Pain in the ear is a very uncomfortable symptom, which may be due to the local causes in the ear or may relate to external causes. The earache may increase on lying down due to increased blood supply to the ear in recumbent position. The general causes of earache are as follows:
- (1) Exposure to extreme cold weather.
- (2) Exposure to pressure changes during diving or swimming and air travel.
- (3) Picking or probing the ear canal.
- (4) Improper instrumentation during the examination or treatment of ear.
- (5) Exposure to very high-pitched sounds.
- (6) Injury to the head especially the temporal bone.
- (7) Entry of water into auditory canal during bathing.
- (8) Local bacterial or fungal infection such as furuncles and otomycosis.
- (9) Impacted wax.
- (10) Referred pain due to carious tooth, impacted molar, ulcerative lesions in the oral cavity and tongue, osteoarthritis of temporomandibular joint, tonsillitis, etc.
The earache can also be functional, which needs to be carefully observed. Management of earache requires proper evaluation and treatment before complications develop. Ayurveda prescribes instillation of medicated oil and juice of certain medicinal plants in the affected ear. One of the simple formulations for earache used in traditional medicine is mustard oil prepared with garlic.
Lashuna (Allium sativum Linn.)
Lashuna oil comprises of cloves of garlic heated in mustard oil. Both Lashuna and mustard oil are commonly used drugs almost in every Indian kitchen and are well known for their medicinal properties in the traditional medicine of the Asian region. Lashuna comprises of bulbs of Allium sativum Linn., a perennial bulbous plant, cultivated as an important condiment crop in India. It is mainly used for facial paralysis, lock-jaw, flatulence, colic, arthralgia and dental caries. The oil of Lashuna is used for skin rashes and as an ear drop1. Sarshapa consists of dried seeds of Brassica campestris Linn., an erect, stout, simple or branched, glaucous, annual herb, 50 to 60 cm tall, commonly cultivated in Bengal, Bihar and Punjab, also found occasionally in wastelands and fields. The oil of Sarshapa is also used in the form of gargle and is also applied with rock salt for dental caries. In addition, it is also used for massage for increasing muscular strength and enhancing the colour and complexion of skin.
Lashuna oil comprises of Lashuna and mustard oil.
|Name||English Name||Latin Name||Family||Part Used|
|Lashuna||Garlic||Allium sativum Linn.||Liliaceae||Bulb|
|Sarshapa||Mustard||Brassica compestris Linn.||Brassicaceae||Seed (Oil)|
Main chemical constituents
- (1) Lashuna3: Volatile oil containing allyl disulphide, diallyl disulphide and also allin, allicin, mucilage and albumin.
- (2) Sarshapa oil2: Fixed oil and the glycerides of palmitic, stearic, oleic, linoleic, linolenic, eicosenoic, etc.
Identity, purity and potency of Lashuna and Sarshapa are estimated on the basis of the following physical constants.
|Ingredient||Foreign matter||Total ash||Acid insoluble ash||Alcohol soluble extractives||Water soluble extractives||Volatile oil/Fixed oil|
|Lashuna||Not more than 2%||Not more than 4%||Not more than 1%||Not less than 2.5%||_||Not lessthan 0.1%|
|Sarshapa||Not more than 2%||Not more than 5%||Not more than 0.5%||Not less than 8%||Not less than 16%||Not less than 35%|
Preparation of mustard oil with garlic
- (1) Take about 20 ml (4 teaspoonsful) of mustard oil in a vessel and add 5-6 pieces of peeled and slightly crushed fresh garlic cloves.
- (2) Put the mixture on a slow fire for about 5 -10 minutes till garlic becomes brown and stop further heating.
- (3) Filter the mixture through cotton cloth to obtain clear oil and keep it in a clean glass bottle.
Lukewarm, pungent, yellowish-brown oil.
Dose and mode of administration
- (1) Instill medicated oil in the affected ear drop by drop by tilting the head to opposite side and retain it for about 30 minutes by plugging the ear with cotton swab.
- (2) Repeat the process for other ear if affected.
- (3) Instillation of oil in the ears can be done twice daily for 2-3 days.
Fresh garlic is anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial1, 5 antiviral, and anthelmintic.
Indication and use
Precaution and safety aspects
- (1) Local application of Lashuna oil is traditionally considered to be safe, but application on inflammatory lesions may produce burning sensation or slight irritation.
- (2) While using the oil, it should neither be too hot nor too cold.
- (3) The oil instillation should be avoided if there is ear discharge.
- (4) If there is no relief within three days, seek medical advice.
- (1) Billore KV et al. Data base on medicinal plants used in Ayurveda. Vol. VI. New Delhi: Central Council for Research in Ayurveda & Siddha, 2004. p. 158.
- (2) Lavekar GS et al. Data base on medicinal plants used in Ayurveda. Vol. VIII. New Delhi: Central Council for Research in Ayurveda & Siddha, 2007. p. 313.
- (3) India, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The Ayurvedic pharmacopoeia of India. Part I. Vol. III. New Delhi: Department of Indian Systems of Medicine & Homeopathy, 2001. p. 109.
- (4) India, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The Ayurvedic pharmacopoeia of India, Part I, Vol. III. New Delhi: Department of Indian Systems of Medicine & Homeopathy, 2001. p. 193.
- (5) Lavekar GS et al. Data base on medicinal plants used in Ayurveda. Vol. VIII. New Delhi: Central Council for Research in Ayurveda & Siddha, 2007. p. 314.
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- (2) Chopra RN, Nayar SL, Chopra LC. Glossary of Indian medicinal plants. New Delhi: Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, 2002.
- (3) Chunekar KC. Bhavaprakasha nighantu. Varanasi: Chaukhambha Bharati Academy, 1982.
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- (5) Nadkarni AK. K.M. Nadkarni’s Indian materia medica. Vol. 1. Bombay: Popular Prakashana, 1976.
- (6) Nagatsu A, Sugitani T, Mori Y, Okuyama H, Sakakibara J, Mizukami H. Antioxidants from grape (Brassica campestris viv. Japonica hara) oil cake. Nat. Prod. Res. 18(3), 2004.
- (7) Rastogi RP, Mehrotra BN. Compendium of Indian medicinal plants (1960-1969). Vol. 1. Lucknow: Central Drug Research Institute, and New Delhi: Publications and Information Directorate, Council of Science and Industrial Research, 1993.
- (8) Rastogi RP, Mehrotra BN. Compendium of Indian medicinal plants (1970-1979). Vol. II. Lucknow: Central Drug Research Institute and New Delhi: Publications and Information Directorate, Council for Science and Industrial Research, 1993.
- (9) Sharma PV. Classical uses of medicinal plantsi: chaukhamba vishvabharati. Varanasi: Orient Publishers and Distributors, 1996.
- (10) Sharma PV. Dravyaguna-vijnana. Vol. II. Varanasi: Chaukhamba Sanskrit Bharati Academy, 1978.
- (11) India, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The Ayurvedic formulary of India. Part II. New Delhi: Department of Indian Systems of Medicine & Homeopathy, 2000.
Source: Traditional Herbal Remedies for Primary Health Care - WHO