Top 8 Essential Oils for Ear Infection

An ear infection is a bacterial infection of the ear. The middle ear infection (Otitis Media) is the most common type in children and adults. It results from an upper respiratory infection, such as cold and may occur in both ears. Instead of using antibiotics to treat the condition, you can use essential oils for ear infection.

Usually, the Eustachian tube in the ear becomes swollen due to cold. If it is infected with bacteria, pus builds up behind the eardrum leading to pain. While an ear infection needs direct attention, you should view it as a condition that is related to your overall defenses. 

Common Symptoms & Causes

  • Painful and persistent earache
  • Difficulty in hearing
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Ringing or buzzing in ears
  • Temporary hearing loss
  • Bulging of the eardrum
  • Ears feel full
  • Runny nose
  • Crankiness

The severity ranges from a feeling of blockage to deep, mind-numbing pain. Each infection can be intermittent or continuous and may develop gradually or suddenly.Middle ear infection develops from common cold, presenting symptoms of persistent earache, nausea, vomiting, bulging of the eardrum, pressure in the middle ear and temporary hearing loss. Middle ear infection may lead to bloody discharge if not treated. Bacteria or virus trapped in the middle ear cause the infection.

What about Children?

Statistically, most of the cases of ear infection (Otitis media) are observed in children. According to research, most children can easily get an ear infection before they are five years old. In most cases, the condition may not be serious. However, it can be very painful and disturbing for a child if not attended to early enough. In order to know what essential oil to use on your child’s ears, you need to be able to identify the symptoms correctly. The tricky part of establishing whether or not your child has an ear infection is distinguishing the symptoms of ear infection and cold.

Essential Oils for Ear Infection

The initial signs are similar to those of a cold, including mild fever or runny, stuffy and blocked nose.

You can easily detect infection by checking if your child’s ears are discharging pus/blood

Other signs to consider are: irritability, lack of sleep and lack of appetite. In addition to essential oil therapy, you should do the following for your child: give fluids in small sips more often; make sure your child sleeps in a raised position; ensure your child gets plenty of rest; and if the essential oil remedy proves to be ineffective, seek medical assistance.

Natural Oils for Ear Infection

Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender Essential Oil

It is widely used in aromatherapy for its calming and relaxing properties. It is an all-inclusive aromatic oil with the following therapeutic properties: soothing, stimulating, antiseptic, anti-allergenic, toning, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. It helps to relieve earache, treat respiratory difficulties, remove nervous tension and enhance blood circulation. Lavender oil is a natural anesthetic; when applied in a compress, it can relieve the pain of ear infection.

Tea Tree Essential Oil

Tea Tree Essential Oil

Extracted from the twigs and leaves of tea tree by steam distillation, the oil is recognized for its medicinal, woody, herbaceous and fresh scent. It is a natural immune booster and it is topically applied. It is antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antiviral, and expectorant. Its antiviral and antibacterial properties are effective against viral and bacterial ear infections. Its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory effects are for cleaning the ear and reducing inflammation and earache.

Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Acquired from the leaves and branches of eucalyptus plant by steam distillation, it has a woodsy, healing fragrance. The oil is anti-inflammatory, antiviral and expectorant. Its gentle nature makes it an appropriate aromatic oil to use in natural remedy blends for treating ear infections, congestion, cold and cough. With the help of a dropper, place two drops of diluted eucalyptus oil in both ears and gently insert a cotton ball that will ensure the oil is absorbed into the ear. Inhaling a blend of water and eucalyptus oil from a vaporizer can effectively help reduce inflammation.

Basil Essential Oil

Basil Essential Oil

Mined from the leaves and flowers of the plant by steam distillation, basil oil has sweet, spicy, herbaceous scent. It is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antiviral and muscle relaxant. These therapeutic qualities enable the oil to fight ear, lung, respiratory and throat infections. Dilute basil oil with a carrier oil, then soak a cotton ball with the diluted basil oil and place the ball into the affected ear/ears. The cotton ball should not be too close to the eardrum. It should be somewhere in the ear canal to allow the oil to do its work.

Thyme Essential Oil

Thyme Essential Oil

Extracted from the leaves and flowering tops of the plant by steam distillation, thyme oil has an herbaceous, slightly bitter scent. It is antibacterial, fungicidal, antiseptic and expectorant.It has valuable cleansing and healing properties. Thyme oil should only be applied outside the ear. Blend two drops of lavender oil, two drops of thyme oil, and ten milliliters of almond oil. Apply two drops of the blend on the outside part of the affected ear. This should help manage earache and pain.

Roman Chamomile Essential Oil

Roman Chamomile Essential Oil

Derived from the flowers of Anthemis nobilis by steam distillation, Roman chamomile oil has a sweet, fresh, soft, herbaceous fragrance. It is anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antibiotic, antiseptic, antispasmodic and analgesic. It is suitable for both internal and external use. Roman chamomile can be used to treat ear infections and soothe the nerves of the ear if it causes pain. It improves circulation to the ear and relieves earache.

Rosemary Essential Oil

Rosemary Essential Oil

Obtained from the flowers of the plant by steam distillation, Rosemary oil has an evergreen, moderately woody scent. The oil is extremely versatile, as it is useful for treating of a number of illnesses including earache. It is antibacterial, antifungal, decongestant, antispasmodic, antiseptic, astringent, antioxidant and analgesic. You should not use this oil without diluting it with a carrier oil. It improves circulation and eases earache.

