How to use onions for earaches & infections!

by Amanda Hearn · 55 comments

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Earaches are downright miserable. I have been very blessed to have children who do not get earaches, at least until recently.  Lillian had her first ever earache a short while ago. She woke up in terrible pain and was simply inconsolable. I felt just awful for her!

From the recent memory of my last earache (a neti pot incident – ouch!) I knew that the usual suggestion of garlic in olive oil didn’t do a thing to relieve my pain or calm my ear. In an attempt not to mess with her more than necessary I hopped online at about 2 am to look for another solution, that’s when I started to read about “onion juice”. It sounded a bit silly, I mean how on earth do you even juice an onion?! Nevertheless, it seemed promising and after reading close to a dozen sources I decided that this would be my plan of attack.

Here’s what I did.

  1. I turned the oven on to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and placed the onion inside on a pan (no preheating). I let it cook for about 15 minutes while I tried to calm Lily in a bath – and to get her ears cleaned out a bit (in the water only, no q-tips or other instruments.)
  2. I removed the onion from the oven and allowed it to cool long enough to be able to handle (it was still warm).
  3. Once the onion was cooled down slightly I cut it in half and squeezed over a small bowl. The onion juice came out easily and you only need a bit. (If there is any ‘stuff’ in the juice, strain it easily by pouring it through a piece of paper towel or a very thin cloth.)
  4. The juice should be cool enough to use at this point. Using a medicine dropper, I place a few drops into her ear and kept her head tilted to retain the juice for several minutes. (Do this for at least a few minutes, but more is good.)
  5. Enjoy the lifted mood – due to the relieved pain – of your little one (or self).

Before I put the juice into her ear she was simply unable to be soothed. The bath didn’t help, snuggling while we waited for the onion didn’t help, I even turned on a movie for her – which was also no help – though it did help me get her to let me put the drops into her ear while she rested her head on my lap. Within minutes her body calmed (she had been contracting her legs and fidgeting a lot because of the ear pain) and she was able to rest peacefully once again. In the morning there were no signs of a sore ear but I did follow up with a few more drops of onion juice for good measure.

My understanding is that the onion contains anti-bacterial, healing and anti-inflammatory properties that quickly and effectively sooth and calm the infected ear, allowing the body to heal without the inflamation and pressure causing pain. I was simply amazed by how quickly this worked for her and plan to make this my first resource should another earache ever come about.

I appreciate and fully believe in the benefits of holistic medicine, but I am not a healthcare provider. Earaches and infections can become very serious and I encourage you to use your intuition and best judgement. Consult a trusted physician if you are ever in doubt.

This was a new concept for me. Have you ever heard of or tried this method? 

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{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

Kim February 7, 2013 at 1:41 pm

I’ve used garlic before for earaches, but never heard of using onions! I will have to try this out next time!


Heather December 29, 2014 at 2:47 pm

do you do the same this with the garlic? How do you use garlic?


Becki February 7, 2013 at 4:53 pm

Welcome to the Safer Chemicals Healthy Families blogger group. It’s great to have you, and I’m glad I found your blog too. I need more ideas about natural remedies, so I will pin this. I hope you’ll join me when you have a chance on Tuesdays to link up to my Eco Kids Tuesdays Link Up. It’s nice to meet you!


Päivi February 7, 2013 at 6:21 pm

My kids have often slept with onion halfs around their head. My sister-in-law told me about this, when my kids were babies. Have some funny photoes of them too wearing a balaklava hat with the onions bulging inside the hat… never heard of the juice thing though. Also my three kids never had an earinfection, but it worked for blocked nose and flu too :)


Cheri D February 7, 2013 at 7:25 pm

Thank you for the great post! I have never heard of using onion juice before for an ear ache, but I am going to try it out the next time my son gets one.


Lois February 7, 2013 at 9:14 pm

I have never heard of using onion juice in the ears but it does make sense. When ever I am starting to feel a cold coming on I up my intake of raw honey, garlic, and onions. Does the trick rather quickly. Using this method I was able to heal faster than my family from the Swine Flu a couple years ago, they went to the doctor and received a prescription, it’s sad they paid so much money ($80 for the one) when food cured my symptoms.


