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Homeopathy For Earaches - A Parent's Friend

by Jennifer Jacobs, MD


Homeopathic remedies can be highly effective for earaches in children. As a retired family practice physician and medical researcher, let me share a few examples.

I had turned off my alarm and was luxuriating for a few extra minutes in bed when my phone rang. It was my granddaughter Kat.

“I've been up all night with Matias,” she said. “He's been crying nonstop and nothing seems to make him happy. He points to something like he wants it, but when I give it to him he throws it on the floor. The only thing that helps is if I carry him back and forth across the room.” She went on to tell me that he had a temperature of 100.5 degrees and was rubbing his right ear.

“It sounds like an ear infection,” I told her. “You need to take him in to have someone look at his ears. But in the meantime, give him a dose of Chamomilla out of that homeopathic kit I sent you.”

She called back a few hours later. Matias had calmed down considerably by the time he got to the pediatrician who indeed diagnosed otitis media, the medical term for earache. Since the fever was down and Matias was doing so much better, the doctor opted for the “watch and wait” approach. This method, approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics, encourages doctors to hold off on antibiotics for the first 24 to 48 hours after the diagnosis to see if the child improves on his or her own.

I have done research on otitis media and found that homeopathic medicines can decrease ear pain and prevent the need for antibiotics. In Matias's case, he fit the symptom pattern of Chamomilla perfectly, namely, nothing pleased him and he was better while being carried. Other symptoms of children needing this medicine include extreme irritability, worse in the evening, one cheek red and the other pale, and a thirst for cold drinks. (In fact, children with teething problems also can be helped by Chamomilla, but only if they fit this symptom pattern.)

Since homeopathic treatment is individualized, I know that another child with the same diagnosis might need a different medicine. The idea with homeopathy is to match the symptoms of the patient with those known to be associated with a particular medicine. Based on the idea of “like cures like,” substances that are known to cause the symptoms of an illness are made into highly diluted nontoxic medicines. When given in these highly dilute doses to people with the matching symptoms, they initiate a healing response. In my more than 40 years of practice, I have seen many beneficial results using this approach.

The most common homeopathic medicine for ear infections is Pulsatilla. The child who needs this remedy is weepy, clingy, and wants attention and to be held. She often has a thick, yellow-green nasal discharge, refuses to drink, and seems to feel better in the fresh air. I remember what one of my early teachers said about these two medicines—with Pulsatilla you want to hold and comfort the poor child while with Chamomilla you want to wring his or her neck. (You may also use Pulsatilla for colds, fevers, and other minor childhood illnesses if the symptoms match.)

Another medicine for ear infections, Belladonna, is needed when the earache comes on suddenly with great intensity and the child has a high fever and a red, flushed face.

Some children with frequent ear infections fit the pattern of Calcarea carbonica—stubborn and fearful at night with sweating on the head and the back of the neck and enlarged lymph nodes.

Other children may need the medicine Sulphur if they are hot, sweaty, restless, thirsty for cold drinks, worse in the early morning hours, and have redness of the outer ear.

In my initial otitis media research, my colleagues and I found that more than 80 percent of children needed one of the five individualized medicines mentioned above. If you like detective work, you can try to match your child's symptoms to one of these and buy it at your local pharmacy, grocery, or health food store. Or, you could order a homeopathic kit that contains instructions for how to use these and several other medicines for acute illnesses.

In a follow-up research study, we looked at the use of homeopathic ear drops that contained a combination of the five medicines mentioned above (Hyland's Earache Drops). Children whose doctors took the “watch and wait” approach and were treated with these drops had a significant decrease in pain and in the number of antibiotic prescriptions filled. Homeopathic combination medicines are available over-the-counter for many common health problems. They have the advantage of being easy to use but can be ineffective if the medicine that best matches a person's symptoms is not included in the formulation.

Matias recovered quickly from his ear infection after two more doses of Chamomilla. He did not need to take antibiotics. His mother was thankful that she had Chamomilla on hand to treat him immediately. Otitis media is the most common illness for which children receive antibiotics. Using homeopathy to treat children with this illness not only can help them individually. It also can help to reduce the worldwide problem of antibiotic overuse that leads to bacterial resistance and so-called superbugs, disease-causing bacteria that do not respond to antibiotics.

While a properly chosen homeopathic remedy often resolves a child’s earache, if your child’s symptoms worsen or do not improve within 24 hours, you should visit a trained medical practitioner for evaluation and possible treatment.

Homeopathy is indeed a parent's friend for addressing ear infections and other simple childhood ailments. Learning to match your child’s symptoms to various homeopathic medicines can reduce your child’s suffering and resolve many conditions before they reach a point that requires medical attention.

Jennifer Jacobs, MD, is a retired family practice physician and medical researcher living in Tucson, Arizona. She is the co-author of “Healing with Homeopathy: The Complete Guide” and the author of “Do You Really Need that Pill?”

To find a homeopath near you, visit:

www.homeopathyconsumercouncil.com/find-a-homeopath


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