Is Using Tea Tree Oil For Ear Infections Effective?

Updated on January 20th, 2020
women with ear infection

The five senses including hearing make the basics of human perception and understanding of every pure and complex concept. With hearing being so important, any pain or infection in the ear is an alarming issue which needs your immediate focus. It is especially tough when an infant who cannot express his pain is suffering from an ear infection. Treatment is crucial!

Many healthcare experts nowadays promote the usage of tea tree oil for combating ear infections. But the daunting question is, “is using tea tree oil safe?” “Is it the best treatment?” “Does it have any dangerous side effects?” Let’s find out.

Causes for ear infections

Ear infections(1) are inevitable; they are usually due to one reason which you couldn’t have prevented in the first place. The Eustachian tube is blocked by mucus or swelling or due to an allergy in the upper respiratory system causes fluids to fill up in the middle ear. The eustachian tube connects the space between the eardrum and the back of your nose. A bacterial or viral infection affects the fluid, and this causes pain and infections.

[Read: Remove Fluid from the Ear Naturally]

The fluid build-up puts pressure on the eardrum which again causes ear pain.

Signs and Symptoms of Ear infections

      • Vomiting
      • Diarrhoea
      • A feeling of fullness in the ear
      • A terrible earache
      • Infants usually are inconsolable and irritated

What is tea tree oil?

Tea tree oil is extracted from Melaleuca alternifolia, which is native to Queensland and New South Wales, Australia. Been used for ages now, the colourless or pale-yellow oil extracted from the tea leaves is applied directly for healing cold and cough and other skin issues. And the reason it is used to treat infections is that it contains terpinene-4-ol, which kills bacteria, fungi and viruses. Terpinen-4-ol also increases the number of white blood cells in your system, which in turn helps fight fungal infections and skin conditions. That is why, it is perfect for treating ear infections.

Tea tree oil is generally used in its ‘proper’ raw form, or it is also available in the diluted liquid.

Tea tree Oil Uses

Tea tree oil for ear

As already mentioned, tea tree(2) oil fights bacteria, fungus and virus.

It is also used in natural hand sanitisers to kill several bacteria and viruses, including E. coli, S. pneumonia and H. influenza.

It is also useful as a cleaner, it sanitises the surface and doesn’t leave behind chemical ridden stains.

With minor cuts and the fear of bacteria entering your bloodstream through them, tea tree oil is a perfect antiseptic. You can wash the wound and apply tea tree oil with a combination of coconut oil to the wound and cover it with a bandage. It also increases the activity of white blood cells, reduces inflammation and boosts healing.

Being part of many commercial insect repellents, tea tree oil is effective in keeping insects and flies away.

Tea tree oil is a natural deodorant. The body odour is produced due to a combination of sweat and bacteria, with tea tree oil fighting bacteria, it is a perfect natural deodorant to fight body odour due to perspiration.

It is beneficial to treat nail fungus which although isn’t fatal but deadly to look at. Almost 60 per cent claim that they were completely cured after applying the oil to the affected area.

Instead of your regular dose of chemical mouthwash, tea tree oil is a great alternative to stop plaque build-up, fights germs that cause tooth decay and bad breath acting as a natural mouth wash.

It helps to get rid of acne and treat symptoms of dermatitis like itching and irritation; and also helps relief from bug bites.

A controlled study suggests that tea tree oil is also excellent in controlling dandruff.

Why use tea tree oil for combating ear infections?

Tea tree oil has been used as an alternative and all natural treatment for ear infections over ages. Tea tree oil combats the bacteria and virus causing the infection in the first place, fighting the root of the problem directly. It also has anti-inflammatory properties which reduce swelling and irritation that the infection causes. Tea tree oil is a natural remedy which is refreshing unlike the usual chemical storehouses that we introduce our bodies to. With its great benefits, it is a perfect choice.

How to use tea tree oil for ear infection treatment?

