Wednesday night D spiked a fever and we were afraid it might be another ear infection. We did not have great luck with ear infections and antibiotics this past fall. This time I wanted to look elsewhere for relief before rushing him to the doctor for yet another antibiotic. I have always been intrigued by herbal medicine and its benefits, so this got me thinking, how else could we treat this fever and possible ear infection. As long as we were able to manage the pain and fever with tylenol, I wanted to give it a try for a day or two and see what progress we could make.
I had a jar of dried lavender, peppermint oil, and coconut oil already mixed. I decided to put this on D at 3 am Thursday morning, when he decided he was “all done” sleeping. Since I occasionally use this to help relax him when its time for bed, I knew it would not irritate his skin. First, I started massaging around his ears and he just melted. Then, I massaged his neck and feet to help drain any fluid. An article from Mother Earth Living gives a good description on how to massage with essential oils:
“When an ear infection is present, gently massage behind the ear, around the outer ear and ear opening, and pull slightly on the earlobes, massaging gently down the neck to encourage lymphatic drainage. Rubbing the temples helps increase blood flow to the area as well as to move toxins. Using a drop or two of lavender essential oil makes this antiseptic as well.
Stimulate the reflex point to the ears by pressing deeply for about 20 seconds in a circular motion at the base of and between the fourth and fifth toes. These points may be tender yet often provide relief. Massaging children with two drops of essential oil of lavender will help relieve congestion and alleviate pain. Massage behind the ear, down toward the neck. Keep away from the eyes and mouth.”
Now that D was peacefully back to sleep, it was time to start researching. I was definitely surprised and overwhelmed by all of the conflicting information that I was reading. I knew that essential oils were not FDA approved and clinical trials would be minimal, but I thought I would be able to find substantial information more easily. My head was quickly spinning!
With all of the conflicting information and the fact that the herbal industry is not regulated, I am not comfortable with D, let alone myself, ingesting oils. (source) After reading an article from The Journal of Infectious Disease , I better understood that by massaging the oil around the outside of the ear, the vapors fight the bacteria causing the ear infection. There are a number of oils that possess antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. I decided to try Melaleuca (Tea Tree Oil) because it is also supports immunity and decreases mucous build-up.
My sister came to the rescue as usual and mixed up coconut oil, lavender oil, and peppermint oil. I massaged this around D’s ears, down his neck and back, and on his feet. Then, Jed picked up some doTerra Melaleuca Oil from a wonderful local store, Natural Mercantile. I added 1 drop to some of the lavender peppermint mixture. Again, I massaged this around D’s ears and down his neck. I also put 1 drop of Melaleuca Oil on 2 cotton balls and rested them on the collar of D’s sweatshirt.
This morning, D woke up feeling more like himself. I am not sure if it was the beginnings of an ear infection, or just more molars coming in. I am also not sure what exactly helped him, but I do know herbal medicine and essential oils are something I am going to continue to research. I am glad I followed my instincts to not rush him to the doctor first thing Thursday morning. The next time he has a fever, in addition to the tylenol, I will be massaging the lavender and peppermint oil mixture on his back!