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Pediatrics - Common sense low-tech treatment for ear infections

from an interview with Konrad Kail, PA, ND

Medical Herbalism 4(3):7

Because they are simple self-limiting conditions, most acute ear infections can be safely treated at home. Warning signs that require a visit to the doctor are: fever over 101 degrees, green or yellow discharges, any leakage from the ear, unusually severe symptoms, or symptoms that persist for more than 48 hours. In addition to herbal treatments, the following may help reduce pain and speed recovery.

Gargling astringents

Astringent substances shrink swollen mucous membranes. Warm water with just enough salt and lemon to taste may work well. Children usually must be at least four years old to gargle.


To keep mucous secretions thin, the child should drink as much water as they can hold. A vaporizer in the room may also help keep secretions thin. Thinner mucous can mean less pressure and less pain.


Fruit juices should be diluted with three parts water. Juice in full strength increases mucous production, and may increase the pain of otitis media. Sugars from the undiluted concentrated juice may feed bacteria and suppress the white blood count.


Applications with compresses soaked in hot water may relieve pain, and can attract circulation to the area to help fight the infection. Alternating hot and cold applications may also help relieve pain. Parents will usually have to experiment to see which form of treatment the child likes best.
Copyright 2001 Paul Bergner    349