Karnapurana – Ayurvedic Ear Oiling

Karnapurana is another excellent Ayurvedic method that can help to prevent as well as relieve migraine attacks. However, it is secondary to nasya or Ayurvedic nasal drops. 

It works very well for people uncomfortable with Nasya like children, people who have asthma, breathing problems, etc. Some people are not comfortable with the pain caused by some Ayurvedic nasal drops like Anu Tailam. Also, if you feel breathlessness or anxiety during the nasya treatment, Karna Purana or ear oiling might be a good start for you. In that case, they can club karnapurna with a milder nasal drop for an enhanced effect. Once you start feeling the benefits, you can try nasya and other treatment options. 

Karnapurana is an excellent preventive measure if you face a loss of hearing or any other types of auditory disorders during a migraine attack. Even if you suffer from mild migraines without any aural complications, it is advisable to use Karna Purana as a preventive measure against hearing complications during a migraine. 

How Karnapurana works 

As we saw earlier, a vitiated vata dosha is primarily responsible for migraine attacks. Now, interestingly, the ear is one of the primary abode of vata dosha. And therefore, hearing complications are common in severe forms of migraine. 

For more information on dosha –


Dosha in Simpler Terms

Qualities of Dosha

Functions of Dosha

Vestibulocochlear nerve connects the ear(inner ear) to the brain(lower portion of the pons). It is the cranial nerve responsible for hearing and balance. It is accompanied by the facial nerve as well. The vestibular part is responsible for maintaining balance, and its cochlear part relay sound sensation. 

Vata dosha is related to the quality of dryness. Excessive dryness and lack of nutrition due to vitiated vata dosha can lead to drying and shriveling up of the myelin sheath that covers the nerves. Deteriorated myelin sheath can dissipate the electric signals or might cause hyperexcitation in the auditory pathway. Therefore, in the case of diseases like migraine, ear pain, loss of hearing, blurred hearing, dizziness can be due to hyper-excitation of the vestibulocochlear nerve.  

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The eustachian tube connects the ear cavity to the throat cavity, and therefore these areas are also affected. 

Eustachian tubes help to drain the mucus from the ear cavity to the throat. It also helps to maintain balance in the air pressure of the middle ear. It opens naturally every time we swallow. 

In the case of nervous hyperexcitation, the muscles that regulate the closing and opening of the eustachian tube might get affected. A partial or entirely dysfunctional eustachian tube might contribute to hearing loss during a migraine. 

So, the basic concept is that – due to vata induced excessive dryness, there is hyper-excitation in the ear-related nerves. This dryness leads to various symptoms like pain. And therefore, if we can somehow prevent this dryness, sooth the hyper-excited nerves and balance vata dosha, all these symptoms should go away. 

Home-made Options for Karnapurana    

The ancient text describes lots of Ayurvedic herbs and herbal preparations. However, I am covering – the easiest to find and use preparations. 

Mostly use of medicated or regular oil is recommended in Karna Purana. Oil is the perfect remedy for all kinds of vata disorders. And best of all is the regular mustard oil. 

Normal Earache

Mustard oil is unctuous, warm, and heavy, and it can amply balance dry, cold, and light nature of vata dosha. 

Sesame oil is also a suitable option. 

Acute Ear-pain

In case of sharp ear pain and dizziness, try the use of warm castor oil. It is also instrumental as a preventive therapy for hearing the loss of migraine attacks. 

Ayurveda is all simplicity. Unless you have severe ear problems, simple use of cold-pressed oils can bring amazing results. 

Ayurvedic Oil Purification – Taila Murchana 

Usually, the cold-pressed oil is frothy, esp mustard, coconut, or sesame oil. According to Ayurveda, cold-pressed oil has certain impurities in terms of ama(toxin production) or difficulty in digestion. These impurities should be cleared before using it for food or medicinal purposes. The process used for oil purification is called taila murchana. Before the use of any regular oil in ear-oiling, you must purify it through the Ayurvedic taila murchana procedure. 

Simple Murchana Technique

Step 1: Heat the oil until it starts to produce foam. Continue to heat it till the foam disappears completely. 

Step 1 is enough to remove impurities from regular cold-pressed oil. However, if you have time, you can further process the oil. 

