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We'll now look at another common and painful condition, earache. What causes it, and what can you do to prevent or ease an attack?

Looking at the illustration, we can see that the outer ear-canal extends from the outside of the head along the auditory canal to the eardrum. Behind the eardrum there is a confined space (the middle ear) which is connected by a small tube - the Eustachian tube - to the back of the throat.

In children complaining of earache, there is usually congestion in the throat area. Congestion can be due to a swelling of the lining of the throat, the tonsils or the adenoid lymph glands. Often this congestion in the throat area blocks the opening of the Eustachian tube.

This congestion will result in an imbalance of air pressure between the middle ear and the external air pressure. The lining of the middle ear draws out the air in the middle ear and creates a vacuum. The external air pressure becomes greater than the pressure in the middle ear, and this pushes the eardrum inwards. The eardrum will become stretched, which can cause earache, sometimes accompanied by a reduced or muffled sense of hearing. A doctor looking into that ear will see that the eardrum is pushed inward. If this situation persists, fluid tends to build up in the middle ear. This is what we call glue ear.

When swallowing, we can hear the ears making a clicking sound because the throat muscles open up the Eustachian tube in the throat (see red arrows). This opens the passage for air to flow via the back of the throat into the vacuum of the middle ear, popping back the eardrum (this popping is often noticed at high altitude, for example in an aeroplane or in a car in the mountains).

Children who are prone to ear problems often breath through their mouth. This could be because the adenoid is blocking the nasal air passage. Try giving Conchae 5% Comp. 1 tablet at night, and Apatite D6 Comp. 1 tablet in the morning, for a period of 3 months to settle this lymphoid tendency in children. As you can see, the problem of earache in children is often not caused by the ear itself, but by congestion in the throat area!

An onion compress may relieve earache. Chop up an onion, put this in a flannel, and hold it against the aching ear. Do not bring the onion into direct contact with the skin, because this can raise blisters. As a remedy for earache in children I use a combination of Apis and Levisticum in low potency, D2 and D3 respectively, 5 pillules three times daily. This can help to resolve the inflammation process. Antibiotics are no longer indicated as a first-line treatment.

Steam inhalation

Inhaling steam can help reduce congestion in the nose and throat area. Steam inhalations not only cause rosy cheeks, but also heat up the inside of the throat and nose. Blood flow will be stimulated in these areas, which helps to deal with the congestion. This can unblock the Eustachian tube and alleviate the pressure imbalance in the middle ear. Camomile flowers can also help to settle the symptoms of blocked ears, a blocked nose, or sinusitis-like symptoms. Do not use too many flowers - ten is enough in one litre of water. Pour boiling water into a basin over the camomile flowers. Use a large towel to cover your head, shoulders and the basin so that it is completely encased. Because of the hot steam, you have to start off further away, but as the water cools down you can lower your face towards the surface of the water so that you can benefit from the heat. Inhale for ten minutes. Have a tissue ready because you will notice that your nose will become runny. After that, cover your face (leaving the eyes free) with the towel, and wrap the towel around your head to keep your face warm for another ten minutes. All in all, this will take you about thirty minutes. It is not recommended for small children, who might spill the hot water. Do not go out into cold weather after steaming, otherwise you could end up with sinusitis! Steaming is best done before going to bed. People with asthmatic tendencies should be careful, as this treatment could provoke an asthma attack.

Another cause of earache in adults is wax build-up. This is often the result of using cotton buds to clean the ear canal. Stop doing this! For ache-free ears, just stop cleaning with cotton buds. You'll soon notice the difference.

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Table of Contents

  1. Introduction

  2. How potentized remedies work

  3. Breathing and circulation

  4. Asthma symptoms explained

  5. The digestive system

  6. The nervous system  

  7. How alcohol affects the nervous system and liver

  8. How opiates act like a dam

  9. Inflammation and infection

  10. Fever

  11. The common cold

  12. Earache

  13. Hints and tips