Baby Bear recently had quite the battle a nasty ear infection. He was super fussy, was constantly pulling at his right ear and was just pretty miserable. I knew it was an ear infection after having many, MANY rounds with my now 5 year old who eventually had to get tubes for his ear infections. If I can prevent that in anyway with this little guy I am going to try! After a day of watching this guy tug and tug at his right ear I decided to whip up a bottle of Garlic + Mullein Ear Oil.
First things first, I needed to find some mullein which I knew was growing wild on our property. Mullein, not to be confused with Lamb’s Ear, holds anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It can be used for a number of ailments such as relieving coughs, congestion, or diarrhea. Steep approximately 2 teaspoons of dried mullein plant in a cup of hot water to make an infusion to aid in relief of those ailments.
Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) grows as a “foliage rosette” with a central stalk that produces yellow blossoms (not shown in this photo as they are not flowering yet).
Lamb’s ear (Stachys byzantina), shown in the photo below, grows as a “foliage clump” and produces pinkish-purple flowers.
The leaves are similar, but mullein grows much taller and lamb’s ear leaves are softer.
Typically the flowers are used for mullein ear oil, but since they aren’t blooming yet I went ahead and snipped some leaves. I got a few extra to dry for later use in the colder months when we may need some relief for a cough.
If you are unable to find wild mullein you can buy dried mullein here. I also added calendula flowers (Calendula officinalis) to my oil which can be purchased here. Calendula holds anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties and is also an astringent and antiseptic. It can also help relieve pain, fight infection, and can speed up healing time. If purchasing calendula for its medicinal properties make sure to buy the whole flower, not the petals. You can also add St. John’s Wort for its ability to inhibit infections and helps relieve nerve pain if you have access to the fresh plant as the dried plant will not extract its medicinal properties into oil. Garlic is added to this oil for its anti-fungal, antibiotic, antioxidant, and antiseptic properties. You can make this oil with just garlic or a blend of any of the herbs mentioned above paired with the garlic for relief!
Recipe for Garlic + Mullein Ear Oil
- 1/4 cup mullein leaf &/or flowers (I used fresh, but you can use dry)
- 1 fresh garlic head, peeled & minced
- 1/4 cup calendula flowers (optional)
- 1/4 cup fresh st. johns wort (optional)
- Organic extra virgin olive oil
- Vitamin E oil (optional)
Place everything in a glass jar, cover with enough olive oil to cover your garlic and herbs and put the lid on. You will need to infuse your oil which can be done using a number of methods. I needed my oil as soon as possible so I infused my oil in my Excalibur dehydrator. You do not want to let your infused oil to get over 110* as the heat will kill off the medicinal properties of your herbs. The dehydrator has a temp control so I can set it and forget it. I let my oil infuse for 6 hours. If you do not have a dehydrator, but still need it asap you can use a double boiler or a crock pot on low heat for 4-6 hours, again watching and the temperature of your oil to make sure it does not go over 110*. If you have time to wait you can use the solar infusion by placing your jar in a sunny window for about 2-4 weeks giving it a shake daily.
After your oil is infused, strain your oil with a fine mesh cheesecloth (I like the cheesecloth used for cheese making as it has a tighter weave) or clean muslin cloth and store in a dark, glass amber bottle. I prefer to stir in a dropper full of vitamin e oil as it is a natural preservative. If you do not have vitamin e you can store the bottle in the fridge and it will keep for about 6 months. If kept out of the fridge, store it in a dark cabinet and dispose after about 3 months.
Warm the dropper to the temp of moms breast milk or room temp. I like to get a dropper full of the oil and rub it between my hands to warm it up. You can also place the bottle into a bowl of warm water for a few minutes. Be sure to test the oil on your forearm first. You want the oil slightly warmed, not hot. Drop 2-3 drops of warm oil into each ear every 4 hours as needed. Always treat both ears because ear infections can move from ear to ear. I prefer to do this to babies during their nap time to make sure the oil really gets into the ear. You can also massage the oil around the ear to encourage the ears to drain the fluid that is trapped inside causing the infection. It may also be used as a preventative for anyone prone to chronic ear infections and can be used topically on fungal infections of the skin and ring worm.
Bear had relief of his ear infection after just 24 hours of using this oil multiple times during the day. I am happy to report he is back to his happy, smiley self!