The Cone of Fire – El Cono de Fuego

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. English translation is below!

El otro fin de semana, Carlos tenía dolor de oido, sentía que tenía fluido por dentro, y me pidió una cura. Empecé a enumerar los remedios caseros, pero Carlos no estaba entusiasmado por ninguno de ellos. Entonces me acordé de una pintura de Carmen Lomas Garza llamado Ventosa, que muestra un cono hecho de periódico con fuego en el oído de alguien. Le conté a Carlos y quiso hacerlo.

Hice un poco de investigación y luego decidimos probarlo. La primera vez lo hicimos en el comedor y eso era un gran error. El suelo en nuestra casa es alfombra y algunas cenizas empezaron a caer, creando un peligro de incendio. Cuando el fuego en el cono creció me dio pánico y no sabía cómo apagarlo. Abrí la puerta de atrás y lo tiré al patio.

Después Carlos me dijo que no se sentía mejor y unas horas más tarde quería tratar otra vez. Esta vez lo hicimos en la bañera, pero una vez más cuando el fuego creció un poco fuera de control, me ponía nerviosa. Yo creo que este remedio casero es demasiado peligroso por casas en los Estados Unidos, la mayoría que son hechas de puras cosas inflamables.

Al final, Carlos dijo que el “cono de fuego”, como lo llamamos, realmente no le ayudaba. Intenté uno de los primeros remedios que había mencionado originalmente – gotitas de aceite de oliva en el oído. Ahora se siente mejor.

¿Tienes experiencia con el “cono de fuego”? Funciona para ti?


The other weekend, Carlos had an earache – he felt like he had fluid in his ear and he asked me for a cure. I started to list home remedies I knew of, but Carlos wasn’t enthusiastic about any of them. Then I remembered a Carmen Lomas Garza painting called Ventosa, which shows a newspaper cone of fire in someone’s ear. I told Carlos about it and he wanted to do it.

I did a little research and then decided to try it. The first time we did it in the dining room which was a big mistake. The flooring is carpet in our house and some ash began to fall, creating a fire hazard. When the fire grew bigger on the cone I panicked and didn’t know how to put it out. I unlocked the back door and threw it onto the patio.

Afterward Carlos told me he wasn’t feeling better and a few hours later he wanted to try again. This time we did it in the bathtub, but again when the fire grew a little out of control, I got nervous. I think this home remedy is too dangerous for homes in the United States, which are made ​​of purely flammable things.

In the end, Carlos said the “cone of fire”, as we call it, didn’t really help. I tried one of the first remedies that I had originally mentioned – drops of olive oil in the ear. Now he feels better.

Do you have experience with the “cone of fire?” – Does it work for you?


  1. This is so funny! I had never heard of olive oil in the ear — I’ll have to try that next time I have an earache (I always get one when I’m sick in the winter, although maybe now that I’m in El Salvador that won’t happen!). I have heard of “ear candling,” which I think is similar. They sell kits in the store and it removes earwax. One of my old coworkers always used to talk about it, during lunch which was gross.

    (It was too early to try to write this comment in Spanish.) Aquí tiene mi entrada:

  2. I’ve also heard of ear candling, there was even an episode of the kardashians about it and when kris did it to Bruce there weren’t any big flames so maybe something store bought would be safer.

  3. My dad did the “cone of fire” on me when I had an ear ache from flying for the first time and no one told me to chew gum or yawn so I could relieve the pressure in my ears. It worked instantly! I couldn’t believe it. It does work, but maybe not for what you were doing. Maybe it’s just for air pressure.

    • I can see how this might work for trapped air or evaporating fluids in the ear, it just didn’t work for Carlos — and that’s quite possibly because the fire freaked me out and I didn’t keep it in his ear long enough LOL

      Thanks for sharing your experience with this remedy!

  4. Si funciona, tenes que hacerlo lo mas fino posible, encender de manera pareja el final del cono, esperar a que el fuego aunente creando un vacio, se ve de repente como una explosion de fuego por una fraccion de segundo(hace el efecto ventosa que saca el agua o aire atrapado) y luego ya se sentirma mucho mejor.

