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Small children often develop middle ear
infections (otitis media) during colds; however, ear infections can
occur at any age. Allergy or swelling of the tonsils and adenoids
may block the Eustachian tubes and sinus passages, and inflammation
and fluid can increase in the middle ear, causing pressure, pain,
and sometimes even a ruptured eardrum and discharge. A different
kind of ear infection (otitis externa) affects the outer ear and the
sensitive skin inside the ear canal; it often starts with a scratch
that gets infected by bacteria or fungus (swimmer’s ear), becoming
swollen, inflamed, and very painful.
For dosage information, please read the information at the end of
this section. See also “Using Homeopathy With Professional
Guidance” in What
Aconitum napellus: This remedy is
indicated if an earache comes on suddenly with cutting, throbbing
pain—often after exposure to cold and wind, or after a shaking
experience. The person usually is fearful, agitated, and restless.
Fever may be high and thirst is strong. Symptoms are often worse
near midnight, and can even wake the person up.
Belladonna: Intense bouts of
earache that come and go very suddenly, with heat and inflammation,
suggest a need for this remedy. Pain can be pounding or throbbing,
and may be worse from jarring. The person usually has a fever, a
flushed red face, eyes that are sensitive to light, and skin that is
hot to touch. The right ear is most often affected. A child needing Belladonna
may feel drowsy with the fever, or be restless and have nightmares.
Chamomilla: Paroxysms of pain that
seem intolerable suggest a need for this remedy. Children may seem
angry and beside themselves, and often scream and hit. They may feel
better from being carried constantly and vigorously walked around or
rocked. Ear pain and other symptoms are worse from heat and wind,
and the cheeks (often only one) may be hot and red.
Ferrum phosphoricum: This remedy
can soothe the ache and inflammation of an ear infection—or even
stop it, if given when the symptoms have just begun to show. The
person looks pink and flushed, with fever and a feeling of
weariness. The outer ear may look warm and pink, and the eardrum can
Hepar sulphuris calcareum: This
remedy is indicated when an earache is very painful or infection is
advanced (with a bulging eardrum or pus formation). Stabbing,
sticking pains “like a splinter being driven in” are a likely
indication. The person is very sensitive to everything, especially
cold and drafts, and may feel extremely vulnerable and touchy.
Magnesia phosphorica: An earache
that feels much better when warmth and pressure are applied suggests
a need for this remedy. The pain may be mostly neuralgic, with
little evidence of fluid or infection.
Mercurius solubilis: This remedy
may be helpful if an ear infection is advanced, with pus formation,
shooting pains, and roaring in the ear. A person who needs this
remedy is often very sensitive to temperatures (both hot and cold),
has swollen lymph nodes, offensive breath, a puffy tongue, and sweat
and drooling during sleeping.
Pulsatilla: This remedy is often
indicated for ear infections that follow or accompany a cold. (Cold
symptoms include a stuffy nose, especially indoors, and large
amounts of yellow or greenish mucus.) The ear may be hot and
swollen, with a feeling that something is pressing out. Pain can be
worse in the evening and at night, as well as worse from heat, with
a pulsing sensation. Deep itching may be felt inside, especially if
ear infections are chronic. A child needing Pulsatilla
usually is sad and tearful, wanting to be held and comforted.
Select the remedy that
most closely matches the symptoms. In conditions where
self-treatment is appropriate, unless otherwise directed by a
physician, a lower potency (6X, 6C, 12X, 12C, 30X, or 30C)
should be used. In addition, instructions for use are usually
printed on the label.
physicians suggest that remedies be used as follows: Take one
dose and wait for a response. If improvement is seen, continue
to wait and let the remedy work. If improvement lags
significantly or has clearly stopped, another dose may be
taken. The frequency of dosage varies with the condition and
the individual. Sometimes a dose may be required several times
an hour; other times a dose may be indicated several times a
day; and in some situations, one dose per day (or less) can be
If no response is seen
within a reasonable amount of time, select a different remedy.
For more information, including references, see What
is Homeopathy? and Understanding
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individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment
with prescription or over-the-counter medication is also
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