You may have heard that using garlic oil for an ear infection is a safe and effective natural alternative to medicinal ear drops because of its antibacterial properties. What does the science say? Are there other health benefits to garlic oil?
Health Benefits of Garlic
Research has shown that garlic offers many health benefits. Although the mechanism is not widely known, studies have shown that consuming garlic or garlic oil extract has antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiprotozoal properties:
- Antiviral: Garlic has shown to be helpful in the fight against various strains of flu viruses and other viruses such as cytomegalovirus and rhinovirus.
- Antibacterial: Garlic may be effective against many types of bacteria, including salmonella, E. coli, and staph infection. It’s thought that garlic can be beneficial to gut bacteria as well.
- Antifungal: Fungi that have been shown to be sensitive to garlic include Candida, Aspergillus, and Cryptococcus. Garlic extract is thought to reduce the growth of fungus and damage its membranes.
- Antiprotozoal: Studies have shown that garlic can effectively treat protozoa, small organisms that can cause illness. The compounds allicin, ajoene, and organosulfides in garlic are thought to be the reason for their antiprotozoal properties.
Although garlic contains these properties, it doesn’t mean that it can fight off infection without any other medical intervention.
Benefits for Conditions
Garlic has also been shown to play a positive role in many bodily systems and prevention of diseases:
- Immune system: Garlic supplements have been shown to boost the immune system and reduce the frequency and severity of common illnesses such as the common cold. It does this by improving immune cell function.
- Cardiovascular system: Research has shown that garlic may be able to improve the health of the cardiovascular system by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
- Brain health: Recent research has found that garlic may be effective for managing and preventing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. It’s thought that the antioxidants in aged garlic extract can help reduce cognitive impairment.
- Oxidative stress: Free radical buildup in the body can lead to oxidative stress, a damaging effect that occurs when there is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body. Studies have shown that garlic supplementation may help resolve that imbalance. Although more research is needed, the studies that have been done so far showed promising results.
- Cancer prevention: Garlic may help reduce the risk of developing certain cancers.
- Liver protection: The liver is tasked with detoxifying the body. If substances build up to dangerous levels, it can lead to toxicity. Studies have shown that garlic may help prevent that.
Types of Ear Infections
Ear infections occur when bacteria, fungi, or viruses get inside your ear and cause symptoms. One such symptom could be ear pain. An earache can occur in the absence of an ear infection and has a wide range of causes, such as injury, jaw joint pain, or inflammation from another part of the body.
There are several types of ear infections. Outer ear infections affect the eardrum to the outside of the ear, middle ear infections occur behind the eardrum, and inner ear infections affect the deepest part of the ear.
Ear infections can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungus, a buildup of earwax, or water in the ears. Using garlic to help treat an ear infection will depend on the cause and part of the ear that’s affected.
Studies on garlic and ear infections have shown that certain derivatives in garlic may be useful in treating some bacteria-driven ear infections, especially if the bacteria are antibiotic-resistant. These derivatives include allicin and s-allyl-cysteine.
Home Remedies for Ear Infections
Some ear infections will go away on their own. You can use home remedies to relieve the discomfort of the symptoms. Natural ways to do that include using essential oils, a cold or warm compress, or over-the-counter ear drops, or popping your ears.
Can you heal an ear infection with garlic? Possibly. Research conducted in laboratories demonstrate that garlic oil drops are an effective method to killing bacteria that often cause ear infections.
It is uncertain if olive oil could be an effective remedy for treating ear infections. Using drops might aid in curing outer ear infections and diminishing discomfort, but they cannot reach deep enough to treat middle ear infections.
Treatment for ear infections and earaches varies depending on the cause and severity of the condition. If an ear infection is mild, treatment may not be required at all. Some infections will clear up on their own.
In most cases of a middle ear infection, treatment is not needed. Oral antibiotics may be used, but not antibiotic ear drops unless there is a perforation of the tympanic membrane.
An earache will likely be treated based on its cause. The ache will usually go away once the cause resolves. Sometimes treatment is not required. Treatment options for earache-causing conditions include:
- Pain relievers such as ibuprofen
- At-home pain remedies such as a warm washcloth over the ear or neck exercises
Garlic for Ear Infection or Earache
There are two ways that garlic can be used to help treat either an ear infection or an earache. They include raw, whole garlic, and garlic extract in oil form.
Although there is limited research to suggest that using a whole clove of garlic to help treat an earache can be beneficial, sticking a clove of garlic in the ear can help to relieve ear pain.
To do that, peel the garlic and cut the ends off. Then, wrap the garlic in gauze and place it in the opening of your ear. Be careful not to push it into the ear canal since this can cause damage. Once the garlic is lightly secured, place a warm washcloth over your ear until the pain subsides.
