Ear Infections (Middle Ear)
Studied Homeopathic Remedies
- Aconitum napellus
- Ferrum phosphoricum
Acute otitis media (AOM) is a painful infection of the middle ear, the portion of the ear behind the eardrum. (Another form of ear infection, otitis externa or swimmer's ear, is entirely different and is not covered here.) AOM often follows a cold, sore throat, or other respiratory illness. Although it can affect adults, AOM occurs primarily in infants and young children. It's estimated that by age 7, up to 95% of all U.S. children will have experienced at least one bout of AOM—it's the most common reason parents take a child to the doctor.
When the Eustachian tube connecting the upper part of the throat to the middle ear is blocked by a cold's mucus and swelling, fluids pool behind the eardrum, providing an ideal place for bacteria to grow. An infection may set in, generating even more fluid. The pressure this exerts on the eardrum can be intensely painful. The eardrum turns red and bulges. Children too young to explain their discomfort cry, fuss, and pull at their ears. They might also appear unresponsive because they can't hear well—fluid build-up in the middle ear prevents the eardrum and small bones in the ear from moving, causing temporary hearing loss.
Most hearing loss associated with AOM ends when the infection is treated. However, recurring ear infections and their accompanying short-term hearing losses may affect a child's speech and language development. In addition, even after the infection goes away, fluid may remain, causing a complication called secretory otitis media (fluid build-up in the middle ear), which can cause continuous hearing loss for months. Other possible, though rare, complications of AOM include mastoiditis (an infection of the bone behind the ear) and spinal meningitis.
Scientific Evaluations of Homeopathic Remedies for Middle Ear Infections
A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial]]> of 38 children and young adolescents evaluated the effectiveness of Pulsatilla D2 in the treatment of otitis media. ]]>1]]> However, the tested remedy failed to prove more effective than placebo.
Two studies compared homeopathic treatment to standard treatment for ear infections. ]]>2,3]]> However, these studies were not double-blind, and for that reason alone the results mean little. In addition, there is some controversy regarding whether standard treatment is very much more effective than no treatment. ]]>4–8]]> Therefore, even if they had been performed correctly, these studies wouldn’t have provided much in the way of information.
Traditional Homeopathic Treatments for Middle Ear Infections
In classical homeopathy]]> , there are many possible homeopathic treatments for middle ear infections, to be chosen based on various specific details of the person seeking treatment.
Homeopathic Belladonna is commonly recommended for ear infections that fit the following ]]>symptom picture]]> : ear pain that varies rapidly in severity but is generally worse on the right, and is accompanied by fever, facial flushing, nightmares, and sensitivity to light.
Aconitum napellus is another commonly prescribed remedy for ear infections. Its symptom picture includes ear pain that begins suddenly, often after exposure to wind and cold, and then remains at a constant level of intensity, and is accompanied by high fever, agitation, and restlessness.
Ferrum phosphoricum is sometimes used when an ear infection has just begun, and the symptoms are not yet severe.
4. Rothrock SG, Harper MB, Green SM, et al. Do oral antibiotics prevent meningitis and serious bacterial infections in children with Streptococcus pneumoniae occult bacteremia? A meta-analysis. Pediatrics . 1997;99:438–444.
5. Damoiseaux RA, van Balen FA, Hoes AW, et al. Primary care based randomized, double blind trial of amoxicillin versus placebo for acute otitis media in children aged under 2 years. BMJ . 2000;320:350–354.
6. Rosenfeld RM, Vertrees JE, Carr J, et al. Clinical efficacy of antimicrobial drugs for acute otitis media: metaanalysis of 5400 children from thirty-three randomized trials. J Pediatr . 1994;124:355–367.
Last reviewed April 2009 by EBSCO CAM Review Board]]>
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © 2007 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.