How an Onion Saved my Son from Ear Tube Surgery


healthy vegetable onion isolated on white background

This is my story of how I used onion juice to cure chronic ear infections in my young son, when doctors wanted to operate and insert ear tubes.

My son was born with a number of health issues.  As a baby, he had recurring chest infections and was hospitalized for pneumonia around the age of 1.  It was a horrible time for us as parents.    Fortunately he made a full recovery, and today is a happy, athletic 7 year old.

There was another problem though that is the focus of this story – his ears.  He had constant ear infections.  At night, if he was lucky he would cry himself to sleep, otherwise he would just cry into the night.  We went to see a number of doctors who all agreed that he needed an operation to insert tubes into his ears.  It’s a fairly common procedure amongst infants with chronic ear infections.  If we didn’t have it done, we were told our son could develop permanent hearing problems.

Ear Tubes – The procedure

These ear tubes are also called tympanostomy tubes, ventilation tubes or pressure equalization tubes.  They are small plastic tubes that are inserted through the ear drum.  My understanding from listening to the doctors, and reading online are that these ear tubes:

  1. Prevent  the vacuum between inner ear and the outside, and allow air into the middle ear which could help prevent infection.
  2. Equalize the pressure in the middle ear to prevent the eardrum from distorting as it develops.
  3. Act as a drain if the ear does become infected.
  4. All antibiotic ear drops to more easily enter into the infected area.

These tubes are designed to fall out on their own eventually.

Side Effects or Risks of Ear Tubes

Depending on who you listen to, you may or may not be told about side effects or risks involved in the procedure.  Here are the details I found out by reading online.

The first potential problem with ear tubes is that they can fall out on their own.  If the child then subsequently has more infections, they will need to have new tubes inserted again.  In some cases, long-term tubes will need to be fitted.  When you consider that these tubes are passing through the ear drum, then another possible danger should be obvious.  The ear drum vibrates when sound hits it, and these vibrations are passed in the inner ear, where bones vibrate and nerves fire so we can distinguish sound.  If ear drums have holes, then when those holes heal, there can be varying degrees of scar tissue.  Scar tissue will lead to hearing loss at some frequencies.

Potential problems include:

  • Perforation of the ear drum that doesn’t heal properly, or constantly breaks open.
  • Scar tissue (as mentioned above).
  • Cholesteatoma – where skin grows into the middle ear from the rim of the hole.

Ear tube benefits include:

  • Reduced risk of infections through better drainage and easier administration of antibiotics.
  • Reduced risk of hearing problems associated with the chronic ear infections (though so see the risk above, where scar tissue can affect hearing).

At the time, we didn’t know of any alternatives, so we talked with our pediatrician.  I was really not happy with the potential side effect caused by scar tissue, but we needed to do something because the constant infections were already causing hearing problems and these could become permanent if we didn’t act quickly.

To cut a long story short, we ended up at the hospital, with the consent forms in front of us.  My wife signed them and passed them to me.  I sat there and read them.

I was unhappy with the potential side effects, but when I read the consent form, I saw something that was far worse.  The consent form stated that 1 in 10,000 children could have a reaction to the anesthetic, and die.

No way was I going to sign that paper.  1 in 10,000 is pretty good odds, but I still wasn’t about to sign my son’s life over to chance.  I refused to sign the paper.

My wife was livid and called me a few choice names.  All she could think about was how our son would continue to suffer without this operation – crying himself to sleep and possibly permanent hearing damage.

However, if my wife was a 5 on the Richter scale of anger, the nurse was a 9. I was apparently a selfish and irresponsible father that not only didn’t care about my son, but didn’t respect hospital time.  I turned to my wife and told her to give me a month to find an alternative.  Through her tears, she agreed, though she really didn’t have any choice as the operation did require both or our signatures.  If after one month I had not found an alternative and natural treatment, I would sign the papers.  That was my promise so I got started as soon as I got home.

In fact, I didn’t need a month.  That same day I found some articles online with an alternative treatment that seemed to be very successful in many cases.  I didn’t have to wait long to try out the treatment either.  Within a week, our son was screaming again with pain.

I tried the alternative treatment there and then, and the screaming stopped within about 10 minutes.  Our son fell asleep, and seemed fine the next day.

Within a couple of weeks he had another ear problem, but it wasn’t as severe this time.  I treated him again, and again it worked like magic.  Since then, my son has been free of ear infections.  I cannot remember the websites where I first heard about this treatment, but I am so grateful to them.

So what is the treatment?

photodune-5977688-ear-xsAn onion…

I simply roasted an onion for 30 minutes (the second time I put it in the microwave for 30 seconds), and squeezed out the juice.

After letting the juice cool, I sucked it up into a syringe, and used it as ear drops.

Once the onion juice was inside the ear, I would then massage the “channel” from under the lobe of the ear, vertically down the neck, as if pushing fluid from the ear downwards.

Once done, a little cotton wool in the ear to prevent the juice from leaving, and my son could go off to sleep.

Since using this on my son, I’ve also used it on myself, my wife and more than one family and friend member that complained of ear-ache.  It has worked for most of us.

If you are a parent trying to make the decision to go ahead with the operation or not, why not try onion juice first?  What is there to lose?  Talk with your pediatrician first, and they might just agree it’s worth a shot.

There are hundreds of thousands of parents going through the decision of whether to operate or not.  Don't they deserve the chance to learn about this possible alternative?  If you can, please consider sharing this post on Facebook, Twitter, or wherever your friends hang out.  Thank you.  There are sharing buttons at the top of this article.

Other natural health uses for onion and garlic

While I was reading about the onion juice trick, I also found out that garlic can have a similar effect on ear-ache or “blocked” ears and ear infection.  This one is more for grownups than children, but if you cut a clove of garlic so the volatile compounds inside the clove can get out, and rest the clove on your outer ear (do not put it into the ear), then the volatile compounds can diffuse through into your ear, and help clear the blockage and kill infection.

And finally, back to the onion.  Whenever our children  have colds and are blocked up and unable to breath freely, we cut an onion in half and leave it beside their bed.  This will help them breath easier and clear their nasal passages.  Again, it seems that its the volatile compounds in the onion that seem to be the active ingredient.

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About Andy Williams

In a processed food culture, simply eating may not be enough. Andy Williams, B.SC., Ph.D. is a scientist with a strong interest in Juicing and how it can supply the body with the nutrients it needs to thrive in modern society. You can subscribe to his free daily paper called Juicing The Rainbow and follow him on Facebook orTwitter. You can also follow me on Google +

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