Shingles is a medical term used to refer to a painful rash on the skin that is the result of a viral infection. The rash manifests as a strip that often affects patches of the skin, thanks to the presence of herpes zoster. The infection is common in the elderly as well as those whose immune system has been compromised whether due to disorders, stressful conditions on the body or the use of specific medication. It is important to note that, for the most part, those affected by shingles do heal and this reduces the chances of getting it a second time, but it is still possible to get a second infection.

oatsThere is a connection between shingles and chicken pox for the simple reason that the zoster virus is responsible for both conditions. Typically, when one gets chicken pox, the virus is lodged in the body’s nervous system in an inert state post-treatment. The reactivation of the virus is what leads to shingles. Studies to-date, have not indicated the specific cause of the virus activation.

Some of the common symptoms of shingles include the characteristic skin rash and an accompanying stinging sensation. The rash commonly appears on the face, chest and butt. Depending on the severity of the infection, the rash may develop into blisters.Other symptoms include dizziness, bodily fatigue as well as a fever. The infection will often clear on its own after a fortnight or so. While there is medication that you can use to treat shingles, there are also a handful of natural remedies that come in handy whenever you need to ease the discomfort of shingles.


1. Cold Water:

Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: A clean towel and cold water in a basin.
Difficulty: Easy

 

Cold water is used as it numbs the pain from severe skin rash-turned blisters and provides you relief from the burning sensation. When splashed on the affected skin, the cold water also has the ability to ease the itching sensation, thus making the condition bearable. Note that due to the sensitivity of the skin, it is advisable to steer clear of ice packs as they may prove to be too cold for the skin. Since shingles are contagious, you need to ensure that you wash the towels after every session of use. This is imperative because it helps curb the spread of the viral infection.

Directions:

  1. Soak the towel in the water for 2 minutes and squeeze the excess water.
  2. Cover the rash and blisters with the towel, taking care to be as gentle as you can to prevent popping of the blisters.
  3. Leave the towel on the skin for about 15 minutes and then remove and wash the used towel.
  4. Use this remedy as often as required until the pain subsides.

 


2. Aloe Vera:

Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Freshly cut aloe vera leaf, sterile cotton wool and cold water to rinse.
Difficulty: Easy

 

Aloe vera is loved for its special soothing properties that allow it to ease the pain of the rash on the skin. The gel from the freshly cut plant also has anti-inflammatory properties that work by eliminating the pain and the burning sensation, overall speeding up the process of recovery. Regular use of this remedy has been shown to be extremely helpful, even after you have healed from shingles.

Directions:

  1. Press the freshly cut leaf and collect the gel in a shallow bowl. The amount of gel that you collect is dependent on the extent of the skin rash.
  2. Use the cotton wool to scoop some of the gel and apply on the rash.
  3. Massage the skin using the gel in gentle circular motions to enhance absorption and provide quick relief. Avoid doing this aggressively as it could easily cause the blisters to break.
  4. Leave the aloe vera gel on for half an hour.
  5. Rinse the skin using cold water to further provide relief from the stinging sensation caused by shingles.
  6. Use this remedy thrice daily for up to a week or until you notice the shingles have healed.

 


3. Oatmeal Paste:

Time Required: 20-30 Min
What You Need: 2 Cups of fine oatmeal powder and a warm bath. Alternatively, use 2 teaspoons of oatmeal powder, cotton wool and warm water.
Difficulty: Easy

 

Oatmeal, when mixed with water, creates a soothing paste when applied on the affected skin. The paste is packed with anti-irritating properties that help deal with the itchiness and reduce the persistent skin irritation linked to shingles. There are two ways you could use this remedy. You may opt to soak in a bath to which fine oatmeal powder has been added, or you may choose to create a paste which you will then apply locally on parts of the skin where the rash is present.

Directions:

A warm bath to soak in

  1. Add the fine oatmeal powder to the bath tub before you fill it with warm water.
  2. Soak in this bath for half an hour to enjoy the benefits of oatmeal’s soothing properties.
  3. You may use this remedy twice daily until you start to feel better.

Using oatmeal paste

  1. Prepare oatmeal paste for topical application on the shingles by mixing the coarse powder with just enough water to get your desired paste consistency.
  2. Use cotton wool to spread a generous amount of the paste over the shingles.
  3. Allow the paste to air dry, a process which takes about 20 minutes.
  4. Rinse the paste off the skin using warm water.
  5. Use this remedy at least thrice daily for best results.