Tea tree oil for ear infection
Image: Shutterstock

Tea tree oil is best when used in its diluted form. Otherwise, it may cause discomfort in the affected area with swelling. You should use it in combination with a carrier oil as you may be extra sensitive. Almond oil or coconut oil act as great carrier oils which can also help in diluting the oil. The tea tree oil can be used by preparing it at home with easy combination solutions that I have for you.

After diluting tea tree oil, take a dripper and take a drop or two and add it to your infected ear. Tilt your head for a minute, or so to make sure the liquid reaches the ear canal. Then before bringing your head back to its upright position, pug in your ear opening with a ball of cotton to avoid dripping of extra oil. Use the oil two times a day for at least three days until you experience relief.


If the ear pain is persistent for forty-eight hours or more, you should consult a doctor. Also, make sure to check your personal medical history and recheck the fact to make sure if this is the right treatment for you or your child.

[ Read: Home Remedies for Clogged Ear ]

How to Prepare and Use it yourself

Mix one spoon of tea tree oil with two spoons of olive oil. Mix it well. Then take a dripper or a syringe and put two or three drops of the prepared oil into your ear. Do this while tilting your head so that the oil can reach the infected area. Let it stay in for a while to avoid the oil from rushing back up. After a minute or two, cover your ear with a ball of cotton to avoid leakage of extra oil.

Repeat this process two times a day for three days continuously that is until the pain disappears. In case the pain resurfaces, you can repeat the same process.

Dos and Don’ts

Do consult with a healthcare expert before using the oil.

Always dilute the oil and do visit a healthcare expert if the pain doesn’t subside.

Do not consume it without a consultation from a healthcare expert.

Side effects of using tea tree oil

People with acne complain of red, itchy and dry skin on applying tea tree oil

Get medical attention if you have an allergic reaction to it like difficulty in breathing, swelling of throat, face or lips.

Skin irritation is also a common side effect.

Other natural remedies for ear infections

1. Garlic

Garlic for ear infection

Garlic is a natural anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. One tablespoon of minced garlic mixed with two tablespoons of tea tree oil mixed in a glass dish and left for two-three hours to let the natural properties of garlic whole mix in organic extra virgin olive oil.

The warmth of the oil will melt away any wax build up. And do not worry if wax overflows or you hear the sound of bubbling. The oil is working its magic.

2. Colloidal silver

Colloidal silver(3) is made up of minute silver particles dissolved in water. They cut off oxygen and act antibacterial. They kill the bacteria and stops it from spreading. It is best to use it on both ears to avoid the infection from spreading.

Take a few drops and put it in your ear while tilting your head. Let it seep in for a minute or two and avoid dripping of extra. Apply it two times a day for three days.

Hydrogen peroxide is also a great alternative. Use it the same way you would use colloidal silver.

3. Chiropractic

Chiropractic treatment for ear infections

Some issues come from more profound problems. A chiropractor has the same theory for ear infections. Opening you to the world of natural healthcare, chiropractors see the body alignment issue that may be the root of your ear problem. The Chiropractic Adjustments restores our normal body functions like healing by reducing the stress of the nervous system.

Our bodies can fix their problems. Let it be PMS, constipation or real back pain. With you chiropractor’s health, you are looking at a holistic health program.

[Read: How to Cure Airplane Ears]

4. Lavender oil

Rubbing lavender oil behind the ear and around the neck helps greatly in pain relief. Instead of the regular antibiotics, you can use this natural alternative to reduce the pain. Lavender oil can be used along with tea tree oil, Garlic or Hydrogen Peroxide. If this doesn’t help, best to get the ear checked out by a healthcare expert.

Natural remedies like Tea tree oil offer significant benefits in controlling the symptoms and pain caused by the ailment. But expert guidance should be sought to determine the exact quantity and method to be adopted while using tea tree oil for treating ear infections. Leading a healthy lifestyle with an active routine will keep you away from most ailments by boosting your immune system.

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