    • Gracias por dejar las instrucciones en español, Jorge Luis. Ojala ayuda alguien que está buscanda la información. Saludos!

  5. Being a nursing student and a Hispanic my self who grew up doing this practice in my family, I now realize why at times this procedure worked and why at times it did not. The cone on fire is most effective when the ear is clogged with negative pressure from air such as when going up a mountain too fast or on an airplane. If there is excessive ear wax then the clinic can do an ear irrigation to remove wax. The Olive oil will probably only work if there is a very minor ear infection since Olive oil does have little anti microbial properties. Aside from that if the remedies do not work after a few day please go see your dr or go to a clinic bc you might have an infection.

  6. I use steam to thin it out and warm water to to clean the dirt off the outer ear It is much safer than fire

  7. The smoke is suppose to flow in the ear. It works! My dad use to do this to us and or smoke and blow the smoke in the air. It worked!!

  8. It worked for me I don’t know how but usually if there was a wooshhh of air out of the cone from my ear the ache would stop and all was good .Yes I’m Mexican born in USA. From a border town in Texas .Still don’t know how it works but it does .

  9. Don’t remember if the remedy worked but the sheer terror i experienced as a toddler when my parents did this on me still leaves an impression. And I’m over half a century old, haha.

  10. I woke up with hearing loss in mu left ear. I went to the ENT and they said I had significant hearing loss. They wanted to put my on steroids and give me a steroid shot in my ear. Luckily they could fit me in until days later. My mom tried this remedy on me and there was a big poof of fire. No joke my hearing came back about 80%. I plan on doing it again….and no steroid shots in the ear😊

    • I’m glad you’re doing better and hope you heal 100%.

      (Just to be super clear, for legal and safety reasons, this blog post is not meant as a tutorial. I’m not a medical professional and can’t take responsibility if anyone suffers injury or destruction of their home due to fire. I don’t know the science behind how this home remedy might work and it can be very dangerous, so for that reason I don’t recommend people do it unless they or someone they know has first hand knowledge/experience with it.)

  11. Yes, it works.
    Many people are afraid of the fire. If you put the cone in the ear, have a bowl of water readiy and near by.
    The fire shouldn’t get so close to the head or hair. The top of the cone should only burn 2-3 inches by this time you’ll see and hear a poof of air. Quickly remove the cone, give it a few moments and add a couple of drops of olive oil or mineral oil and put a small cotton ball to hold in the oil.
    If this doesn’t feel better in an hour or so, see an ENT it could be something more serious.
    I was brought with this and can vouch it will work.

  12. I use the cone trick all the time. It works for me.
    I have noticed that when the fire gets big that there is what feels like popping about to happen. When you first start you will hear this small crackling then if there is air in the ear it will be a big pop sound and it actually feels good. I always do it close to water so after the pop I can just put the newspaper in water.

  13. Yes having an ear ache my girlfriend rolled the newspaper just like the picture. When she lit the top of the newspaper the smoke funnels down the tube into my ear the smoke draws out the pressure and it will be a strong release of air out of the newspaper into the air air releasing the ache and you immediately stuff a cotton ball into your ear so that the air doesn’t come back into your ear causing the ear ache. Best remedy for an ear ache let me tell you!. The reason he didn’t get the relief is because the air wasn’t released.

  14. I grew up having this done to me and now i also do this to all my children and it always works never had a problem ..

  15. Have been doing this since I was just a kid. A remedy for ear issues from my Grandpa from Mexico. He’d roll that newspaper into a cone, light it on fire so the heat goes inside the ear. Feels really good and if you have any air, it’ll blow out. The cone will do a big “pooooof” when the air comes out.

  16. You are supposed to go outside and watch the fire closely. You let the cone burn until the person feels a woosh of air or you see it then you take it out and put a cotton ball in the ear. Wave the ashes away from the persons face for safety reasons lol. My mom did this on our back patio for me whenever I had an earache and it worked like a charm. She always covered me with a towel or blanket so I wasn’t scared of the fire!

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