The splitting pain of an earache: while mostly common in children, adults can also be affected. We all know the itchy, scratchy, stuffy,
feverish, achy feelings that come with a sore throat and a head cold, but ear pain is probably the worst. It starts with an overworked
immune system, affecting one of our most vulnerable systems - the respiratory tract - which includes the mouth, throat, nose and ears. Earaches can occur in the outer, inner or middle ear. When the pain is not due to a physical injury to the ear or environmental conditions
air temperature, air pressure it's usually associated with infection, as follows: Outer ear infection occurs in the delicate skin that lines the outer ear canal, where infection can be caused by swimming, use of dirty headphones,
or sticking objects (fingers or swabs) into this region of the ear. Middle ear infection often stems from a respiratory tract infection that has caused fluid build-up behind the ear drums where bacteria can breed. Inner ear infection, aka Labyrinthitis, is a disorder associated with bacteria or virus or stemming from an ongoing respiratory illness. For decades, antibiotics were the most commonly prescribed medicine for ear infection, especially in children. Today, evidence-based medicine no
longer relies on antibiotics as the first line of treatment. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics has not recommended antibiotics for earache
as a general practice since 2004. Holistic doctors have long viewed ear infection as being caused by a weakened immune system that allows for germs to proliferate and infection to
develop. A strong and vital immune system can mount a defense against these germs. Here's what you can do for yourself and your children: Maintain healthy immunity by minimizing refined sugar and processed foods and eating organic whole foods including lots of vegetables, fruits, and
legumes. For extra immune support, a holistic doctor may supplement the diet with a high-quality multivitamin, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Selenium and
Zinc. Dosing for children should be discussed with your holistic doctor. Power-up the gut by eating a variety of fermented foods that are low in sugar and high in gut-friendly bacteria. Your body mounts a line of defense
against germs from inside the gut. The greater the ratio of "friendly" to "unfriendly" gut bacteria, the better your immunity. Because many adults
and children with a history of ear infections also have a history of antibiotic use, your holistic doctor may suggest adding a daily probiotic supplement. Protect the ears from cold drafty air, which can aggravate already sensitive membranes and increase pain. When resting, keep the head and neck
comfortably elevated. When treating an earache, there are a number of natural medicine approaches for easing painful symptoms. Three highly effective ones include: an Ear
Drop Formulation using herbs with antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and decongestant properties; a Contrast Foot Bath, which draws fluid build-up
away from the affected ear; and a Eustachian Tube Massage which facilitates the release of fluids and reduction of inflammation from the ear canal.
You'll see specific information on all three of these throughout this newsletter. Always remember, for guidance about using these, and other approaches, consult with a holistic healthcare professional. Resources HarvardHealthNewsletter.com "What is Middle Ear Infection?" https://www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/middle-ear-infection-otitis-media-a-to-z Tlaskalová-Hogenová, Helena et al., "Commensal bacteria (normal microflora), mucosal immunity and chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases."
Immunology Letters(15 May 2004) 93:2-3, Pages 97-108. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.imlet.2004.02.005 NPR.com "Pediatricians Urged to Treat Ear Infections More Cautiously." (2013 Feb) https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2013/02/25/172588359/
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Because herbs come from nature, many people believe they're safe to take at any time. But, that's simply not true. In fact, many herbs
should not be taken while trying to conceive or during pregnancy and post-partum, while breastfeeding. The constituents of plants -
phytochemicals and other active compounds - can interact with hormones that circulate during the prenatal period and as the fetus is developing.
Some herbs can stimulate the uterus to contract. And, if you have other health conditions for which medication is prescribed, there is
potential for a drug-herb interaction...
Commonly known as NAC, N-acetylcysteine is an amino
acid that supports critical functions and helps
fight infection. Our body manufactures NAC
using the cysteine from the foods we ingest. Sources
include most meats and certain plants, including
broccoli, red pepper and onion. Bananas,
garlic, soy beans, linseed (aka, flax seed) and
wheat germ also contain cysteine.
Fondly known to herbalists as "the stinking rose,"Garlic
(Allium sativum) has been used for centuries for a variety
of health concerns ranging from treatment of skin conditions
to fighting infection. Today, research shows that garlic
contains more than 200 phytochemicals that have protectiveblood sugar and cholesterol levels, enhancing immunity
health benefits, such as regulating blood pressure, lowering
and working against bacterial, viral, and fungal infections.
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