Earache or ear infections can be caused by viral or bacterial infections, including colds and flu. While it’s not critical, earaches can disrupt your activities and sleep, ruining your overall mood. Here we have compiled the top 8 natural home remedies for earache in adults that will help cure your ear infection in no time.

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If your earache is caused by bacteria, you can actually use garlic to treat it. One study found that garlic ear drops help alleviate earache. This is understandable since garlic contains allicin which has antibacterial and antifungal properties.

To use garlic to treat your ear, do NOT shove a whole garlic into your ear canal. This may induce side effects such as skin burns. Instead, try making garlic oil ear drops.


A similar home remedy for infected ears is ginger. Ginger is very popular in Asia as a home remedy for all sorts of pain and inflammatory diseases, including earaches. Studies have confirmed the anti-inflammatory properties of ginger and that it can be used to treat earache.

Unlike garlic oil, don’t put it into your ear canal. Just extract ginger juice or a strained mixture of ginger and olive oil and apply it around the outer ear.

Olive Oil

Forget garlic and ginger and try using olive oil on its own as a home remedy for pain in the ear. Olive oil is packed with antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory compounds. A study done on children with infected ears has found that natural ear drops with an olive oil base can reduce earache.

Pain in the ear can also be caused by earwax buildup, and olive oil is also effective for treating that. Putting 2 – 3 drops of olive oil in the ear canal can soften the earwax so that it can run out on its own.

Tea Tree Oil

Another natural cure for ear infections is tea tree oil, which has a high terpinen-4-ol content. When this compound comes into touch with germs, it destroys them, making tea tree oil an effective antibacterial agent.

Dilute tea tree oil using olive oil or other carrier oils in a 1:2 ratio. Put 2 – 3 drops of the mixture into the infected ear using a clean dropper. Lie on your side with the oil in your ear for 3 minutes then drain the oil out.

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Holy Basil or Tulsi Leaves

In India, tulsi leaf or holy basil is commonly used as a home remedy for ear infections for adults. Basil has antibacterial effects and contains a high amount of antioxidants that help treat ear infections.

To use it, crush five holy basil leaves so that the juice spills out, then apply it around the infected ear. Holy basil leaves shouldn’t be put inside the ear canal.

Holy basil can also be used in the form of essential oil to treat earache. Simply dilute the essential oil with carrier oil in a 1:2 ratio, and apply it to the ear canal lightly with a cotton swab. Don’t force the swab into the ear as it can worsen the infection.

Warm or Cold Compress

A common method of reducing inflammation in many parts of the body, applying a heat pack to your ear is recommended by doctors to alleviate earache. Doing so will help the muscles to relax and improve blood flow.

On the other end of the spectrum, cold compresses are also good for pain because they slow down blood flow thus reducing pain. Health professionals advise alternating between warm and cold compress every 10 minutes.

Neck Stretches

Earaches may be caused by pressure in the ear canal. Doing neck stretches can reduce this pressure and eventually the ache in your ear.

To do this, sit straight with your feet parallel to the floor. Slowly rotate your neck to the right, and then repeat to the other side. Do this while lifting your shoulders high as if covering the ears with your shoulders. Repeat 5 times.

Sleeping upright

While this sounds extremely uncomfortable, sleeping in an upright position will help you to fall asleep even with an ear infection. Having your ear in a higher position than the rest of your body is great to drain the fluid in your ear more easily, and will also help to relieve the pressure and discomfort in your middle ear. 

A more pleasant alternative is to sleep on the opposite side of the ear that’s infected. This ought to evade pressure and also give a little elevation to the infected area. However, this small height difference won’t make a big difference in the pressure so sleeping upright is more recommended.

The Bottom Line

That wraps up our list of home remedies for earache and ear infections. Keep in mind that these are only temporary solutions. If the earache persists – especially if they’re accompanied by other symptoms such as fever or headache – please go to the doctor to avoid further complications.

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