You’re probably thinking what are ear seeds? Have you ever even heard of them before? Well, they’re a pretty powerful holistic tool that can be used for a variety of health-related purposes.
They’re adhesive seeds derived from the natural vaccaria plant that rest on certain points on your ear. Those points are specific to addressing symptoms for both physical + emotional wellness.
The use of ear seeds is also considered auriculotherapy (interchangeable with "auricular therapy"). This is based on the way the treatment works. Auriculotherapy is best defined as ear reflexology, which is a concept that the outer part of the ear is a map or micro system of the body.
This method of holistic healing has major ancient roots. It's part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (commonly called TCM).
To get you more familiar with ear seeds, let's take a deeper dive into how they work, their benefits and any potential side effects. These tiny, powerful tools can help you in extraordinary ways! Ready to learn more?
Let’s plant a few seeds!
Vaccaria comes from a plant that grows in China and the southern + central parts of Europe. It's also known as cowherb or cow soapwort.
The plant itself grows to a height of about 2 1/2 feet. It can also have pink + white flowers, and is mostly harvested in the summer then dried in the sun.
When the flowers finally dry, the seeds are removed from the plant.
Aside from being used as ear seeds, they have other functions as well - like promoting the circulatory system and helping with liver function + digestive health. Hey, we said they were powerful.
Aside from ear seed treatments, they can also help with the following:
- Pain relief from menstruation
- Lactation + overall breast health after giving birth
- Immune health after giving birth
What are the Benefits of an Ear Seed Treatment?
So, why do people love ear seeding? For one, it has so many amazing benefits. This list shows a range of issues + symptoms that ear seeds have been shown to improve:
- Chronic pain
- Lower back pain
- Sleep difficulties
- Migraines or other headaches
- Weight loss
Thinking about trying an ear seed treatment? It’s always best to check with a healthcare provider before beginning an alternative medicine treatment.
Who Can Administer Ear Seeds?
For first time use, it’s best to see a licensed acupuncturist so they can monitor how you respond to the different pressure points on the ear. An acupuncturist will see where the seeds need to be placed, then administer as many as you need in those spots.
Why an acupuncturist? Because ear seeding is essentially ear acupuncture - or more accurately, ear acupressure, since pressure is applied to specific points (acupressure points)instead of acupuncture needles (acupuncture points).
Do you want to try ear seeds yourself? That’s okay too. Ear seeds can be placed on your own ears from the comfort of your home as long as you know how to apply them properly.
Acupuncturists will most likely have their own seeds, but you can also conveniently purchase yours online to perform this self-care treatment at home.
Ear seeds have many benefits, no matter who places them or where you receive them!
How to Insert Ear Seeds
Now that you know you can apply ear seeds to your own ears, here’s a step-by-step guide to show you how to place them.
This is a pretty simple process designed to be easy for everyone, not just individuals with knowledge in acupuncture treatment or acupressure treatment.
Ready to learn a new skill? We’ll take you from prep to removal.
Make Sure the Outside of the Ear is Dry + Clean
Clean the outside of the ear with a cotton swab, then wipe clean + dry. The idea of this step is to sanitize, so use a solution like rubbing alcohol.
There’s no need to sanitize anywhere other than the outer ear. Ear seeds will only work in that area.
Identify the Right Area
Start by identifying points on the ear that might be right to place ear seeds. Ear seed kits may already suggest common points for use. Check out our map below for more information around where to place:
If needed, an acupuncturist may also be able to show you which points you’ll benefit from the most.
Pro tip: Keep a record of where each one is inserted, so you’ll know for next time, especially if that area wasn’t as beneficial as expected.
Use Tweezers to Apply the Ear Seed
Next, grab a pair of tweezers for best application practices. If you use your hands, your fingers may get in the way and not allow the ear seeds to fully stick.
Ear seeds also come with adhesive tape. Once you take an ear seed from the case, gently place it on a spot you’ve identified and press until it firmly sticks.
Massage + Monitor the Ear Seed
Ear seeds shouldn’t be on the ear for longer than five days. However, since they’re being worn for longer than a few hours, it’s a good idea to monitor them. This will allow you to see if there are any issues or side effects during use.
To increase their benefits, apply pressure and massage the seeds in a circular motion for one to three minutes. This also increases circulation.
Swap Them Out
Ear seeds will fall off on their own after about three to five days, so it’s important to change them out regularly. It’s really important to note that they shouldn’t be worn for more than five days, even if they stay in place.
Remove See Results!
After you’ve worn them for 3-4 days, it’s time to remove your ear seeds! You can either use tweezers or your nails - tweezers are usually easier.
Since ear seeds are tiny, make sure they don’t fall into the ear canal when you remove them. To ensure this doesn’t happen, tilt your head forward so your ear faces the ground. This way the seed will fall onto the ground and not in your ear upon removal.
However, if that does occur, contact your doctor as soon as possible for quick removal.
Pretty easy process, right?
Make Sure These Symptoms Don’t Occur While Wearing
Very few side effects can happen while wearing ear seeds. However, if any of these symptoms do occur, stop using the ear seeds immediately and remove them from your ear. Here's what you should look for:
Consult a medical professional if any of these symptoms occur or worsen over time.
Are Other Side Effects Possible?
Ear seeds work as a generally safe, non-invasive + holistic (whole body) treatment. There’s no need for acupuncture needles, as ear seeds provide similar results. However, if not careful, the seeds can cause sores on the ear. This happens most often when they’re worn for too long without a proper rotation or removal.
In addition, some people who’ve used ear seeds reported experiencing:
As always, if you experience any adverse effects, seek the advice of a healthcare professional to make sure it's not serious.
There are Three Types of Seeds
Not everyone will react the same way to the seeds’ base materials. Thankfully, they’re sold in three different materials:
Although it’s uncommon, those who have sensitivity issues often opt for ceramic or vaccaria. More people tend to be sensitive to the metal.
Our Final Thoughts
So, what are ear seeds? We now know they’re a holistic alternative + complementary healing medicine designed to aid with a variety of symptoms similar to how acupuncture works.
With so many holistic options available, this one is non-invasive and works with your daily routine. What could be better?
The ancient history of this plant shows its lasting power, and we love that these seeds have been shown to have years of credible experience in other cultures.
So, if you’re struggling with one or more of the symptoms we mentioned, it may be time to give ear seeds a go! Believe us, this holistic approach is a “must try!”