 


4. Garlic:

Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 5 Cloves of garlic, a pinch of salt, pestle and mortar, cotton ball and warm water used to rinse.
Difficulty: Easy

 

Garlic is recommended for the natural treatment of shingles, thanks to its excellent anti-viral properties which help eliminate the zoster virus. The main active present in garlic is a sulfur compound known as allicin. Allicin helps fight off viral infections, and is an easy-to-get home remedy making it one of the most popular options for those with shingles. The method of preparation is simple and effective.

Directions:

  1. Peel each of the garlic clove and then chop into cubes before transferring to the mortar.
  2. Add a pinch of salt to the cloves and then pound well to create a thick garlic paste.
  3. Scoop some of the paste using the cotton ball and proceed to apply it on the affected skin.
  4. Leave the paste on for 5 minutes before rinsing with warm water. Do this twice daily for a fortnight or until the shingles is healed.
  5. You may choose to supplement this remedy by taking garlic supplements.

 


5. Warm Water:

Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Warm water in a basin and a clean towel or cotton ball.
Difficulty: Easy

 

Warm water makes for a convenient home remedy for the management of shingles especially in cases where the blisters have already formed. The water not only cleans the blistered skin, it also reduces the oozing of fluid while soothing the irritated and often inflamed skin. A point of concern for the use of this remedy is that you must ensure you clean the towel after use to contain the spread of the virus from one person to another.

Directions:

  1. Soak the towel or cotton wool in the warm water.
  2. Dab gently on the affected skin, ensuring that you wipe off the formed crusts.
  3. Use this remedy as often as required to soothe the skin and speed up the healing process.

 


6. Raw Organic Honey:

Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: Raw organic honey, sterile bandage and warm water.
Difficulty: Easy

 

Raw organic honey is an excellent home remedy for the natural treatment of shingles. This is because the honey not only soothes the skin, it also restores the skin’s natural glow. This works well for you as it speeds up the healing process for the blisters. Simply apply the honey on the skin as indicated below, and use daily for a couple of weeks or until the shingles clear.

Directions:

  1. Scoop some of the honey and apply it on the affected part of the skin.
  2. Place a sterile bandage over the shingles and cover for a couple of hours.
  3. Remove the bandage and re-apply a fresh layer of the honey as and when required.
  4. You may also add the raw honey to your diet in order to enjoy its healing properties: a teaspoon twice daily works effectively.

 


7. Sea Salt:

Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 2 Teaspoons of sea salt, 1/2 cup of warm water and cotton wool.
Difficulty: Easy

 

Sea salt is packed with natural healing properties, thanks to its antiseptic properties. When used in the home treatment of shingles, the topical application of the sea salt causes the blisters to dry out faster, in effect hastening the process of healing. As a general guide, it is advisable to avoid using excessive amounts of the salt as that is likely to cause irritation of the skin. Warm water is used to soothe the skin and compliment the healing properties of the sea salt.

Directions:

  1. Add the sea salt to the water and stir for complete dissolution.
  2. Place the cotton wool in the salt solution and apply on the affected skin.
  3. Use this remedy thrice daily for best results.

 


8. Coconut Oil:

Time Required: 15 Min
What You Need: Coconut oil, a warm bath and gauze.
Difficulty: Easy

 

Coconut oil, preferably virgin coconut oil, is packed with anti-inflammatory properties that help ideal with the pain and irritation associated with shingles. Its antiviral properties also make this remedy a perfect choice for treating the viral infection at home. The use of a warm bath is required as coconut oil tends to solidify in cold temperatures. This form of melting is preferable because it does not destroy the chemical structure of the oil.

Directions:

  1. Place the coconut oil in a bowl and then in the water bath if you need to melt it.
  2. When the coconut oil is warm enough, apply it on the skin and then place the gauze over the oily skin.
  3. Change the gauze and apply a fresh layer of the oil as often as is required.
  4. Do this daily until you notice that the condition of your skin has improved.

 


9. Apple Cider Vinegar:

Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Equal amounts of water and Apple cider vinegar and cotton towel.
Difficulty: Easy

 

Apple cider vinegar, one of the most popular home remedies for an array of skin conditions, is recommended for the treatment of shingles because of its natural healing properties. Abbreviated ACV, the vinegar disinfects the skin and helps clear the viral infection, overall speeding up the healing process. ACV also helps the blisters dry out while easing the itching.

Directions:

  1. Mix the water and ACV in equal ratios.
  2. Soak the cotton towel in the resulting solution and squeeze the excess solution.
  3. Dab the wet towel on the affected skin, and leave to air dry.
  4. Use the remedy severally daily until the viral infection clears.

 


In addition to the remedies listed above, it helps to keep your skin as dry as possible . Avoid picking and poking at the crusty blisters, as well as sharing items of personal nature. Lastly, if the infection does not clear after a couple of weeks, seek medical advice.