Cono de Fuego

An excited couple show off their new BarbacoApparel Cone of Fire art print at First Friday at Brick Marketplace.  

An excited couple show off their new BarbacoApparel Cone of Fire art print at First Friday at Brick Marketplace.  

Most of us have experienced an earache or plugged ears at least once. If you remember having problems with earaches when you were a kid, you know how unpleasant those aches can be. A quick search on the Web yields plenty of at-home remedies you can try to relieve ear pangs ― from chewing gum to using oils and rubbing alcohol. But there’s one particular method that hits home for many locals.

We’ve recently paid homage to ear coning, or ear candling (po-tay-to, po-ta-to), with our Cono de Fuego (Cone of Fire) postcard and art print. As iconic as the donkey lady and fideo are for many San Antonians, so too is ear coning. If you’ve ever tried it, then you can probably relate with our sentiments. If you’re not familiar with this old-school practice, however, then hear us out!

Francisco Huizar (left) helps a brotha out! One end of the cone is inserted into the ear canal, then the opposite end is lit. (Note: Matt was not harmed during the coning session.)

Francisco Huizar (left) helps a brotha out! One end of the cone is inserted into the ear canal, then the opposite end is lit. (Note: Matt was not harmed during the coning session.)

Richard tries ear coning at home. (Note: Richard was not harmed during the coning session.)

Richard tries ear coning at home. (Note: Richard was not harmed during the coning session.)

Ear coning is performed by lighting one end of a paper cone (or hollow candle, if you’re dealing with something store bought) and placing the opposite end inside the ear canal. The practice holds its basis on the idea that the fire will create a suction through the funnel, thereby drawing out any earwax buildup or air trapped inside the ear canal. So, does this really work? That answer likely depends on who you ask. Some people will swear by it and tell you it has worked for them, and others will dismiss it and say it's nonsense. We'll just let you decide for yourself. If you look at online sources like WebMD and Mayo Clinic, you’ll find research that shows ear coning/candling is not an effective method for removing earwax and could potentially cause injury. (But that’s never stopped the people from trying!)

Ear coning has been in practice for many generations. We all have that grandma or dad or uncle who always seems to have a solution for almost anything, and we're lucky for it! Where would we be without our remedies for things like earaches, the common cold, insomnia, mal de ojo (evil eye) ― or even hangovers?! (We're looking at you, menudo!) We're glad to be a part of a rich culture with deep-seated traditions. We like to keep traditions alive. If that means risking a bit of hair or eyebrow for the sake of relief, then, so be it. (But we'd really like to keep those, please!) And, hey, if it turns out that ear coning is not the most appropriate solution for your ear troubles, you have to admit, it’s certainly one of the most funny looking!

BarbacoApparel's 7" x 5" Cono de Fuego post card will help you remember the steps to ear coning ― just don't set your ear on fire! 

BarbacoApparel's 7" x 5" Cono de Fuego post card will help you remember the steps to ear coning ― just don't set your ear on fire! 

Check out this fun photo of Nina Diaz and Jenn Alva from Girl in a Coma's Instagram profile. We think it's pretty cool to see younger generations keeping traditions alive. Have you tried ear coning? If so, how was your experience? Or have you tried any other remedies that were passed down to you? Share your stories with us in the comments below! Oh, and in case we forgot to mention, you know the saying: don't try this at home!