Over the last years, garlic has become one of the most popular home remedies for almost any health condition imaginable. People use it to control blood pressure, diabetes, and even to relieve inflammation! Garlic’s forte, however, is in fighting microorganisms, so today I will tell you everything you need to know on how to prepare and use garlic oil for an ear infection.
Because let’s face the fact:
Most websites that tell you how to use garlic… Are doing it plain wrong. Moreover, their recipes of preparing garlic oil are useless as well, and I’ll tell you why.
But before we get specific, there’s a couple of things I want you to know.
Garlic for infections: how does it work?
A quick off-topic fact: the substance that’s responsible for the spicy hot flavor of chili peppers is an alkaloid called capsaicin. It is the result of millions of years of evolution, a powerful weapon created to prevent any living creature in its sane mind from eating this crimson fruit. The irony is that capsaicin is the exact reason why we humans love chili so much.
Likewise, garlic has a weapon of its own: allicin. With potent antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and even antiprotozoal properties, this substance ensures any kind of germ will have a really bad time should it try to harm the plant. Additionally, allicin is responsible for garlic’s unique aroma to a great extent.
The trick here is that allicin is a substance so powerful that it could destroy garlic itself if it were to be present in the plant at all times. Instead, garlic creates allicin only when it is damaged, with the help of an enzyme called alliinase which transforms alliin (an amino acid) into allicin.
And that’s when the annihilation begins.
Allicin can kill cancer cells and inhibit the proliferation of any survivors.
Allicin is effective against an absurdly wide range of bacteria including E. coli, S. aureus, Str. pyogenes, Proteus, Pseudomonas, Acetobacter, Klebsiella, Enterococcus, H. pylori, Salmonella, Clostridium, and Shigella, and many others more (including methicillin-resistant superbugs).
Allicin has powerful antifungal properties both when used alone and as a support for conventional medications. No antibiotic can brag about such a feat.
Contrary to conventional antibiotics, allicin can even fight protozoa, such as Leishmania and Entamoeba. Again, no antibiotic does that.
Although not as powerful as its antibacterial and antifungal properties, virucidal effects of allicin against some viruses (Herpes simplex virus, Human parainfluenza virus, Human rhinovirus, and others) were also confirmed throughout many scientific studies.
In other words, garlic can help you kill almost any kind of microorganism that could be causing your ear infection. Sound great, right? But here goes the bad news: allicin is a quite unstable substance.
In a sense, that’s for garlic’s best, because if allicin was stable, it would easily destroy the plant after a minor injury to the bulb. Instead, garlic has come up with a clever solution over the past millennia: when it is damaged, it quickly transforms one of its safe amino acids into a powerful weapon, gets rid of the threat, and then makes sure that the weapon itself is destroyed to prevent any self-harm.
And this is exactly why most websites have the wrong recipe for making garlic oil. Not that it won’t be tasty, but its antibacterial properties would be questionable at the very least.
Here’s the only garlic oil recipe for ear infections you’ll ever need.
The best recipe to make garlic oil for an ear infection
- 1 large clove of garlic
- 2 tablespoons of olive or sesame oil
- Pick a clove of garlic and “damage” it as much as you can (remember that allicin is created only in response to any kind of damage to the garlic’s tissues). Chop it, mince it, crush it!
- In a clean saucepan, mix the garlic and the olive or sesame oil and start warming them on the lowest heat available.
- Your goal is NOT to cook the garlic, but to warm the oil up to around 35o C (95o F). This is the optimal temperature for the conversion of alliin to allicin, according to this study. A temperature of 40o C (104o F) and up speeds up the decomposition of allicin to volatile components.
- Strain the mixture and put it into a clean dropper.
- Lie on your side and put 2-3 drops of your garlic oil into the affected ear.
- 5 minutes later, lie on your other side to let any residual oil flow out of the ear.
- Repeat this procedure 2-3 times per day until symptoms subside.
Bonus tips: how to make sure your garlic oil will work
- Try not to warm the olive or sesame oil over the 35o C (95o F) mark when preparing your remedy. If you don’t have a cooking thermometer, you can just use the good old tactile approach: if the oil feels slightly warm on contact but quickly starts feeling “neutral” in a matter of seconds, you’re close to the needed temperature.
- Use only freshly prepared garlic oil for treatment of infections. Allicin is extremely unstable in vegetable oil, with an activity half-life of 0.8 hours, according to scientific studies.
- Young garlic has a higher allicin content than aged garlic, so look for the first whenever possible.
The bottom line
Garlic oil is a fabulous remedy for treating ear infections at home, but there are quite a few things to remember when making it. For example, you should take into account that allicin, the compound responsible for garlic’s antimicrobial and antifungal properties, is a very unstable substance that quickly breaks down when heated over the 35o C (95o F) mark. Its activity half-life is around 0.8 hours (48 minutes) in vegetable oil, so make sure to make a fresh portion of it twice a day if you want to treat your ear infection effectively.
If you don’t want to bother about all that mincing and chopping twice a day, the best alternative is going with colloidal silver instead. This extremely beneficial natural remedy has all the fabulous properties of garlic (antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral), but it is endlessly more stable and absolutely odorless (not all people like the aroma of garlic, after all). To learn more about the health benefits of colloidal silver, check out my other article dedicated to this matter.