Pain in the ear is a very uncomfortable symptom, which may be due to the local causes in the ear or may relate to external causes. The earache may increase on lying down due to increased blood supply to the ear in recumbent position. The general causes of earache are as follows:
(1) Exposure to extreme cold weather.
(2) Exposure to pressure changes during diving or swimming and air travel.
(3) Picking or probing the ear canal.
(4) Improper instrumentation during the examination or treatment of ear.
(5) Exposure to very high-pitched sounds.
(6) Injury to the head especially the temporal bone.
(7) Entry of water into auditory canal during bathing.
(8) Local bacterial or fungal infection such as furuncles and otomycosis.
(9) Impacted wax.
(10) Referred pain due to carious tooth, impacted molar, ulcerative lesions in the oral cavity and tongue, osteoarthritis of temporomandibular joint, tonsillitis, etc.
The earache can also be functional, which needs to be carefully observed. Management of earache requires proper evaluation and treatment before complications develop. Ayurveda prescribes instillation of medicated oil and juice of certain medicinal plants in the affected ear. One of the simple formulations for earache used in traditional medicine is mustard oil prepared with garlic.
Preparation of mustard oil with garlic
(1) Take about 20 ml (4 teaspoonsful) of mustard oil in a vessel and add 5-6 pieces of peeled and slightly crushed fresh garlic cloves.
(2) Put the mixture on a slow fire for about 5 -10 minutes till garlic becomes brown and stop further heating.
(3) Filter the mixture through cotton cloth to obtain clear oil and keep it in a clean glass bottle.
Dose and mode of administration
(1) Instill medicated oil ( Lukewarm ) in the affected ear drop by drop by tilting the head to opposite side and retain it for about 30 minutes by plugging the ear with cotton swab.
(2) Repeat the process for other ear if affected.
(3) Instillation of oil in the ears can be done twice daily for 2-3 days.
Precaution and safety aspects
(1) Local application of Lashuna oil is traditionally considered to be safe, but application on inflammatory lesions may produce burning sensation or slight irritation.
(2) While using the oil, it should neither be too hot nor too cold.
(3) The oil instillation should be avoided if there is ear discharge.
(4) If there is no relief within three days, seek medical advice.
Reference – Traditional Herbal Remedies for Primary Health Care