If you use this method, do so with caution. It may also help to speak to your doctor prior to trying any home remedies for an ear infection or earache. It’s also thought that eating raw garlic can help reduce ear pain because of its compounds, although there is limited evidence to support this claim.
Garlic Oil Drops for Ear Infection
Garlic oil is thought to help earaches and ear infections because the derivatives that possess antibacterial properties are broken down and concentrated. Some studies have found that garlic oil can be as effective as oral antibiotics such as amoxicillin.
However, garlic oil cannot cross the barrier of the middle ear to treat a bacterial infection, and likely the only benefit is pain relief. Acute otitis media usually gets better on its own without treatment.
Some disorders are accompanied by earaches, which can be minor or severe. Fear of infection will send you to the doctor after the first earache, but garlic oil is a simple and pleasant item, and a drop of it can assist and treat your earache. Garlic possesses antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal effects and anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving capabilities.
When you eat garlic, your immune system will be strengthened, and you can battle illnesses. Garlic can be used topically to treat earaches. Ear discomfort can also be relieved by utilizing natural ear drops, such as garlic or herbal components.
Garlic oil can be purchased or made at home to relieve earaches. The individual with an ear infection should sit close to you and support the hurting ear. Two or three drops of heated garlic oil should be placed inside the ear. To prevent oil from spilling out, gently lay a cotton ball on the earlobe.
For 10 to 15 minutes, the treated individual should stay in the same posture. You may also soak a cotton ball in the oil and insert it slightly inside the ear to allow the oil to enter the ear canal. The leftover oil should be kept in a glass bottle in the refrigerator and used as needed.
Pay attention to the following points: Before using garlic oil, test a small amount on your skin. If you experience tingling or irritation on your skin, wash it with soap and water immediately and avoid using oil. Use and clean your ear after using garlic oil, and avoid using garlic oil if you have a ruptured earlobe or an ear ulcer.
What is the purpose of using garlic oil to treat your ear infection? Garlic has long been used to cure various minor ailments, including ear infections and earaches. Although there isn’t much scientific proof that garlic can help with ear infections, it has been demonstrated to help with other ear issues.
Garlic has antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal effects, among other things. It also possesses pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects. Garlic can aid in the strengthening of the immune system and the battle against illness. Garlic used topically may help to relieve ear aches.
Natural ear drops, including garlic (scientifically known as Allium sativum) and other herbal compounds, were equally effective as over-the-counter ear drops in a trial of 103 children with middle ear infections.
Garlic can improve your immune system in general, which can help you avoid infection. Garlic has long been a natural treatment for ear infections and tinnitus. Here are a few methods to utilize garlic for your ears at home.
You don’t have to put in much effort if you want to manufacture your garlic oil at home. Garlic oil is made in the following way: Ingredients for making garlic oil can be used to treat ear infections.
Garlic Oil Risks
Using garlic to treat an ear infection or earache comes with some risks. According to research, using garlic topically can cause dermatitis. It could be brought on by an allergic reaction and cause a rash, hives, and blisters. It can also worsen an ear infection because some types of bacteria can thrive in garlic oil.
Before trying any home remedy such as garlic oil, you should speak to your doctor. Some ear infections require medical treatment and, if left untreated, can lead to serious complications. Garlic cloves should not be allowed to enter the ear canal.
Keep the warm cloth over your ear until the discomfort goes away. Stop taking garlic and see your doctor if your ear discomfort worsens. Garlic oil’s dangers and adverse effects (side effects of putting garlic in the ear) Consuming garlic products on the skin might cause skin irritation or chemical burns.
Test your home remedy on a tiny skin patch before putting it on yourself or another person (such as the inner arm). If you or the person using it experiences burning, irritation, or redness in the region where the oil is being used, wash the area thoroughly with soap and water and stop using the oil.
- Do not use garlic oil if you have a ruptured eardrum. Perforated eardrums should not be treated with these drugs. A ruptured eardrum produces pain, and fluid will pour out of your ear. Before using any at-home ear treatment, consult your doctor.
- Bacterial development in garlic oil is a possibility. Under some situations, bacteria such as Clostridium botulinum can thrive in garlic oil, especially in cases that have not been sterilized. C. Botulinum can produce botulinum toxin in contaminated food or induce a bacterial infection.
Who Shouldn’t Use It
Those who have a ruptured eardrum should not use garlic oil as a remedy for their earache. The hole in the eardrum can allow garlic oil to get through and cause issues to the middle ear. It is best to consult with your doctor to avoid any complication.
Some research has shown garlic to be an effective remedy for earache and ear infections. However, it can potentially cause dermatitis and irritation to your ear. Before trying this at home, talk to your doctor to make sure it’s safe for you to use and the right treatment for your condition.