Scarlet of Family Focus Blog February 8, 2013 at 7:36 am

Great post. I shared on google+ tumblr, and digg!


Good Girl Gone Green February 8, 2013 at 11:06 am

Never heard of this, but thanks Amanda! I will definitely try it if and when little E gets an earache! :) :)


Mari SaimaaLife February 10, 2013 at 5:44 am

This was totally new to me! Thanks for a great tip :) I have been lucky that my kids have not has any earache yet. I definitely try this if they will get it some day.


KC @ genxfinance February 11, 2013 at 3:06 am

Just like Kim and the rest of the gang here, I never heard of using onions for earaches before. Yes, will definitely try it the nest time.


Beth Rees February 15, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Well you learn something new everyday. I have to say I have never heard of anything like this before. I have heard about vinegar being used but never tried it. I am interested to try this out


Casey B. February 16, 2013 at 2:21 am

Wow! I’ve never heard of this but this is awesome! What a creative way to help out without exposing your little one to harmful chemicals. I’ll make sure to keep this in mind for later use!


Courtney February 17, 2013 at 2:37 am

Good to know, I use breastmilk for all earaches that occur in the house but I have been wondering what I would do someday when I no longer have breastmilk available. Now I know, Thanks.


Sue Dreamwalker February 25, 2013 at 11:37 am

What a useful tip, I too am a great believer in holistic remedies and found this to be a very useful tip thank you….. :-) I cam via your blog from a link from Simplylivingfree.. Sue


Katie J March 8, 2013 at 9:41 pm

I use a Neti Pot, and so do my husband and nearly-2-yr-old. What happened?? Now I’m super curious, and a little concerned!


Amanda March 8, 2013 at 9:58 pm

I made the mistake of using it when my sinuses were to stuffy to be doing so. I ended up forcing the water into places it didn’t belong. It messed with my ears and then, if I recall correctly, I even lost my ability to smell for a bit. It was my own fault really.


Heather W March 11, 2013 at 10:14 pm

My 3 year old son just woke up screaming and crying with a terrible earache, and in a desperate panic for something to make him feel better in the middle of the night, I stumbled across this. It was hard to get him to lay still but after 2 times of trying I got it to stay for a few minutes.20 minutes later, My house stinks terribly of onion and I (miraculously!) have a calm and pain free baby! Thanks so much for the idea!


Amanda March 11, 2013 at 11:14 pm

Aww, I’m so sorry your little one has an earache, but I’m happy to hear that this was able to give him (and you!) some relief :)


Mellissa March 16, 2013 at 12:02 am

Just wondering if there is a specific kind of onion? Or does any kind work?


Amanda March 16, 2013 at 12:05 am

From what I read, pretty much any onion. I used a red onion because it’s what I typically have on hand.


Sarah Halstead (@InTheMomentWith) March 28, 2013 at 7:25 pm

Very cool. Will have to try this next time one of my little ones has an earache.

Great to meet you at BlissDom! :)


Amanda March 29, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Thanks for stopping by, it was so nice meeting you as well.

This method takes a little prep work, but it works faster than anything we’ve used – which is very handy when you have a miserable little one.


Julie May 16, 2013 at 12:00 am

I’ve used this on my 5 year old and it worked instantly! I also have a friend who used antibiotic after antibiotic for her son’s repeated earaches and infections. Now she just puts in a couple drops of onion juice and he’s fine! Onions are awesome!


Nadege July 2, 2013 at 4:07 pm

I am trying this natural remedy next time Clara has an ear infection. Thanks Amanda!


rakesh July 14, 2013 at 2:16 am

Great advice- assure you it works, used it on my 2y/o and within seconds she was sorted. Thnx for the write up. God bless…


Becky August 4, 2013 at 1:59 pm

I have a couple questions.

