Treating Middle Ear Infections with Modern Science and Old World Wisdom

One of the main causes of otitis media or ear infections is a malfunctioning of the Eustachian tube.

 

According to Kidshealth.org, the eustachian tube contributes to ear infections because it functions as a passageway for allowing mucus to drain from the middle ear to the throat. When this function does not happen, the Eustachian tube can become blocked by mucous (from allergies or the common cold) in its lining . When the fluid builds up (instead of air) within the middle ear , viruses and bacteria can get trapped inside. Once trapped, they begin to multiply, which results in an ear infection.

 

Symptoms

Symptoms of a middle ear infection can include loss of hearing, fever, vomiting, dizziness, ear pain, and loss of appetite to name a few.

 

Conventional treatment

Generally, conservative doctors like Dr. Randy Naidoo, an integrative medical doctor located in Garland, Texas, might suggest that parents “wait and see” as a precautionary method to prevent over prescribing antibiotics.  An overuse of antibiotics will disrupt the healthy gut flora and can ultimately, lead to the over growth of antibiotic resistance bacteria.  In 4 out of 5 children, the middle ear infection will clear on its own and in 1 out of 5 children, treatment will be needed to clear the infection.

 

If the infection clears up on its own, you’re good to go and will not need further treatment; however, if it doesn’t clear up, you have the following two options for treatment:  The Western Medicine Method-Antibiotics and/or the  Ayurvedic Method-Garlic Ear Drops.

 

Antibiotics

After a confirmed diagnosis by your child’s pediatrician, you will more than likely leave with a prescription for amoxicillin, which is very effective at treating bacterial based ear infections.  Note, antibiotics will NOT clear up an ear infection caused by a virus.  The treatment usually lasts for a duration of 7 to 10 days; however,  the symptoms will disappear in  about 48 hours according to Webmd.com.   The side effects are minimal and could include diarreah.  After your child has completed the course, I strongly recommend a good probiotic, such as Jarrows, to replace the good bacteria in the gut, which was destroyed with the antibiotics treatment.

 

Ayurvedic Treatment

However, if you are feeling more adventurous and open to more natural treatments, I highly encourage you to try garlic ear drops, which is an Ayurvedic treatment that has been used for generations in India.

 

Lubricating the Eustachian tubes will do both, prevent and clear up a middle ear infection. According to John Douillard, an Ayurvedic doctor who wrote the book, “Perfect Health for Kids,” lubricating the Eustachian tubes is one of the best remedies for dry sinuses and dry or congested cervical lymphatic drainage. Dr. Douillard goes on to say that if the cervical lymphatic system dries out, the ears will lose their ability to drain properly, which leads to a sore throat, irritated mucous membranes, excess mucus and ultimately, an ear infection. Dr. Douillard suggests a few drops of garlic oil in each ear a few times a week during flu/cold season to prevent an infection. This treatment also prevents your child from getting the common cold or flu and if they do get it, it us usually very mild. You can find garlic ear drops at your local health food store or at an online store.  There are no side effects to using this treatment.  I have been successfully using garlic ear drops for the last four years-which you can read more about here.

 

References:

(n.d.). Middle Ear Infections. Kidshealth.org. Retrieved on January 21, 2013 from http://kidshealth.org/parent/infections/ear/otitis_media.html#

 

Douillard, Dr. John. (2004). Perfect Health for Kids: 10 Ayurvedic Health Secrets Every Parent Must Know. Ear Oil (pp. 242-244). Berkley, California. North Atlantic Books.

 

Say No to Antibiotics and Yes Garlic Ear Drops for Middle Ear Infections

Middle ear infections are quite common and can range from being a slight annoyance to a major problem that could result in a child getting tubes placed in his ear.  Since I have 3 children, I am more than familiar with the fevers and sleepless nights caused by horrible ear pain.  And like many moms, my initial thoughts around treatment were to consult a physician and give my children the routinely prescribed antibiotics.  Now of course, as a new mother, I played it safe and did just that-happily administered the antibiotics until one day I learned about a treatment that made me look at ear infections totally different. I was not afraid of them anymore.

 

Ayurvedic Medicine in a Modern World

 

I attended the Instititute for Integrative Nutrition, which is a nutrition school in New York, and every weekend we would here lectures from some of the most amazing nutritionists and medical doctors in the world.   I was pretty familiar with most of them, but there was one that stood out from the rest in that he was speaking about medicinal healing from India, which really intrigued me. His name was Dr. John Douillard and he had written the book,  “Perfect Health for Kids: 10 Ayurvedic Health Secrets Every Parent Must Know.”  John talked about different healing remedies, but the one that caught my ear was on middle ear infections.  John stated that treating middle ear infections was as simple as dropping a few garlic oil drops in a child’s ear and voila-they were healed.  Like, how wild and cool is that-Garlic ear drops in the ear?  Anyway, I filed it away and said that one day I would give it a try. Umm…..Yeah…sure!  I thought as I shook off that crazy idea and prepared for the next lecture.

