillin. Over the course of three days of treatment, those who received the ear drops alone improved more than those who received the antibiotic—indicating the herbal remedy worked better than the conventional drug.
The Cochrane Collaboration study looked at the benefit of antibiotic use in ear infections and found only “small benefit” over receiving no treatment at all. The benefit was so small, they cautioned weighing it against the potential adverse effects of conventional drug treatment, suggesting no treatment was better in this light.
The human body is an amazing thing. It detects infections and annihilates them. And if often doesn’t require any assistance in this endeavor—particularly when the patient is healthy and has a high functioning immune system.
When we are too quick to reach for antibiotics, not only are we not giving our immune system a chance to work as intended, we are inviting the adverse effects of a foreign drug into our body’s ecology.
A study published in the journal Microbiology, Immunology, and Infection found that herbal drops of essential oils of lavender, geranium, and cloves was as effective as conventional treatments—specifically ciprofloxacin drops.
As GreenMedInfo concludes:
“The existing scientific literature not only from confirms the antibiotic efficacy of herbal therapies within the specific clinical context, but also challenges the reasoning behind the very use of synthetic antibiotics in the first place. The aforementioned natural therapies have no recorded side effects, while both amoxicillin and ciprofloxacin are well known to cause moderate nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, rash and affect the liver to 1% of patients.”