Can I use a juicer or is there something magical about the onion releasing juice in the oven? I would think I could use a juicer and then just warm it up, but I didn’t know if the onion breaking down in the oven released “something more” that helped.

Just to clarify, can this be used to heal an ear infection? You say “earache” and I didn’t know if that was an earache due to an ear infection. Also, does this heal the ear or just take away the pain? I am a little confused.

For now to deal with the pain, I put an oiled cotton ball in my child’s ear. Then I put a “Band-Aid” (medical tape) over it to keep it in when they sleep. This stabilizes the pressure relieving the pain. The doctor told me to suck out the mucous and/or a saline rinse at least twice a day, otherwise the mucous will build up and they can develop an infection in their sinuses as well — not to mention that the eardrum could pop, but that will heal.


Amanda August 4, 2013 at 4:51 pm

You can definitely use the juicer. It’s hard to juice an onion by hand, which is why I popped it in the oven. Once it’s been in the oven for a bit it becomes a bit mooshy and easy to get juice from.

We’ve used this for ear infections. My understanding is that the properties of the onion actually help sooth and heal (and this has been our observation). We don’t have a lot of ear infections, thankfully, but this has worked wonderfully each time it was needed.


Leroy August 12, 2013 at 1:09 am

Yes, I actually heard that! When I was young my aunt would sautè it, then place it in my ear. Yes it helped me!


Anita September 5, 2013 at 12:38 am

The reason I was looking this up is my mother had told me her Grandmother used to put a worm onion on her ear when she had earache, and I wanted to see if it was mentioned. Her grandmother must have been born about 1870 so it is an old remedy.


Catherine December 3, 2013 at 10:33 pm

I was just looking this up again to make sure it was ok to use a red onion (I have used regular old brown in the past). I can assure everyone that it most definitely works! Better than any antibiotic. My daughter gets ear infections every so often and this always fixes it up so quickly. She has a high pain threshold so often doesn’t tell me until her ear drum is about to rupture. Sometimes I also rub a little garlic oil around her ear to help ease the pain – not sure if it is the garlic oil or just the massaging that helps really though.


Rachel Gray December 14, 2013 at 10:05 am

I was so excited to try this. My daughter woke up in the morning with a very bad ear ache. When I cooked the onion that much it didn’t work for her. But I had been holding a raw onion to her ear also, with a warm rice bag over it for about 10 minutes and that piece of onion was getting a little soft. So I stuck it in my lime/lemon press (kind of like a garlic press but the shape of a small citrus fruit) and I got out quite a bit of juice. That soothed her a little more and then finally her pain wasn’t as bad. I think for her it helped a little more raw. Its funny how every body is a little different.


mary delacruz December 22, 2013 at 9:45 pm

Thanks for the tip I’m using onion juice in my ear as we speak.. but my main question is how long do I keep it in there…


Nancy December 26, 2013 at 3:05 am

I’m so happy to hear that you tried this, growing up in a Mexican home that was my mom’s go to for me, I got them once in a while and to this day I still do it, I’m actually doing it now, I woke up with a random earache, what I do and you may want to use this method is the way my mom thought me was to get a small piece of cotton (large enough to log in your ear abs easy to pull out) and just cut the onion in half and stick the piece of cotton in the onion and it absorbs the onion juice, good luck and I hope you never have to repeat the process since I know a child with an earache is horrible for a parent to sooth…


Nancy December 26, 2013 at 3:08 am

Oh sorry I meant to say after it absorbs the juice place it in the ear cavity and secure with another piece of cotton and leave in over night, it has always worked for me…


Anonymous March 24, 2014 at 9:10 pm

My wife and I have 4 children, now ages 18 to 25. Twenty plus years ago she was reading a book about 10 essential herbs and decided to give raw onion juice a try after getting tired of using antibiotics. This treatment worked repeatedly, time and time again. We would lay their head on its’ side and drip several drops of just raw onion juice into their ear, sometimes pulling their ear slightly to open the ear canal for better entry. Then repeat the process if needed for the other ear. What a great home remedy.


