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February 01, 2009

Earache

The ears are an empty cavity, with tiny hairs which vibrate to pick up sound. This air and movement show that the ears are a vata dominated part of the body. They are, however, prone to imbalance of any dosha, and surprisingly Kapha earaches are the most common. This is why children have earaches a lot, but tend to grow out of it. This is also why it is common to get an earache after swimming, when the ear becomes full of water (Kapha).

Earaches can be viral, fungal or bacterial. If an earache is cause by a cold and congestion it is most likely to be Kapha. Hot, red, swollen, itchy ear ache tends to be Pitta, and Vata ear ache is caused by exposure to wind or cold. More often than not more than one dosha is involved.

General treatment of earaches includes alterative herbs, which are blood purifying, taken internally, or administered through the ear or nose. Mint tea (infused not boiled) is excellent internally, whilst a few drops of ginger juice, or garlic infused sesame oil are best for application directly into the ears. Neti can work effectively as it actually creates a vaccuum which helps to draw out any toxins from the greater sinus cavity, not just the nose. With neti be especially careful not to blow your nose afterwards because if you block your nose and blow the water will be pushed deeper into the sinuses-aggravating the problem. Especially as we grow older daily oiling of the ears is very useful.

If you find loud noises very disturbing this indicates a low white blood cell count, commonly caused by anemia, dehydation or low blood pressure (usually Vata and Pitta).

3 comments:

Purvi said...

Wonderful post Julia!

Are there any ayurvedic remedies for bacterial ear infections?? My 1 yr. old gets them every once in a while and I would love to not have to give antibiotics to her. I use garlic oil in her ears (but not regularly) If I use it regularly, can it prevent bacterial infection?

Also I was very curious whether ayurveda has any "antibiotics" as such.

Thanks for wonderful entries!!

Anonymous said...

julia,
it's so good to find all these interesting details in your website. i am an indian and have been brought up with these things while growing up. like oiling the ears and covering them up when i cold weather etc. how truly they work wonders and i was suggeting to one of my friend the same thing when she said her little boy was having continuous ear infections. people are not ready to try them which is sad. they prefer antibiotics to such home remedies which are so safe.

Julia said...

Thanks Purvi. Indeed Ayurveda offers many herbal antibiotics.

Strong, cool blood cleansers (bitters) have both an antibacterial and antibiotic effect. But, like synthetic antibiotics, they are not recommended for long term use. Strong bitters are very depleteing and should only be given t the point that the illness is depleted, but not the body. Echinacea, goldenseal and wild indigo for example are all antibiotic.

Turmeric is a more accessible natural antibiotic, and unlike other antibiotics it actually strengthens good stomach bacteria making it safe for long term use.

As for garlic as a preventative for ear aches, I am unsure. Garlic is tamasic, so if you use it regularly check her mind doesn't become dull. But this is really only a concern for those on the spiritual path.

Anonymous- I agree, it is so simple I am amazed when people don't want to even try!