Can Garlic Oil Help With Ear Infections And Earaches?

If you're experiencing ear pain, fever, or drainage from the ear, you may have an ear infection. Also known as otitis media, this condition usually affects the middle ear, causing it to become inflamed, says the Cleveland Clinic. It often happens when bacteria or viruses enter the middle ear, leading to fluid buildup and inflammation. There are various ear infections, such as acute or chronic otitis media. Acute otitis media is the most common type and is often associated with colds or respiratory infections. In contrast, chronic otitis media is a long-term infection that can cause permanent damage to the middle ear.

If you're looking for a natural way to treat your ear infection, garlic might come in handy. After all, when taken orally or topically, this potent herb has strong antibacterial and antifungal properties, explains Dr. Axe. This is often thanks to the compound called allicin, which is the reason behind its characteristic odor and flavor. When garlic is injured, it releases an enzyme called alliinase that converts alliin into allicin. This makes garlic a valuable alternative treatment option for certain infections. While there is limited research on the herb's use for ear infections, current information shows that garlic has various health benefits. Continue reading as we explore these details further.

What studies say about garlic's role in treating ear infections

Fortunately, garlic can help treat earaches, tinnitus, and ear infections, according to Healthline. The herb has been studied for its potential to help treat ear infections due to its antimicrobial properties, which have also been found to be effective against antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria when used alongside antibiotics. In turn, making it difficult for these pathogens to thrive, per a 2015 study published in the Jundishapur Journal of Microbiology.

Although studies are limited, when concerning garlic's effectiveness as an aid against ear infections, those available have delivered promising results. A 2019 study published in the Turkish Archives of Otorhinolaryngology found that garlic oil effectively reduced ear infections. The study used a solution containing allicin and s-allyl cysteine (SAC), among others, to test microorganisms commonly known for causing ear infections. The results confirmed the antimicrobial activity of allicin and SAC against those pathogens.

Another 2015 study published in the Journal of Immunology Research found that garlic can help boost your immune response. The study concluded that poor immune response plays a key role in the emergence of certain conditions. This claim is reiterated in an article published by Standford University, highlighting how poor immune response may be linked to chronic ear infections. While these studies suggest that garlic may be a promising natural remedy for ear infections, more research is needed to confirm its effectiveness and safety.

How to use garlic for ear infections

One way to use garlic for an earache is to make garlic oil drops, according to Healthline. To do this, heat a few cloves of garlic in olive oil until the garlic gives off a pleasant smell. Once the oil has cooled down, strain out the garlic and use a dropper to place a few drops into the affected ear. You'll want to allow the oil to sit in your ear for at least 10 minutes before draining it. Repeat this process with two to three drops to help relieve pain and inflammation. Garlic, when taken orally, can also help boost immune function, says Healthline. However, it's important to keep in mind that while garlic can be effective for relieving earaches, it should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment. 

Furthermore, raw garlic can sometimes cause heartburn or indigestion, especially if you eat it in large amounts, says Healthline. It can also irritate the lining of the digestive tract, which can cause a feeling of burning in the stomach. If you are experiencing persistent or severe ear pain, it's important to consult with your doctor for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.