Shingles are caused by varicella zoster virus that remains dormant in the nervous system for years and becomes active when the immune system becomes weaker. It leads to itching and stabbing pain. It causes painful rashes on the body, which are also termed as “Herpes Zoster’’. The risk of shingles increases with the age. The very first symptom of shingles is tingling sensation on the skin or pain. After some time, red rashes appear on the body which are followed by the painful blisters. HIV and cancer patients and the people who recently had an organ transplant are more prone to develop shingles. It lasts for three to five weeks. Doctors prescribe an antiviral medication for the treatment of shingles. It can help shorten the duration of shingles and gives relief from the symptoms. There are also some home remedies to get rid of shingles, which you can try without worrying about the side effects.
Home Remedies for Shingles
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
ACV is a natural astringent and packed with antimicrobial properties that help eliminate the blisters.Soak a washcloth in apple cider vinegar and cover the lesion with it. You will surely get instant relief. Repeat it twice a day until you get completely cured.
- Alternatively, add 2 tbsp of ACV in a glass of fresh juice or water. Have it daily to accelerate the healing process.
2. Colloidal Silver
Colloidal silver helps treat shingles due to its antibiotic nature. Take a glass of filtered water and add a tsp of colloidal silver to it. Have it 6-7 times a day for three months. Afterwards, take it three times for the next three months. Along with this, it can be used topically.
3. Cayenne Pepper
Capsaicin compound found in cayenne pepper blocks the pain signals from the nerves, located beneath the skin, and soothes the pain. You can make a paste by mixing cayenne pepper with any moisturizing cream or yogurt. Then, apply it on the affected skin after every 4-5 hours.
- Or else, squeeze out two tbsp of fresh aloe gel and add half tsp of cayenne pepper to it. Apply it to the affected skin.
4. Hydrogen Peroxide
It is one of the best home remedies for shingles. Hydrogen peroxide can reduce inflammation and infection of the shingles. It suppresses the blisters, thereby giving you some relief.
5. Epsom Salt and Baking Soda
Add 1½ cups of Epsom salt and a cup of baking soda powder into the bathtub and fill it with the lukewarm water. Let it dissolve completely. Immerse yourself in this solution for 15 minutes. This will reduce the inflammation, itching and pain, associated with shingles.
Note: Don’t dry off your body with a towel as it can irritate the rashes and blisters.
6. Cabbage Poultice
Cabbage leaves are effective in healing the pain and inflammation. Take some green cabbage leaves and bruise them using a rolling pin. Then microwave it at 200-degree temperature for two minutes. Now apply it on the affected area and wrap it with plastic. It helps absorb the toxins which, in turn, speed up the healing process.
One can apply the mixture of yogurt and zinc oxide. If you use this remedy before the outburst, it will help control the eruption of blisters.
- Or else, consume yogurt as it contains probiotics that help flush out the toxins from the body.
Turmeric has an anti-inflammatory substance called ‘curcumin’ that helps soothe the pain, and its antiseptic properties prevent further infection. Prepare turmeric paste and apply it to the affected part.
Pear contains antiviral caffeic acid, which helps fight against the virus and treats shingles effectively. You can either eat a pear or drink its juice.
10. Organic Honey
The healing properties of honey help treat the damaged skin and nourish it deeply. Apply honey on the inflamed skin several times a day, to get rid of shingles.
- Or else, take a bandage and pour honey on it. Now, apply it to the blisters.
11. Virgin Coconut Oil
The antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties of coconut oil fight off the shingles causing virus. Rub it directly on the affected skin thrice a day, in order to reduce the swelling and pain.
- Or else, dip gauze in the virgin coconut oil and place it on the affected skin. Replace it after a few hours.
- Alternatively, combine two tbsp of coconut oil and one tbsp of eucalyptus oil. Use this mixture to treat shingles.
12. Nail Polish Remover
You can use nail polish remover to treat shingles. Simply dab a cotton ball in the acetone-based nail polish remover and apply to on the skin. Wash it off after 15 minutes.
Since garlic is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial in nature; it can treat the shingles infection. Crush 10-15 garlic cloves (peeled) and apply it directly on the affected skin. Wash off after 45 minutes with cold water. Do this thrice a day for 15 days.
Note: Do not mix water in the crushed garlic cloves.
Herbal Remedies for Shingles
14. Rosehip Oil
This essential oil moisturizes the skin deeply and prevents dryness. Mix rosehip oil and olive oil in equal proportion and rub gently on the affected area, two times a day.
15. Tea Tree Oil
The antibacterial and antiviral properties of tea tree oil help treat shingles infection. Since essential oils are strong; you need to mix them with any carrier oil. For instance, mix 7 ml olive oil in 3 ml of tea tree oil. Apply it gently four times a day, for around 15 days.
16. Indian Lilac
The antiviral properties of Indian lilac ward off the zoster virus and eliminate the pain. Boil water in a large container and add a handful of Indian lilac leaves to it. Simmer it for 15 minutes. Allow the solution to cool down and then strain. Now, soak a washcloth in it and place it on the affected area. Do it four to five times a day.
The anaesthetic properties of this herb help give relief from the pain. You can use a calendula-based lotion on the affected skin, three times a day. It also heals blisters and prevents itching.
