Recently I have been coming across many people asking if there is an alternative to antibiotics for ear infections and glue ear. A few years ago now, we did research on previous clients in our clinic who were treated homeopathically, to ascertain just how effective homeopathic treatment is for ear issues.
This information is still just as valid today so I thought I’d re-post this blog I did on the homeopathic treatment of kids (and sometimes adults!) with recurrent ear infections and glue ear.
In the past couple of years we have been embarking on a study of our own clients at the Harbord Homeopathy Clinic (in Brookvale, Sydney) who have been suffering from ear infections and glue ear. The clinic has built itself a bit of a reputation in successfully treating ear issues, especially in children, so we were very interested in how the results of the study would reflect this.
Earmix (Kali mur and Ferrum phos)
One of our not so secret weapons in the fight against gummed up Eustachian tubes is a little formulation called earmix. This is made up of a couple of tissue salts (Kali muriaticum 3x and Ferrum phosphoricum 3x), which when taken over a long term basis help to drain the fluid from the middle ear, reduce inflammation and allow for the body to better fight the infections. Couple this with a constitutional remedy to help with the specifics of the problem, and we have a powerful yet gentle means of wiping out chronic ear issues, often for good!
After doing a search on our clinic client database for those who have used Earmix for chronic and acute ear issues over a period of five years, it was my job to comb through the files of those children and compile a table of information to use in the study. What we really wanted to know was, exactly how effective is it to treat a child with ear issues using Earmix plus a constitutional remedy?
Homeopathy and glue ear research
Once I had finished gathering my data for the glue ear study, I was amazed at the amount of children suffering from such an all pervasive issue. For when a child is in chronic pain and their ears are blocked, it is likely to have a far reaching effect far beyond just the ears. Behaviour, dietary preferences, sleep, development, language and social cues are all examples of what may be compromised if a child is in a state of constant pressure and irritation within the ear canals as well as reduced hearing, and this is all before we even enter the arena of the classroom. Not only this, the child is not a lone entity and the fallout of these problems lands on parents, siblings, friends and teachers.
I have seen severely sleep deprived parents suffering mental problems such as depression, anxiety and anger issues because their child has a chronic ear issue that hasn’t been properly resolved. I have heard teachers complain about students who can’t hear properly and act out in class, not to mention the kids who are overly clingy, throw tantrums, bite, head bang or act aggressively as a result of the constant, niggling irritation in their ear canals. Of course glue ear and its variations aren’t the only cause of these issues, although I suspect there are a whole swathe of behavioural/learning problems that have their root in some kind of chronic ear issue.
Conventional medicine offers antibiotics, paracetamol and finally grommets as a last resort once the problem becomes enough of an issue. From this point of view, especially in the age of antibiotic resistance, there is little hope of a long term resolution aside from invasive surgery for a child who suffers recurrent, acute ear infections. Antibiotics by their very design kill off the natural gut flora in the child’s digestive system, reducing immune function and weakening digestion. This may lead to many long term problems if the child is given antibiotics too often. Adding to the issue of a compromised immune system is the fact that, while antibiotics may kill of some of the weaker bacteria, the strongest ones are left to grow in the mucousy “soup” remaining in the Eustachian tubes, leading to greater and greater chance of subsequent infections. This is when we get into glue ear territory.
Recurrent ear infections and homeopathy research
So, back to our little study. The results were really quite exciting. We had a number of children suffering from a round of acute ear infections, and I wondered why there were never any follow ups recorded on their files. After calling the parents of these children, I discovered there had been no need for a follow up since in those cases the ear infection resolved within 24-48 hours and they had never suffered another one since. In some of these children, they had experienced recurrent ear infections for months and had often taken many rounds of antibiotics. Did you know that Australia is one of the highest users of antibiotics in the world?
Overall, the statistics showed a complete and permanent resolution of ear complaints in 27% of the children in the study. A further 30% of children experienced a complete resolution of their symptoms with the need to return at a later date for issues that were once again resolved completely by the use of the remedies. Then there were the 27% who experienced an incomplete but satisfactory reduction in their symptoms to the point where a measure of relief was gained. It is interesting to note that many of these children were still eating dairy. Adding these these categories together gives us a whopping 87% effectiveness in resolving chronic and acute middle ear issues! In a further 10% a small improvement was noted, whether this was in the ear issue itself or an improvement in sleep, behaviour or eating. This brings it up to 97% where homeopathy was beneficial in some way for the children who were treated at the clinic!
It is also important to note that of the children who did not experience any benefit, the majority of children were afflicted with severe immune deficiencies or genetic disabilities and presented an extra challenge for the remedies to resolve the issues. Yet, even more important is the fact that, despite reading through the notes and listening to the parents’ feedback, there was not one adverse effect from the treatments.
These results were so significant we decided, despite my terror of public speaking, that I would go to the national homeopathic conference in Brisbane 2012 and present the findings, much to the interest of homeopaths around Australia. This glue ear research was supported by the Aurum Project, Australia’s first natural medicine research charity.
So next time your doctor has told you that your child is suffering from an ear infection, or if the doctor has just given them a diagnosis of glue ear, it may be time for a visit to the homeopath!
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