The Eclectic Physician
Natural Health Care
by Beth Burch N.D.
Chronic ear infections-
Chronic ear infections are a common reason for visits to the doctor in
young children. The eustachian tube ( the passageway from the middle ear
to the inside of the throat) is small and horizontally positioned in babies
and young children which makes them more susceptible to getting an infection
in the middle ear. Acute ear infections in children must be evaluated and
treated by a health care provider as they can lead to more serious complications.
However chronic ear infections respond well to natural methods in many
cases, often avoiding ear tube surgery.
Many ear infections in children are the result of food or environmental
allergies which cause the tissue in the eustachian tube to swell. If the
passageway closes off, fluid collects in the middle ear providing a perfect
medium for the growth of viruses or bacteria from the nose and throat.
Once fluid has collected in the middle ear, it can take up to three months
for it to clear completely. Fluid behind the ear drum does not indicate
an ear infection, only a potential for one to develop. Antibiotics are
frequently given to treat fluid behind the eardrum, but are best reserved
to treat an acute infection with fever, pain, and inflammation of the eardrum.
Successful alternative treatment of chronic ear infections requires
a multifaceted approach to balance immune function. First, all food allergens
should be eliminated from the diet. The most common offender is dairy,
but wheat, eggs, citrus and chocolate are also common. Some children may
be allergic to other foods. Breastfeeding helps to prevent ear infections.
Environmental allergens and irritants like dust, pollen and smoke can also
cause inflammation which leads to ear fluid, so every effort should be
made to eliminate these, especially from the childís bedroom. The use of
pacifiers and bottles has been linked to increased incidence of ear infections.
A good vitamin-mineral supplement should be taken every day- in a liquid
form for infants and young children and a chewable for older kids. Be sure
to read the product label for the appropriate dose for age. An essential
fatty acid supplement should be given every day- flaxseed oil is a good
If a child with fluid behind the eardrum develops symptoms of an acute
ear infection (fever, persistent ear pain, nausea or vomiting), see your
health care provider right away to check the ears for signs of infection.
Herb of choice-
Echinacea- an excellent
choice for increasing immune function and helping to prevent viral and
bacterial infections. Can be used daily for up to 6 weeks, then used for
5 out of every 7 days. If signs of a cold or flu develop, increase dose
frequency to every 3-4 hours.
Dosage-Liquid extract or glycerin- 1 drop per 4 pounds of body
weight once a day.
Chewable tablet (for children over 3)- 5-10 mg per 10 pounds body weight.
Other herbs-Astragalus, Elder
* The information presented in this web site is intended to inform and educate.
It is not intended replace a qualified medical practitioner to diagnose or treat medical conditions.