Grind plantain in a blender and add lukewarm water to make a paste. Apply this on the inflamed skin to reduce the pain and tingling sensation. You can also add a few mint leaves while making this paste.
19. Green Tea
Drink this herbal tea four to five times a day, to gain its benefits. Its antiviral properties help disintegrate the virus and prevent its further growth. Besides, it keeps you relaxed and stress-free.
Apply the tincture of this herb, thrice a day. Also, consume myrrh tincture (one dropper) four times daily, to expedite the healing process. Follow this remedy until you recover completely.
21. Olive Leaf Extract
Oleuropein, a substance present in olive leaf extract, suppresses the effect of shingles causing virus. Take its powdered form and add olive oil or oregano oil to it. Rub it on the affected area to get relief. You may also use its tincture.
22. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera gel can help reduce the blisters from the skin. You can either take out the fresh pulp from its leaves or else, buy a bottle of aloe gel from a healthcare store.
Note: Don’t try to consume aloe gel for shingles treatment as it would not be effective if taken internally.
23. Jamaican Dogwood
The presence of active ingredients (isoflavonoids) in Jamaican dogwood proves helpful in treating the neuralgic pain. The affected person can use its tincture. However, this herb should be consumed after consulting a skilled herbal practitioner.
- It is strictly prohibited for moms-to-be and children.
- Avoid excessive consumption as it may lead to respiratory paralysis.
24. Oat Straw
Oat straw is commonly used to treat shingles. It strengthens the nervous system, which thereby reduces the severity of this disease. You can brew its tea or use it in the form of liquid extract, tincture, or powder.
25. Mullein Leaves
Boil a few mullein leaves in a cup of water for 15 minutes. A warm compress of this decoction can be applied to the rashes, using a cotton ball. It works tremendously to cure shingles.
26. Chamomile Tea
The antibacterial and antiviral properties of chamomile help reduce the severity of this infection. You can take chamomile tea bath to reduce the burning sensation and itching.
27. Lemon Balm
This non-toxic herb is packed with antiviral properties that are helpful in killing the shingles causing virus. Brew an herbal tea by adding a few leaves of lemon balm in the boiling water. Steep it for a couple of minutes and strain later. Sip this infusion slowly.
28. Mint Leaves
Take a handful of mint leaves. Crush them and add water to make a paste. Apply it on the blisters. The coolant properties of mint work as a pain-reliever and reduce the burning sensation.
29. Passion Flower
Passion flower helps restore the damaged nerves and speed up the process of healing. The flavonoids present in it are antiviral and anti-inflammatory in nature. Besides, it helps keep you relaxed and stress-free. Just prepare an herbal decoction by steeping the passion flowers in the boiling water for 10 minutes. Or else, eat 4-8 grams of dried passion flowers, thrice a day.
Note: It is not recommended for pregnant women and children.
30. Baikal Skullcap
It is an anti-inflammatory herb. Scutellaria baicalensis or baikal skullcap is applied externally on the blisters. Prepare a paste by mixing its crushed roots with water. It should be applied thrice a day, to get relief from the pain.
Note: Pregnant women and nursing mothers must not use this herb.
31. St. John’s Wort
The pain-relieving and tranquilizing properties of this herb soothe the nerves. It can be taken internally in the form of tea, capsule, or tincture. Besides, one can use its lotion or oil.
Note: Avoid sun exposure while using this herb.
It fights against bacteria and virus that, in turn, boosts the immune system. You can make a powder from its dried leaves, and spray it on the lesions. It can also be consumed in the form of tea, thrice daily.
33. Dong Quai
Boil dried Dong Quai in water for 5-10 minutes. Drink this herbal infusion daily to relieve the pain and irritation, associated with shingles.
34. Valerian Roots
Valerian is helpful in reducing the stress and nervousness. You can prepare an herbal tea by boiling its roots in the water.
Note: Drinking this tea at bedtime is more beneficial.
Liquorice is effective in relieving the pain and inflammation caused by shingles. Soak 1-2 teaspoons of crushed dry liquorice in a cup of boiled water for 10-15 minutes. Apply the prepared paste on the affected area.
- Take plenty of rest.
- Wash your hands properly.
- Take a cool bath; it will help relieve the pain. But, make sure that the water is not too cold.
- Use calamine lotion to get relief from the pain and irritation.
- Have a diet rich in antioxidants, minerals and vitamins, to strengthen your immune system.
- Consume citrus fruits and foods rich in lysine like milk, eggs, apple, pear, apricot, pineapple, meat, fish, and yogurt.
- You can go for a brisk walk or do yoga, biking, swimming to keep stress at bay.
- Clothes and other items that come in contact with an infected person must be washed with the hot water.
- People aged 60 or above should get vaccinated against shingles after consulting a healthcare professional.
- Don’t scratch the blisters as it will be more painful. They will fall off naturally.
- Don’t use a harsh towel to wipe your body.
- Avoid food that are rich in arginine like cashews, tomatoes, grapes, pumpkin seeds, chocolate, sugars, blackberries, blueberries, peanuts, etc.
- Stay away from humid areas.
- Say no to dairy products, processed foods, meat, junk food, and refined flour.
- Avoid spicy and deep fried food.