 

Dooms Day Arrives

 

About two months later, my then, one year old gets and infection, which was so bad that we had to give him a shot of antibiotics.  Furthermore, to add insult to injury, he got another ear infection two weeks later and it was just as bad.  At 3:00 in the morning the doctor gave us an order to got the nearest 24 hour pharmacy to start  administering the antibiotics immediately.  But this time, I said no (as my mother gave me a scared side-eyed look).  It was during this critical time that I had a moment of clarity (or insanity according to my mother) and decided to try the garlic ear drops that I previously purchased for the first ear infection but was too afraid to try.

 

The Big Garlic Ear Drop Experiment

 

I took my toddler home and put a few drops of garlic oil in his ear and prayed real hard that I had not just permanently harmed my child.  I gave him fever/pain reducing medicine and put him to bed.  That morning when I awakened, I thought that I would find an extremely feverish boy with bright red ears, but instead, I found a baby that was sleeping peacefully and fever free.   Wow, the garlic ear drops really did work so needless to say, I have been using them ever since.   I must thank John Douillard if I should every have the pleasure of sitting in on one of his lectures again,b ut more importantly, the next time your child starts tugging at her ears, you just might want to go for the garlic ear drops first and marvel at how amazing this little herb is at fighting bacterial and viral ear infections.

 

Vitamin D and Chlorella: A Powerful Duo to Fight Influenza and the Common Cold

Over the holiday break, I couldn’t help but notice the local news reports of how many clinics were over flowing with patients suffering from the flu and other upper respiratory illnesses.  Of course, the news commentator added the typical advertisement, which advised everyone to get their annual flu shot.  While I do know people who swear by their annual flu shot (my mother is one of them), I have never taken one, nor have I allowed my children to receive flu shots.  My thought is that the current flu shots are made from  last year’s strain so why bother?  In addition, who knows what other toxins might be lurking in them such as mercury or some other unknown or untested substance. So I simply refrain from giving them to my family. However, I do stock my medicine cabinet with medicinal arsenal such as chlorella and vitamin D3 because both of them are extremely effective at keeping the common cold, influenza, and other viruses that cause upper respiratory illnesses in check.

Believe it or not-these natural, tried and true powerhouse remedies have kept my family healthy since my children were toddlers.  Ok- I know you’re probably giving me a side-eyed look right now and saying, “I have heard of vitamin D, but what the heck is chlorella?”

Chlorella: A Whole Food Powerhouse

Chlorella is one of the most powerful super foods found on the planet because of its amazing nutritive properties. In America, chlorella is used as a supplement; however, for the past 20 years chlorella has been used as both a food and a supplement in Asian cultures-which is no surprise to me (Asian healers have consistently and effectively used alternative remedies to combat and prevent illnesses).

 

 

Although chlorella is packed with the antioxidants A, C, and E; it also contains the complete vitamin B-complex, and has several amino acids, which are the building blocks of life and critical for a healthy immune system.  Chlorella also has a reputation for knocking out the flu because of  its ability to increase your (Ig) A antibody levels.

 

A Japanese study showed that when pregnant women consumed chlorella pyerenoidsa supplements, they had significantly higher amounts of (Ig) A antibody concentrations in their breast milk, which means that the women were producing more (Ig) A in their bodies. When the researchers studied the milk of the 35 Japanese women, they found that 18 of the women, who took chlorella while pregnant, had more of the (Ig) A antibodies than those who did not take chlorella supplements. So if you are thinking about starting a family or if you are already expecting a baby, you might want to consult with a holistic practitioner to see if this antioxidant rich, (Ig) A antibodies producing powerhouse is a fit for you.  Let me tell you why (Ig) A is important-especially if you are expecting?

 

(Ig) A Antibodies-AKA The Terminator

(Ig) A antibodies are found in areas of the body such as your nose, breathing passage, digestive tract, ears, and eyes, and are important because they protect your body surfaces that are exposed to outside sources. According to Virology Blog, (Ig) A antibodies are extremely necessary to neutralize mucosal viral infections, which is what influenza is-a viral infection (so please don’t take antibiotics to treat it because antibiotics only treat bacterial infections).  

