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Treatments for Earache in Babies and Children

Updated on December 29, 2013
Purple Falcon profile image

An experienced integrative healthcare professional & Member of the International Alliance of Holistic Therapists

Earache can be caused by a variety of factors such as water in the ears, excess wax, a perforated eardrum or an infection just to name a few.

There are many preparations for treating each one of these. Using products like Aqua-ear or Swimmer's ear are utilised as drops to help evaporate any existing water that is present in the ear canal thus alleviating pain and pressure.

If ear wax is your problem, there are a variety of ear wax removal drops also available form pharmacies. Some people use ear candles to help with this problem as well or instead of the drops.

If there is presence of fever, this usually indicates an infection and may warrant the use of antibiotics and thus require a visit to the doctor.

Case Study

6 month old baby with earache

  • First obtain consent for treatment
  • Assess client’s health based upon standard guidelines relating to age and gender
  • With few exceptions, medicinal amounts of healing herbs should not be given to children under the age of 2 years old
  • If we give herbal medicines to infants, be sure to use very dilute preparations and get the okay from the paediatrician
  • Always check the safety of specific herbs because many herbs contain very powerful chemicals which even a small overdose can be harmful
  • For a 6 month old child, the dose for the following herbs is approximately 1/12th of an adult dose. For a more accurate dose adjustment, the Young’s Formula is used to find out the Fraction of an Adult dose to be given. The Young’s Formula is as follows:

Child’s Age = Fraction of adult dose to be given

Child’s Age + 12

  • Specialised treatment plan & Considerations (Choose three herbs initially and indicate reasons for choosing them):
  • Otitis media is the most common cause of hearing loss and earache in children. Most of the time, hearing loss is temporary but chronic or recurrent ear infections can cause permanent hearing loss due to inflammation and infection of the middle ear.
  • We also need to consider the mother’s health as she may be breastfeeding this baby and the mother’s exposure to ototoxic drugs can detrimentally affect her baby’s health
  • We could also look at the mother’s diet and treat the mother too so as her body will be at its optimal health and thus her breast milk will be more beneficial for her baby as well

(a) For Relief: Pennywort Juice

  • Used for pain relief
  • Crush a couple of leaves in a sieve and collect the expressed juice
  • Put a couple of drops (have to be at body temperature) into the painful ear and plug it with some cotton wool
  • Alternatively, we can use Mullein oil/Warm Almond Oil/ Tincture of lobelia for the same purpose or a strong infusion of Chamomile, Yarrow or Hyssop or Pasque Flower oil or Tincture
  • Mullein oil as an eardrop can soothe inflammation and fight infection

(b)Treat the infection

Antimicrobial herbs and alteratives are useful to help lymphatic system in defensive and cleansing work

  • Herbs : Balm of Gilead, Echinacea, Elderflower, Eyebright, Eucalyptus, Goldenseal, Goldenrod, Hyssop, Marshmallow leaf, Peppermint, Poke Root, Sage, Silverweed, Wild Indigo


  • Part used: The cone flower
  • Actions: Antimicrobial, Alterative
  • A prime remedy to help body rid itself of microbial infections (effective for both bacterial and viral)
  • Echinacea is not to be taken for longer than 3 months
  • Avoid in people allergic to ragweed
  • Forms & Adult Doses: (either one of the following is to be taken three times daily)
  • Decoction; 1-2 teaspoon of the root in 1 cup of water and slowly bring to boil and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  • Tincture: 1-4mLs

Golden Rod

  • Parts used: Dried aerial parts
  • Actions: Anti-catarrhal, Anti-inflammatory, Antiseptic, Diaphoretic, Carminative, Diuretic
  • First line treatment for upper respiratory catarrh (acute and chronic)
  • May be used in combination with other herbs to treat influenza
  • Combined with Cudweed, Echinacea, Poke Root and Wild Indigo for upper respiratory catarrh
  • Forms & Adult Doses:
  • Infusion: 1 cup of boiling water onto 2-3 teaspoonfuls of dried herb and leave to infuse 10-15 minutes. Drink three times a day
  • Tincture: 2-4mLs three times daily

Lifestyle Factors and Dietary Advice

  • Mother is to limit consumption of alcohol and sugars (especially if infection is present); this advice will discourages the growth of yeast
  • Monitor and watch the baby’s temperature and keep up the fluids to avoid dehydration from fever
  • Mother to eat fresh pineapple regularly to reduce inflammation (if any). Also to include plenty of garlic, kelp and sea vegetables in the diet
  • Mother and baby to eat wholesome fresh foods as much as possible. Avoid greasy and fried foods
    • Limit intake of eggs and dairy products as they can thicken mucus and worsen catarrhal states
    • Drink plenty of water (not cold water)
    • Take supplemental antioxidants to help protect inner ear from traumatic and age-related hearing loss


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    • Purple Falcon profile image

      Nat Holistic Health Professional IAHT IANLPC 3 years ago from Australia

      Thanks Eiddwen. Happy New Year to you and yours too and I hope you'll have a great 2014 as well.


    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      Interesting and very useful; thanks for sharing and here's wishing you a great year ahead.