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The ear is a very sensitive organ; it is the house of one of the most important senses of the human body - the auditory sense. Due to its delicate nature, there are several problems that can occur with the human ear. One of the most common problems occurs when the ear gets infected. In severe cases, pus formation may occur. Such inflammations of the ear commonly occur in children.
All ear infections and aches are collectively known as Putikarna in Ayurveda. They are generally caused due to vitiation of the kapha dosha, which is the body element that coordinates the earth and water elements of the body. Hence a person with ear problems must take care not to aggravate the kapha dosha further.
The cold season is generally associated with ear problems. In some people, ear aches infections are associated with common colds which are caused at the onset of the winter months. This is seen most commonly in children. But in children, the common colds must be treated soon, or the inflammation could cause permanent damage to the hearing sense.
The formation of pus is mostly associated with children. This is a severe case of ear infection which must be treated promptly. When there is a pus infection, there will be cough and most likely the child will also have fever. This is due to vitiation of the kapha dosha.
Useful Herbs for the Treatment of Ear Infections and Aches
- Bael (Aegle marmelos) The root of the bael tree is used in a unique manner to treat ear problems. A stiff root of the tree is dipped in neem oil and it is lighted. The oil dripping from this root is allowed to fall into the ear. This brings about tremendous relief in ear aches and infections.
- Bishop’s Weed (Trachyspermum ammi) Bishop’s weed is very effective in treating ear congestions. About a teaspoonful quantity of it is heated in 30 milliliters of milk. The juice of the weed is allowed to permeate into the milk. This is then used as ear drops.
- Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum) The holy basil, or tulsi as it is called in Hindi, is beneficial for ear problems. The juice extracted from its leaves must be used as ear drops. It has added benefits in children who are suffering from ear problems.
- Neem (Azadirachta indica) Neem has antiseptic properties due to which it can kill the organisms that produce the infections in the ear. It is effective by itself. In order to enhance its effects, it can be taken with bael root as mentioned earlier.
Dietary Treatments for Ear Infections and Aches
The diet taken by a patient with ear problems should be such that it does not vitiate the kapha dosha, which is responsible for them. The following dietary guidelines must be followed:-
- Sour foods must be avoided as they vitiate the kapha. These include curds and fruits that are sour in taste.
- Bananas, watermelons, oranges, papayas and cucumbers must be avoided. These foods can increase the chances of having common cold. This would aggravate the ear problem. For the same reason, all refrigerated foods must also be avoided.
- Valuable foods during ear problems are onion, ginger and garlic. Turmeric is also very good, and must be used for spicing the meals.
Ayurvedic Treatments for Ear Infections and Aches
Most ear problems are treated with Lakshmi Vilas rasa. This is prescribed for both adults and children. In adults, the dose is one pill thrice daily. It is a bitter pill, so to reduce its bitterness it is taken with honey. In children, the dosage is reduced.
For external use, Nirgundi is prescribed. The extract of the nirgundi oil is boiled with mustard oil. The solution is used as external drops for the ear. The drops are generally prescribed to be used twice daily.
Home Remedies for Ear Infections and Aches
- Make a fine mixture of turmeric and burnt alum (alum that has been allowed to swell). Introduce this mixture slowly into the ear.
- Mixing Indian barberry and honey in mother’s milk and putting it in infected ears provides benefits.
- Put a little fenugreek in cow’s milk. This can be used to put as drops into the infected ears.
- The paste of the bilwa root is boiled with mustard oil. After filtering, this oil is used as ear drops.
- A single piece of clove is sautéed in sesame oil. Three to four drops of this is put into the ear. This method gives immense relief in ear problems.
- One simple remedy is to use extract of ginger as eardrops. The juice of the onion can also be used in a similar fashion, but it must be warmed.
Ear infections could be itchy or painful. Hence there is a tendency that the child will scratch the ear or put their fingers in the Eustachian tube. This must strictly be avoided as the dirt on the fingers will aggravate the infection further. Also, by doing so, the person is increasing the chances of infection to others.
People with ear problems must take care to keep themselves away from the cold as much as possible. They must avoid having baths till the ear problems are treated. They must wear warm clothes and avoid eating cold foods.
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