Miranda April 11, 2014 at 11:23 am

My grandmother told me about this method after I had went to the doctor and been on antibiotics and ear drops for a week, the pain and swelling just wouldn’t go away. So when she told me this, I was willing to try anything. Cooked it and out a few drops in my ear and by golly the pain went away pretty much instantly! I was amazed! I am about to do it again right now cuz it’s been a couple years since the last time and I wanted to make sure I cooked it long enough. But yes this is amazing!


Anonymous April 25, 2014 at 9:26 am

Hi my ear drum is ruptured
Completely .in that case can i use onion juice in my ear.


monika April 25, 2014 at 9:30 am

I’ can’t hear from my right ear properly. As my ear drum is completely ruptured. It get discharge coz of infection. Plz suggest if i can put raw onion juice in my ear??


Amanda Hearn April 25, 2014 at 5:12 pm

I would not place it in the ear if it has ruptured. I would place it on and around the ear though Good luck, I hope it helps provide healing and relief.


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bill December 13, 2014 at 12:29 am

That would be “nevertheless”, not “never the less.”


Heidi December 26, 2014 at 9:45 am

I have three children , one of which suffered for years with ear infections.
My daughter had 3 sets of tubes. After many many many courses of antibiotics , my friend told me about onion juice. She has never had an infection since and I have used it on myself. It is a Winner. I blend the onion then brain the juice
It really works.


Julie Haro January 6, 2015 at 5:29 am

I Had an earache and used warm olive oil..since then ive not been able to hear from that ear..:( any suggestions ? Please


Gen January 20, 2015 at 5:20 pm

OMG My friend once told me to try and flush existing fluid out of the air with pure rubbing alcohol as it naturally evaporates with air. If that doesn’t work – try the onion you might be inflamed and the onion will help lower that. then sleep on the side until it moves… and when you can afford it – see the not so up on it – physicians.


Gen January 20, 2015 at 5:17 pm

Loved this! my friend’s son was told by her physician he was going to need ear tubes put in because of his chronic earaches. She’s from Europe and couldn’t believe what she heard. She asked her MOM what to do and her Mom told her to cut two yellow onions in half, and rig them to either side of the boys head. he wore them throughout the day – the cure was the oil would drip down into the ear and cleanse it of the infection. The kid looked silly – but never had another problem afterword and his earaches are rare now. She now just juices the raw onion rather than rigging the silliest sock hat you ever saw.

But it works! I just juiced a raw onion (69cents a bag) for my earache. wallah and no prescriptions nor costly doctor visits.


Sunrise Guided Visualizations January 31, 2015 at 8:25 pm

My best friend just used onion juice with great success! All she does is scrape an onion half with a spoon to get juice. Into ear. Relief in 10 minutes.


Rachel February 14, 2015 at 5:42 pm

Wish I had known about this when my kids were younger. Going to try it though if the need ever arises! Thanks for the great tip.


moonD February 19, 2015 at 3:06 pm

Wondering about your netipot incident. I’m at the dr now because I think I made a mistake using it. I’ve used one for years bit I tried the electric one and I feel water in my ear and pain. how did your ear pain go away?


Amanda Hearn February 23, 2015 at 11:38 am

I am so sorry to hear about that. I hope that you have relief by now, or will soon. Mine slowly subsided and I did my best to ignore it (which wasn’t easy). It was very unpleasant. My ears hurt, made crackly noises, and my sense of taste was messed up too.

They can definitely be used safely, as so many people love and swear by them, but I am not one of those people.


Regina Key March 17, 2015 at 11:40 am

My dear Russian friend who always had holistic methods did this for my little one and it worked. She didn’t cook the onion she just cut the onion up, put it into a paper towel and squeezed it into a cup. It prevented the meet from not getting into the juice and then she put it into the dropper and put it into my little ones ear and I never had a problem again. We haven’t had any ear infections again. Now my sister has one and we are going to try it!


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