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You may have heard of using ear candles to clear wax out of the ears. You may even rely on cotton swabs for the task. But have you ever tried Karna Purana, the Ayurvedic method of ear oiling? It is no surprise that Ayurveda recommends using oil to maintain the health of the ears; after all, Ayurveda, India’s traditional healing system, is a huge proponent of using oil in and on all parts of the body.

Oil is so highly revered in the Ayurvedic tradition that the Sanskrit term snehana means both “to oil the body” and “to love the body.” Even 5,000 years ago, people in ancient India understood a concept which is making a comeback today: self-care translates to self-love. When you oil yourself through Ayurvedic practices such as Karna Purana, you are also loving the body through self-care.


Karna Purana is the Sanskrit term for the Ayurvedic technique of administering warm oil into the ear canals. Performed daily, this self-care ritual works as preventative medicine to maintain optimal health of the ears and jaw. Ayurvedic ear cleaning can also be done in a more therapeutic sense to pacify certain imbalances often caused by excess vata accumulation and aggravation brought on by cold and windy weather, overstimulation and travel.

According to Ayurveda, the ears are a physical place in the body where vata resides. Vata dosha is considered to be highly mobile, cold, dry and rough, and these qualities are easily unbalanced through the daily pressures of modern life. The antidote for this is Karna Purana, which calms Vata Dosha by bringing in opposing qualities – warm, moist, stable and smooth. Some of the benefits of ear oiling include its ability to:

  • reduce dryness or itching in the ears
  • prevent ear infections
  • reduce tinnitus or ringing in the ears
  • reduce tension in the neck and jaw
  • diminish TMJ symptoms
  • relieve headaches
  • assist in reducing vertigo
  • reduce congestion from wax or yeast overgrowth

Traditionally, sesame oil is used in Karna Purana, due to its warming, nourishing, anti-microbial and moisturizing effects. 

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