Step 2:There is a list of herbal ingredients recommended in Sharangdhara Samhita, used to purify the oils. The purifying combination for each oil differs a little. However, three components – awla, vibhitak, and haritaki are standard in most cases. These three ingredients together constitute the Triphala powder. Therefore, if the other herbs are not readily available, you can do taila murchana using ordinary Triphala powder available in the market. Another important ingredient is haldi or turmeric

A detailed process of taila murchana can be found here – https://ijraps.in/index.php/ijraps/article/view/14/18

However, it is not necessary to use all the ingredients mentioned in the classical text. You can use all readily available herbs with reasonably good results. 

Today refined oils are also processed to remove frothing agents from the oil. However, the toxic chemicals used in the refinement process(like hexane) have a seriously detrimental effect on our health.    

Best time for Karnapurana 

Vata dosha is the dominating dosha that governs the entire auditory function. It comprises of space and air(activity) elements that form the basis of sound. 

Vata dosha has five subtypes – prana, udana, samana, vyana, apana. According to Ayurveda, the vata subtype (prana vayu) that directly governs all the sense organs and receives inputs for the entire head region is prana vayu. Prana vayu gets stimulated after dinner/sunset. It is active to carry and absorb the medicine properly. Therefore, this is the best time for karnapurana. 

Besides, it is convenient to do karnapurana at night as your ear can better retain the medicine in a lying/sleeping position. Hence, for practical purposes also, after dinner is the best time for karnapurana. 

The above time recommendation applies to wellness and preventive purposes only. However, if you have acute ear pain, hearing loss due to migraines, or any such severe condition, you can apply karnapurana SOS. 

If you choose to oil both ears at the same time, put oil in each ear after a minimum of 15-30 min alternately. Otherwise, you can oil the first ear one night and the second ear in the next night. 

We have practiced at it home for many years, and there is no problem if you leave the oil overnight in the ear.   

To-Dos on the night of Karnapurana

  • Avoid eating heavy(junk)food at night. 
  • Avoid cabbage, cauliflower, brinjal, green peas, leafy vegetables, urad dal(black gram) in dinner. 
  • Try to have regular home-made and light food – roti, rice, curry(sabji), moong dal, etc. 
  • Avoid staying hungry for long or skipping meals. 
  • Avoid karnapurana during fasting. 
  • Non-vegetarian people can have chicken soup and rice for dinner. 
  • Avoid staying up late at night. 

Also look at Ayurvedic Lifestyle for Excellent Digestion

Ayurvedic process of Karnapurana 

Described below is the detailed process of karnapurana based on the Ashtang Hridaya 18th Chapter. You can skip the first 2-3 steps if not convenient — however, massage and fomentation of the ear help in better oil absorption. 

Step 1: 

Pre-karnapurana ghee: 

Mix 5 gm each of clove, fresh ginger, methi seeds, cumin seeds, bay leaf, black cardamom, green cardamom. Grind them to a paste using a suitable amount of water. Let the mixture sit for 10-15 min. 

Heat 100 gm ghee and add the above mixture in it. Heat at the slow flame to evaporate the water completely. Stir to prevent the spices from burning. Let the ghee cool on its own and store in a glass jar.       

You should consume this medicated ghee the night of karnapurana, according to hunger. A dosage of 10-50 gm is right for an average adult. 

Note: all ear filling or karnapurana liquids (oils/decoctions) should be used at a lukewarm and comfortable temperature. 

Karnapurana process 

Step 2:

After dinner, do massage for 10-15 min for each ear that you want to oil. Ideal oils for ear massage are warm mustard/sesame/castor oil. You can also use Mahanarayana tailam, Baladi tailam, Panchguna tailam, Mahamasha tailam, or Lakshmi Vilas tailam. 

For more information on the massage points for ear-pain, tinnitus, etc. visit –https://www.modernreflexology.com/ear-acupressure-points-to-treat-earache-and-tinnitus/

You can skip this step when you require urgent ear-pain relief.  

Step 3: Take a cotton pad/folded cloth or any instrument for fomentation. Heat it using a hot Tava, microwave, or Ironing machine. Apply an appropriately heated pad to the ear for 5-10 minutes.  

Step 4: Warm approx. 5 ml of the medicated oil for each ear. You can use any of the below-mentioned oils for general ear/head pain, migraine or sinusitis related hearing problems. 