 

Virology Blog goes on to report that, “Virions that infect mucosal surfaces encounter secretory (Ig) A antibodies present at the apical surfaces of epithelial cells.” Ok-if it’s too early in the morning or too late at night for you to concentrate on organic chemistry, let me explain.  Simply put, (Ig) A antibodies neutralize the common cold or influenza virus and stops it from spreading to the cells and infecting you further. Therefore, when the influenza virus comes into contact with your (Ig) A antibodies, it is immediately neutralized and will be unable to replicate and spread. How amazing is that?A green super food packed with a punch to stop influenza in its tracks. It not only protects you, but it also protects and builds your baby’s immunity so she is stronger when she’s born. Again, if you are skeptical about chlorella-I urge you to speak with your chiropractor a holistic doctor to ease you concerns with regards to safety.  

 

Luckily, mother earth provides us with a variety of healing nutrition so if you are still on the fence about chlorella, you still have many other great soldiers to help you fight against the common cold or influenza, such as vitamin D.  That’s right! Vitamin D is just as effective as chlorella at building your immune system and keeping you healthy.

 

Vitamin D: A Powerhouse Supplement

Having optimal vitamin D levels is crucial for overall health and fighting all disease and illnesses-including influenza A, B, C, and H1N1 viruses. According to Dr. Mercola, one of the reasons you are susceptible to getting the flu is because your vitamin D levels are low. Cambridge Journals Online sites a Epidemiology and Infection study of Dr. John Cannell who is a medical doctor responsible for criminally insane patients.  Dr. Canell noted that his ward never contracted the flu although there was a flu epidemic sweeping through the maximum security hospital in April 2005. The main difference between his patients versus the other patients was that he had been giving his patients 2000 units of vitamin D for several months. Shortly after the 2005 flu epidemic, Nature, an international weekly journal of science, published a paper stating that vitamin D was a potent antibiotic, which works by increasing the body’s production of proteins called antimicrobial peptides. These peptides destroy the cell walls of bacteria, fungi, and viruses, including influenza. This is why Dr. Cannell’s patients remained influenza free while the other patients and staff were stricken with the flu.

 

That’s a compelling reason to get your vitamin D levels checked as soon as possible to ensure that you have an optimum amount.  If your vitamin D levels are low, it is critical that you begin a supplementation regimen.  I check my vitamin D levels and my children’s levels annually, and we supplement  with 2000 IUs per day during the winter months.

 

With both chlorella and vitamin D you can’t go wrong in terms off building your immune system and fighting off viruses that attack the respiratory system.  They are two inexpensive remedies that effectively fight off the influenza viruses. However, please make sure that you take the right type for each supplement. When buying chlorella, look for a high quality broken cell wall chlorella to avoid toxins and to ensure that the nutrients will be properly matabolized. In addition, when buying vitamin D, look for a high quality cod liver oil, which has vitamin D3 because it is better metabolized in the body than vitamin D2. You can find chlorellacod liver oil or a vitamin D3 supplements at your local health food store.  I highly recommend Carlson’s Arctic D if you choose to take a cod liver oil or the Carlson’s vitamin D3 drops because the drops are very easy to administer to the whole family.

Healthy is as Healthy Does: Three Actions to a Healthier You in 2013

Health insurance is a very important commodity to have, especially during this era where chronic illnesses are almost as common in a 10 year old as they are in a middle aged person.  For those who take advantage of it, we now have (for the first time in American history) a comprehensive health care plan that will aid those in need of medical care.  But do you really want to rely solely on health insurance and live your life in such a way that you actually might need it due to a life threatening chronic illness?  Hmmm, while I”m happy to be insured, I’m also thrilled that there is another alternative that is more reliable and less  frightening than becoming seriously ill-it’s called PREVENTION!

President Benjamin Franklin said it best, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to be able to get medical treatment if you should need it-but, your goal should be to prevent the need to seek treatment. So, for those of you who are still holding steadfast to your New Years resolution of getting healthy, I’ve listed three of the most important things you can do to ensure good health this year and every year:  The first action is good ol’ exercise.

(1)  Exercise-You’ve Got to Move It…Move It!

Yes people, unfortunately (for those of you who hate exercising) most healthy roads are paved with ….well….exercise.  And yeah-I know what you’re thinking (especially those of you who like to take short cuts) that there is somebody out there that has never worked out a day in her life and lived to be 100…..blah, blah, blah…  Perhaps during our grandparents time (when our food supply was more pure) that happened more frequently because the food during that time was more nutritious and less processed.  And in addition, they actually did exercise (not formally) because their jobs generally consisted of a lot of manual labor inside and/or outside of the home.  However, during our current times, the odds are that the Gods won’t smile down on us like that because we have changed into a more technologically advanced nation-right along with our “fast paced” food supply.  Therefore we have to keep on pushing on-Right?

Exercise for Internal Beauty

Basic exercise (walking daily) is probably the most important thing you can do to ensure good health. It restores your energy, decreases depression, gets those synapses jumping in your brain, reduces the risk of heart disease and cancer, prevents osteoporosis, and prevents insomnia-and that’s just some of the benefits.  

