Things I’m learning in Uganda #2 – Ear infections can be healed with garlic and olive oil

So this isn’t really something that I am learning from Ugandan culture, but it’s still something pretty amazing I learned this past week so I decided to write a post about it….

On Wednesday afternoon, we were headed to a friend’s house when Natalie started complaining about her ear hurting.  About 5 minutes after arriving, she started crying and was just laying on my lap crying on and off for about 20 minutes.  I knew it was serious because she didn’t have any interest in eating the chocolate brownies that my friend had offered her!  She seemed to be in a lot of pain, so we left and passed by the doctor on the way home to confirm if it was an ear infection or something else.

The Dr said it was in fact a bad ear infection, and gave her a “strong” antibiotic (her words), an antihistamine, and some painkillers.


I don’t like giving my kids any medicine unless it’s really necessary, and I especially try to avoid antibiotics – my friend had mentioned that she heard ear infections can be treated with garlic and olive oil, so I figured it was worth a shot.  I crushed three cloves of garlic and heated them in about 1/4 cup of olive oil until it started bubbling.  I left it to cool until it was just slightly warm then used a medicine dropper to put a few drops in her ear.  I massaged her earlobe to help the oil get in and to help relieve the pressure.

To my amazement, Natalie immediately said, “Mommy, it doesn’t hurt anymore!”  Within seconds she seemed back to her normal herself and skipped to the table to eat her dinner (she had said she didn’t want to eat and had been laying on the couch moaning).  I gave her a few more drops before bed and she hasn’t said a word about her ear since!

Natalie helping Maureen cut her cake at team mtg

After doing some reading, I discovered that garlic has natural anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties, and apparently there are many people who use it as treatment to get fast relief from ear infections without using antibiotics or painkillers.

In other news, yesterday and today we had our MCC Uganda quarterly team meeting.  This is when all our Ugandan staff and all of our international service workers come together in Kampala for two days of team building.  Thursday we had everyone at our house for some updates, discussions, and lunch, and then today we went bowling together and then out to Lotus Mexicana, a Mexican restaurant.  It was a lot of fun to have the whole team together and I feel encouraged to be working with such great people!

Nathan was so excited about all the big, colorful bowling balls!
Waiting for her food on the swing at Lotus Mexicana
Some of our team members at the bowling alley

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