By Sandy Levy
You are likely to own a bottle of this purported remedy, because it is 3% hydrogen peroxide,* the same H2O2 you have probably used on cuts and scrapes or, as a doctor suggested to me, as drops for ear wax. The strange thing is that to use it to treat an oncoming flu or cold or other infection, you are also supposed to put the drops into your ears, but strange or not, it has worked well for me and my children and grandchildren and friends. Interestingly one client has told me that when she was a child this method was used successfully to treat her ear infections.
If you research hydrogen peroxide for colds and flu, you will read on various sites (here is a typical one) that in 1928, a Dr. Richard Simmons theorized that cold and flu germs enter not through the mouth or nose but through the ears, and that putting hydrogen peroxide into the ears would stop the progress of these diseases. I have my doubts about his theory,** but, so far, no doubts about the effectiveness of peroxide.
This is what I do if I feel that I am coming down with something: I lie on my side and put a dropper-full into my upward-facing ear. There is a bubbling that occurs and it is said that one should wait until it subsides. Simple and cheap, yes, but also boring, so I read while I’m waiting. I treat the other ear in the same way. In my experience symptoms begin to diminish within minutes, but I have found that in order to become asymptomatic, I need to repeat the process two or three times over the next day or two. If the illness is already established, there may be a lesser response or no apparent response at all.
In 2002 Dr. Joseph Mercola posted an article on his popular website about this use of H2O2 and then took it down because he believed the source to be suspect and because no studies have been done on this method. He reposted it, however, after hearing from so many of his readers about how well it had worked for them, and then wrote about it again in 2010, saying that “[m]any patients at my Natural Health Center have had remarkable results in curing colds and flu within 12 to 14 hours when administering a few drops of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) into each ear.”
I agree with Dr. Mercola that the best way to deal with colds and flus is to try to prevent them by getting enough sleep, avoiding sugar, getting out in the sunshine, etc., but I find it comforting, too, to know that as winter approaches, I have H2O2 in my medicine cabinet.
*Please note that there are other forms and strengths of hydrogen peroxide which may not be safe to use.
**Hydrogen peroxide is given intravenously by some physicians and is said to work by stimulating the immune system. Perhaps putting hydrogen peroxide into the ear enables it to be absorbed into the blood stream, rather as you would take vitamin B-12 and some medications sublingually.