Helichrysum Essential Oil

Helichrysum Essential Oil

Derived from the flowers of the plant by steam distillation, Helichrysum oil has a sharp, herbaceous aroma. It is antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and expectorant. It is highly impressive with its high efficacy and extreme gentleness in treating ear infection and earache. Dilute one drop of Helichrysum oil to ten drops of coconut oil and apply two drops around the outer ear and down the neck.

Safety Precautions to Observe

It is in your own best interest to observe the following simple rules when using any essential oil for earache.

  1. Essential oils are highly volatile and concentrated substances that should always be diluted with a carrier oil before internal or external use.
  2. Essential oils have an oily consistency and they do not blend with water. Therefore, you should always mix them with carrier oils, such as jojoba oil, coconut oil, sweet almond oil and so forth.
  3. Essential oils should never be allowed to contact the eyes and you should be careful not to touch your eyes when handling these oils because this can cause severe irritation.
  4. At all times do a patch test before using essential oils on the skin. This will help avoid skin irritation and sensitization.
  5. Each time store essential oils and essential oil blends in dark glass bottles. This way, the oils’ particles will not be damaged by light and their effectiveness will be maintained.
  6. You should always start the treatment in small doses, which you can later increase to an average dose.
  7. All essential oils combine a number of therapeutic qualities. So, it is important to choose oils with qualities that will help with your condition.
  8. Choose one or more of the oils listed below with respect to your symptoms.

How to Apply Essential Oils

Using Cotton Balls

Placing essential oil drops directly into the ear is not advisable. Use cotton balls, this way, the oil particles will gradually be absorbed into the ear. The healing properties of the oil will take effect without producing any side effects. Never use natural oils neat, especially with children. Most of these oils for ear infection are regarded safe. Though, they have to be diluted with a carrier oil for safety concerns. Follow the steps below when you are using a specific essential oil, such as lavender or lemon. You can use essential oils for the treatment of sore throat, colds and other infectious diseases

  • Dilute essential oil with equal parts of carrier oil.
  • Soak cotton balls in the diluted essential oil.
  • Place the cotton ball inside the ear, but it should not go beyond the ear canal.
  • Let the cotton ball stay in the ear for as long as possible to allow absorption of the oil.


massage for the ear infection

If you do not want to use cotton balls, you can massage the outside of the affected ear and downwards towards the neck. Here is what you should do:

  • In a small glass bowl, add 2 drops of essential oil for ear ache and 5 ml of coconut oil and mix to blend.
  • Rub the mixture on the outside of the infected ear down to the neck.
  • Make sure you massage the oil mixture behind the ear, along the edge and onto the lobe as you move downwards.

Essential Oil Recipes for Ear Infection

Recipe #1: Ear Rub

The ingredients include the following oils for ear infections:

  • 6 drops of Roman chamomile essential oil
  • 3 drops of tea tree essential oil
  • 3 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 1 ounce of coconut oil

Directions: In a clean glass bowl, add the oils and mix to blend. Then rub around the ear and down the side of the neck. Apply a single drop of the blend to a piece of cotton and place in the infected ear. For children, use half the concentration of the essential oils and one ounce of coconut oil to make the blend.

Recipe #2: Herbal Ear Oil


  • Garlic infused oil
  • Calendula infused oil
  • Mullein blossom infused oil
  • Tea tree oil
  • Olive oil

Directions: Use ½ ounce of each of the oils for ear infection. Mix the oils in a clean, glass bottle and shake gently. Warm the mixture before dropping it into the infected ear. Heat a spoon under hot water, dry it and drop the oil onto the warm spoon. Then draw the warm mixture into a dropper and put two drops in the affected ear.

Recipe #3: Earache Relief Blend


  • 1 drop of lavender essential oil
  • 1 drop of basil essential oil
  • 1 drop of melaleuca essential oil
  • 1 teaspoon of coconut oil
  • 2 cotton balls

Directions: In a small glass bowl, pour 1 teaspoon of coconut oil. Add 1 drop of lavender essential oil. Add 1 drop of melaleuca oil, if you plan to administer this remedy to a child of more than six months. Add 1 drop of basil oil if your child is older than two years. Then stir the ingredient to blend. Soak the mixture with two cotton balls and then place the balls in the ears to administer the mixture.

Benefits: Lavender oil is analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial. Therefore, it minimizes earache, soothes the inflammation caused by the infection and eliminates the bacteria causing the infection. Most of the bacteria triggering ear infections are susceptible to melaleuca essential oil. Melaleuca oil’s anti-inflammatory properties calm sensitive ears.

Recipe #4: Herbal Ear Massage


  • 3 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 3 drops of tea tree essential oil
  • 6 drops of Roman chamomile
  • 1 ounce of vegetable oil

Directions: Blend the essential oils for ear aches in a clean glass bottle and add to one ounce of vegetable oil. Apply to a cotton ball and rub around the infected ear. Then massage down the neck to help drain the lymphatic channels.

Recipe #5: Earache Blend


  • 10 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 10 drops of basil essential oil
  • 10 drops of melaleuca essential oil
  • Fractionated coconut oil
  • 5 ml roller bottle

Directions: Add the oils into the 5 ml roller bottle and shake well to blend. Then add the fractional coconut oil and shake. Soak a cotton ball with the blend and rub the inside and the back of the infected ear. Apply every fifteen minutes or every three hours to ease the symptoms.

Please, keep in mind, that however powerful essential oils for ear infection may be, it is always better to see a doctor first, and make sure that you don’t need any specific medication for your particular condition. Otherwise, you may harm yourself even more.

Sources and References

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Ear Infection
  2. MedlinePlus Ear Infections
  3. NIDCD Ear Infections in Children
  4. HealthDirect Ear Infection

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