  • Purified Mustard oil
  • Purified Sesame oil 
  • Purified Castor oil
  • Shadbindu tailam 

Step 5:Pull the ear loob and insert warm oil inside the ear using a cotton swab or a dropper. 

Move your mouth as if you are chewing something. This will helps to open the eustachian canal, balance the pressure in the ears, and helps the mucus/blockages/extra oil to drain through the canal.

Fill 2-6 drops in each ear according to convenience.  

Step 6:Close the ear opening with a cotton swab after 10-15 minutes. Continue to chew if you feel that oil is stuck in the middle ear.  


  • Check the heat of karnapurana oil by dropping on your wrist skin before oiling. 
  • Make sure that you practice chewing exercise while oiling. 

Extra Karnapurana preparation –

for acute earache, tinnitus, hearing loss due to primary disorders like migraine, sinusitis, etc.(derived from Ashtanga Hridya 18)

Recipe 1

General Ear Pain

Mix a pinch each of asafoetida, Nepali dhaniya (Zanthoxylum armatum), and dry ginger in 10 ml water. Warm 10 ml mustard oil and add the solution mentioned above. Heat the oil at low flame till all the water evaporates. This oil can help to significantly reduce ear pain, loss of hearing, and other ear problems.  

Note: In case you are not able to procure Zanthoxylum armatum, go ahead with the other two ingredients. 

All the oils used in karnapurana should be processed according to the Taila murchana process. Alternatively, you can buy some Ayurvedic preparations online. 

Recipe 2

Acute Ear Pain

This recipe is a special preparation for all kinds of severe earaches. Ideally, the ingredients should be prepared with a special method called putpak. However, for the sake of convenience, we can cook the ingredients on a gas stove. 

Ingredients – 

(collect 5-6 fresh leaves of following trees/plants) 

  • Peepal 
  • Bel(wood apple) 
  • Madar(Calotropis gigantea) 
  • Radish 
  • Aralu(Ailanthus excelsa Roxb.) 

If you are not able to find any of the ingredients, prepare with the available ingredients. 


  • Wash the leaves properly and dry them on a cloth. 
  • (The traditional way – Smear them with sesame oil.) Alternately, you can add oil in the cooking pan later. 
  • Moderately heat a cooking pan with lid. Put the leaves and some sesame oil( approx. 1/2 tsp) in the pan.
  • Add 1/4 tsp saindhav lavan(rock salt) to the mixture. 
  • Heat at the slow flame for 5-6 min. Leave the pan to cool down. 
  • Strain lukewarm liquid from the above mixture. 
  • Apply it according to the karnapurana procedure.  


Make sure that the flame is slow. Otherwise, the medicated liquid might get evaporated. 

Recipe 3 

Acute Earache, Tinnitus, Loss of Hearing 


(prepare with easily available pure ingredients)

  • 10 ml of Cow urine 

5 gm each of the following herbs – 

  • Devdaru(Cedrus deodara) 
  • Tagar(valerian) 
  • Kooth(Saussurea lappa) 
  • Dashmoola powder 
  • Bala(Sida cordifolia)
  • Punarnava(Boerhavia diffusa) 
  • Castor seeds
  • Clove 
  • Ginger powder
  • Methi seeds 
  • Cumin seeds 
  • Sesame oil (100 ml) 
  • A2 Cow Ghee (100 ml)

Alternately, you can also add castor oil in the preparation. Avoid mixing any essential oil in this preparation. 

Use plain water if you are unable to use Cow urine.  


  • Grind all the available ingredients in the cow urine/water to make a fine flowy paste. 
  • Heat the mixture of cow ghee and sesame oil in a pan on slow flame. 
  • Add the herbal paste when ghee and oil are well mixed. 
  • Heat the preparation on a slow flame to evaporate water. 
  • Allow the preparation to cool on its own and store it in a glass jar. 
  • Warm the required amount of medicated liquid before every use.   

There are innumerous possible combinations according to the health status, age, and prakrati(body constitution) of a person. 

It is natural to feel daunted by something that you have never tried. So, I would suggest that if you are new to Ayurveda and karnapuran, start with plain froth free sesame oil. And gradually, you can move to more complicated procedures according to your needs. 

May this information brings the best to you!  

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