How to use onions for earaches & infections!

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Earaches are downright miserable. I have been very blessed to have children who rarely got earaches.  I remember our first one, when our middle child 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? 

Amanda Hearn
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88 Comments

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

  • 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!

  • 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 🙂

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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!

    • 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.

  • 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!

    • 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 🙂

      • Over the weekend we had earache and my neighbor told me to steam the onion in a bit of olive oil (in a small saucepan with lid on). I cover the onion with a thin cloth and placed it on her ear. Within SECONDS of the onion being on her ear, she was asleep. Prior to the onion she was screaming, crying, frantic with pain. It was CRAZY how fast it brought relief. She was fine the next day but the following night was up again with pain. I dropped some juice in her ear and she was instantly asleep. The following morning she called it “magic onion trick.”

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

    • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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…

  • 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.

    • 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.

      • My son is 10 months and has been battling ear infections ..antibiotics don’t work soooo..I’m going to try this bc I don’t want tubes !!! Thanks for advice . How long do I use drops?

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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??

    • 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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  • 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.

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

    • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

    • 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.

  • 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!

  • Was going absolutely nuts after trying reflexology on my three year old for his earache, cause it was way too early for some paracetamol to. Cried for two hours plus. Decided to do a search online and came up with the onion juice. AMAZING!! Fast asleep after twenty minutes

  • My 12 month old has had 5 ear infections already and so the doctor said we probably need to give him tubes. He started crying again last night and I tried what you suggested above. I have to say, today was strange for us! He wasn’t clingy, he was HAPPY! My question is…. Can I do this every night he has a cold? Where does the onion juice go?

    I wasn’t a believer because I tried putting onions on my older son in the past and it didn’t seem to work, however, the juice seemed to make all the difference.

    Thank you!

    • It should just be absorbing, since it’s just the liquid, but if you are concerned (or unsure in any way) you can apply it to the outside of the ear and behind it.

      I’m so happy that it gave him relief ❤️

  • To juice the onion I grate the onion and sqeeze it.

    For colds and coughs I use the juice of a medium sized onion, 1 tsp of honey and a pinch of pepper powder. Mix and give 2 tsps of the mixture to both my children. Works great as a preventive (twice a week before bedtime) and curative (3 times a day followed by a small cup of warm water.

    Hope this helps anybody reading your post.

  • I have used garlic infused olive oil in the past for my child,without immediate results, but today, the same child woke up with her 2nd ear infection, and I used a garlic press to squeeze onion juice out, using a mesh strainer to catch onion bits, and then dropped 3 drops in her ear and within 30 seconds she said she felt immediate relief. I admit I also used ibuprofen, but the onion juice was immediate. Ibuprofen takes 20-30 minutes. She’s singing “Shake it off!” at the top of her lungs in bed right now. Lol

  • Omg thank you so much!!!! I recently had what might of been strep throat and the infection traveled to my ears a few days ago… It was getting progressively worse and I’m planning on flying from LA to Thailand in about 8 days. I was so worried that I would either miss my trip or burst my eardrums on the flight… 30 minutes after reading this post I am certain they are on their way to recovery! Thank you again!!

  • I tried this and it was amazing! My son had swimmer’s ear and I had tried the alcohol and I was doing massage with essential oils around his ear. In order yay!for him to sleep for two nights we had to use Tylenol– normally I shy away from pain relievers. My five year old son fell asleep on my lap with the onion juice in his ear! I drained it out, took him to bed and I was waiting for him to wake up crying in pain but he slept like a baby all night long and said he was fine in the morning. No doctor visit needed!

  • I’m so glad I found this! I have a severe earache at the moment that’s so bad my eyes are watering from the pain, my lymph nodes are swollen and sore and my whole body aches. For some reason, since I have fibromyalgia, illnesses always hit me super hard. I’m so going to try this! I just read that urine heals ear infections too, but I’d rather try the onion first. Lol

  • We do use onion juice for years on our children we use a cheese grater and then squeeze it through a piece of nylon material into a warm spoon 8 or 10 drops in the ear works wonders.

  • I would be careful of putting ANYTHING in the ear if your child has ear tubes( without asking your Dr.) as this is an open hole . My grandma often used warm oil in our ears.

  • It’s easier and not as wasteful to cut some small pieces of onion and put them in a garlic press. This will squeeze the juice out. I squeeze the juice into a tablespoon then just heat the juice with a flame, such as a lighter or stove top. Check often cuz you don’t want the liquid to get to hot. You can just pour a little into your kids ear from the spoon or get a dropper. You don’t want the “stuff” just the juice. And when you put it in the ear it was suggested to me to put it in the outside ear first and allow the juice to become body temp then move the juice into the inner ear. Rubbing behind the lobe will help this.

  • This works 100%! I thought oh come on now an onion? seriously? but I got the onion, put it in its own little bowl and put it in the oven. Took the juice let it cool a little and used a dropper to insert into my ear – pain free!!! I cannot get over it – and I am so glad i got to trial this first because now in the future I will be able to use it on my boys with Autism knowing it will help them.
    thank you!

  • I have a earache right now…oww☹️I’m not at home but I will definitely tell my mom to do this I hope it will work I’m in so much pain right now ☹️

  • I’m crying I have a earache right now ?☹️??????????. IT HURTS SO BAD I REALLY HOPE THIS WORKS

    I HAVE A QUESTION PLEASE ANSWER BY 11:00am :

    How do you know when your ear drum eruptured

  • I’m a firm believer that God provides all we need with all that He has created, so after trying to avoid another dr appointment just to be put on another antibiotic with who knows what kind of chemicals in it, I just tried this on my 1 yr old son. He never complains of earaches or has symptoms, but has just gotten over one and has been running fever 101-102.6 off and on for a week so decided to try it. I’m hesitate to try again because I squirted too fast, he started gagging and wasn’t able to breathe. It scared me!! It probably was a shorter time than it felt but it felt like maybe 30 seconds (which seemed like forever) before he was able to cough/breathe. I have prayed that this works and he never has another ear infection ever! Thank you for this tip!

  • im currently dealing with the worst ear infection i’ve ever had. after 24 hrs on antibiotic & ear drops….its WORSE not better. i remembered someone telling me about the onion thing a long time ago. the pain is crazy awful so i googled to see what i could find about the onion thing. 10 minutes ago i cut an onion in half, put it in the microwave for about 30 seconds (onion was pretty hot!) then i wrapped it in a paper towel and im holding it to my ear…. 15 min later….it finally feels a little better!

  • OMG. My son has had awful ear infections from birth. He is now four years old, and we just a few months ago found out about the onion trick. It has been amazing, and works quickly when nothing else has. MY FAV EAR INFECTION FIGHTER FOR SURE.

  • This works 100% . What I do is finely chop a red onion and place it in the center of a coffee filter so that the liquid penetrates while holding the chopped onion in. Then I tie that little sack to the ear with a bandana overnight. In the morning no trace of an infection.works so good that I question something being up.. like are you sure it doesn’t hurt anymore 🙂

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