Summer is upon us, and we’re all looking forward to cooling off with a swim.
Whether you hit the pool, lake or ocean, water can splash into the ear and remain there after swimming. This creates a moist environment ideal for bacterial growth that can cause an external ear infection, known as otitis externa or “swimmer’s ear”. Although less common, this infection can also be triggered by fungal conditions.
Swimmer’s ear can be a troubling nuisance, and in some cases the acute inflammation of the outer ear and ear canal can be alarmingly painful. This common infection often comes with discharge, redness, itchiness, pain, and discomfort that’s aggravated by touching the ear. In cases with excessive swelling and discharge, the ear canal can sometimes become blocked and cause temporary hearing loss.
Over the counter ear drop preparations sometimes contain steroids, which can aggravate these fungal infections, and prolonged use of antibacterial ear drops may promote the growth of antibiotic-resistant pathogens.
Herbal Care for Swimmer’s Ear
Fortunately, there are herbs that can help relieve pain and fight the infection that causes swimmer’s ear! Ear Oil is a combination of 4 classic western therapeutic herbs macerated in extra virgin olive oil in a gentle formula that fights off bacterial and fungal ear infections while soothing inflammation in the ear canal.
- Garlic is a potent antifungal and antibacterial that helps battle these infection-causing pathogens and is especially effective in treating the most common external ear bacteria, Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
- Mullein has been used in traditional Western herbalism to treat earaches for its pain-relieving qualities and can be used topically as an analgesic and antisepticthat is active against several strains of bacteria.
- St John’s wort provides relief from nerve pain in the ear and has been used topically as an analgesic and antiseptic from as early as the first century A.D.
- Calendula is well established as a valuable anti-inflammatory herb with exceptional healing qualities.
Together, these 4 powerful medicinal plants address the underlying cause of swimmer’s ear, eliminating pathogens, providing fast relief from symptoms, and restoring a healthy ear environment!
Natural Relief - Proven Clinically
A clinical trial found a naturopathic ear oil preparation comprised of a mixture of St. John’s wort, mullein, garlic, and calendula (similar to St. Francis Herb Farm’s Ear Oil recipe) to be as effective in relieving pain associated with acute infection as a standard pharmaceutical preparation.
So, not only does Ear Oil provide the same pain relief as a pharmaceutical, but it also stimulates the immune response, has antimicrobial qualities to help address the root of infection, and its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities soothe the tissue around the tympanic membrane or eardrum.
How to use: Place 5 drops of oil directly in the external ear canal 3 times daily. For infection in children - lay head in your lap with affected ear facing up to add drops.
So, go ahead and take the plunge this summer! You can rest easy knowing that you’re equipped to treat swimmer’s ear with time-honoured, effective herbs.
Have questions? Just visit our Great Questions Answered page to learn more or to submit a question.
References available upon request.
A tall plant with a stem that rises to a spike characterized by small yellow flowers, mullein grows in well-lit, disturbed soils throughout the temperate zones of Europe and Asia, as well as North America.
Plant pharmacological studies have suggested that Calendula extracts may have anti-viral, anti-genotoxic, and anti-inflammatory properties in vitro.In an in vitro assay, the methanol extract of C. officinalis exhibited antibacterial activity and both the methanol and the ethanol extracts showed antifungal activities. Along with horsetails (Equisetum arvense), pot marigold is one of the few plants which is considered astringent despite not being high in tannins.