Exercise to Unleash the Goddess/Adonis in You

If you want the ultimate benefit, you know the one that puts your vanity on blast, then you can’t just “exercise.”  You’ll have to switch it up a bit to get the full vanity benefits of a body that turns heads, by doing these four types of exercises:

  •  Aerobic exercise- strengthens the heart,

  • Strength training or weight lifting- strengthens your bones and prevents osteoporosis,

  • Core exercises- strengthen your abs, back, and pelvis and most importantly of all,

  • Interval anaerobic training, which requires you to combine jogging or walking with short bursts of high intensity exercising such as sprinting- this not only strengthens your heart, but it also burns the most fat and truly conditions your total body.

But! Before you grab those jogging shoes, (just like a perfectly performing car) you must feed your “God given machine” (hint: your body) the proper nutrition. Exercise requires lots of energy so you can’t skimp on proper eating.  One of the things that stood out the most when Gabby Douglass, who won the Olympics gold medals, was her comments about her diet while she trained for the big occasion.  She was not able to eat any “junk food” until the Olympic games were over because proper nutrition actually turns your body into a high performing athletic machine.  

But perhaps more importantly, the importance of good nutrition was captured so brilliantly with the sage advice of Hippocrates who suggested that “We let food be our medicine and medicine be our food.”  Now this is where it get’s really interesting…. the only way to achieve that goal is to have an individualized nutrition plan. This brings us to the second action you’ll need to take to get to a healthier you.

(2)  Nutrition:  Follow the Doctors Orders-That Doctor being one of the best Physicians to ever live-Hippocrates

In the same way that some medicines cure or heal person A, but might possibly kill person B (yes people medicines can kill you. Don’t ignore those frightening side effect warnings), the wrong food can be just as harmful and lead to chronic illnesses.  This is why you need get very familiar with metabolic typing.  

Metabolic typing basically suggests that each of us are different and have different nutritional needs in order for our bodies and minds to perform optimally.  I could really delve more into metabolic typing, but the purpose of this article is to just highlight the three critical things that you can do this year to take control of your health. So here are three of my favorite metabolic typing gurus who can navigate you through the process-and they even have tests to help you determine what your metabolic type is:

Again, regardless of the doctor you prefer, you can’t go wrong because they all provide comprehensive information and tests to help you determine what your metabolic type is to get you on the right path to a healthy body.

So once you start eating right and exercising, you will without a doubt, start to feel and look amazing.  Your energy level will increase, your food cravings will decrease, and your brain will “reset” your eyes and ears in terms of how you’ll actually take in or receive information. Hey, wouldn’t it be great if we actually did have an automatic reset button so that when people start to become “awkward,” (that’s the new word for crazy) we could just push their reset button.  But I digress (smile)… You will eventually be able to say goodbye to the following things: 

  • Goodbye paranoia (it will destroy ya),

  • Goodbye teary outbursts and/or depression (your hormones will start to normalize),

  • Goodbye bad hair and skin days (you’ll radiate), and

  • Goodbye medications for any and everything-including high blood pressure and diabetes (these diseases are controlled by your mal-functioning endocrine system)

And finally as result of dropping all of your unhealthy baggage, you will naturally end up at action number three which is extremely important towards achieving overall health.

(3) De-Stress: Follow The Musician Bobby McFerrin’s Orders-Don’t Worry Be Happy!

Yes, eating healthy and exercising greatly reduce stress which is often referred to as a silent killer because it completely throws your hormones off kilter by flooding your body with cortisone.

Cortisone is a hormone that is released by the adrenal glands when the body is under stress. It puts your body in a fight or flight state when you feel that you are under attack.  That’s a good thing when you are actually being attacked and have to flee for your life.  Conversely, cortisone every day (when you are not under attack) can actually lead to your death because it can be very toxic when it circulates throughout your body for long periods of time.  Cortisone can cause your brain cells to die; as well as destroy your immune system because your heart rate and blood sugar levels are constantly increased. This is why you must get your stress under control.  In order to completely control your stress and reduce your cortisone levels, I’ve listed a few other things to help you manage:

  • Exercise, exercise, exercise (exercise naturally reduce stress),

  • Eat right for your nutritional type (proper nutrition naturally balances your hormones),

  • Meditate at least 15 minutes a day (meditating naturally reduces your heart rate, blood pressure, and makes you feel less angry),

  • Practice yoga (yoga taps into the mind-body energy and aids in reducing stress), and

  • Find a place to worship (Psychology Today suggest that organized religion helps you to cope with stressful situations and makes you more relaxed).

  • So that’s it-three simple actions to get you to a better you this year and every year: Exercise more, Eat right for your body type, and reduce that stress.