Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a viral infection of the nerve and the skin around it. This infection is caused by varicella-zoster virus, which is also the virus responsible for causing chickenpox.
Shingles generally affect a particular area on one side of the body and do not cross the midline of the body (it is an imaginary line on your body running from between your eyes down beyond the belly button). The major symptom of Shingles can be an aching rash, which later develops into itchy blisters that carry the particles of the virus. Here are few other signs and symptoms that are commonly seen in people suffering from Shingles:
- An individual may experience throbbing, stabbing pain and or deep burning sensation that may last long in some cases.
- There might be a prickling sensation over the affected areas of the skin, which may later be followed by the appearance of cluster of fluid-filled blisters over the red and inflamed base of the skin.
- Some individuals may experience pain on one side of the body or face, which is often followed by headaches, chills, upset stomach or fever.
There is no known cure for Shingles and that is why people turn to Home Remedies including Essential Oils.
My aim is to simplify and clarify important concepts about Shingles so you feel much more confident about your treatment options.
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6 Best Essential Oils To Use For Painful Skin Conditions Like Shingles and PHN Symptoms
One of the most effective remedy for long lasting relief in conditions like Shingles is Aromatherapy. Many essential oils like Bergamot, Lemon and Eucalyptus can be quite helpful in clearing the infection in a natural manner and without being harsh on the skin. Having said that, here are some of the good essential oils that are proven to be effective in conditions like Shingles:
1. Ravintsara essential oil
Ravintsara has been in use since ages for its ability to clear any kind of skin infection. You can have your pain and inflammation alleviated in just a few days of the use of this oil. In addition, the strong antiviral nature of this essential oil makes it most suitable for topical use. In order to amplify the affect, use this oil with Tamanu Oil (Calophyllum).
2. Bergamot essential oil
Bergamot is known for its healing affect. When used for Shingles, it will not only heal the blisters but also get you long lasting relief from the pain. While being a potent analgesic, Bergamot is also an anti-viral and a powerful anti depressant.
3. Geranium essential oil
My experience says that Geranium when rubbed on the skin begins its action immediately and relieves the pain within 2 to 10 minutes. However, for a sustainable relief it is necessary to use the oil continuously for 10-15 days.
4. Chamomile essential oil
Due to its highly relaxing nature and its ability to heal, Chamomile is quite useful as a treatment for the Shingles. It is very relaxing for the nerves and soothing for all kinds of skin.
5. Tea Tree Oil
Aborigine tribes used Tea Tree oil as an antibacterial for centuries. While Tea Tree is an astringent that works to treat and ease many skin ailments, the antiviral nature of this oil makes it more popular as an alternative treatment for several skin conditions like Shingles. Furthermore, Tea Tree oil has anesthetic and anti-inflammatory properties that minimize the pain. Due to its antibacterial property, you can also expect to prevent further infection and scarring.
Use of Tea Tree Oil for Shingles
There are different ways you can use Tea Tree oil to benefit in conditions like Shingles. Here are some of best-known ways of using Tea Tree oil:
- Combine Tea Tree oil with Lavender oil and apply it gently on your Shingles rash. Lavender is an analgesic and antiviral agent and a combination of these two oils to treat and soothe Shingles is fantastic. Individuals who are not comfortable in using these oils directly can combine each of them with a body lotion and then apply it on the rashes. Apply the mix several times in a day to get maximum relief.
- Mix Lavender and Tea Tree oil to make a cold or hot compress. Just add 10-20 drops of each of these oils in a pan of water. Thereafter, soak a cloth in this blend of essential oils and wring it out. Your compress is now ready for use. Put it on the Shingles rash for about 15 minutes or until it matches your body temperature.
- Another mix to cure Shingles is to blend 7 ml of Olive oil with 3 ml of Tree Tea oil to prepare a massage lotion and then gently applying a thin layer of the mixture over the affected area as many times as possible in a day. This will get you substantial relief from itching and pain. Not to forget, avoid wearing clothes over the affected area for at least 15-20 minutes to give oil enough time to get absorbed into the skin.
Follow these procedures for not less than 4 times in a day and continue this treatment regimen for at least 15 days to speed up the healing.
6. Lavender oil
Lavender is one of the most used essential oils in the world of Aromatherapy. When it comes to offering relief in the pain caused by Shingles, the effect of all-natural Lavender can be compared to any high acting painkiller or a prescription drug.
How To Use Lavender For The Treatment Of Shingles
- Once you are diagnosed with the signs of Shingles, start applying Lavender oil on the spinal column and on the area where you see rashes appearing.
- Apply Lavender on the neck and forehead to get relief from nausea and headache. This will also help in preventing any future complications arising due to Shingles. Apply this two times in a day for a faster relief.
- Use 20-30 drops of Lavender oil along with Ravensara, Bergamot, Roman Chamomile, Lemon or Tea Tree, for best results.
- Add 20-30 drops of Lavender to your bath to help relieve the Shingles pain.
Different Ways Of Using Essential Oils For Conditions Like Shingles and PHN Symptoms
The best way to use essential oils for treating Shingles is to mix a few drops of them in a tablespoon of carrier oil such as Peanut, Olive or Almond oil and applying the mix straightaway to the lesions at the first indication of an outburst. The lesions will generally dry up and disappear within 3 to 5 days. Taking it further, you may choose to bath the affected area with a blend of essential oils. Here is a simple recipe telling you how to do that:
- 6 drops of essential oils
- 50ml of witch hazel tincture
- 50ml of pure water
Just add 2 or 3 drops of each essential oil to the lukewarm water before getting inside the bathtub and having a gentle bath. Do not have the water running as that may cause more dilution of the essential oil than required.
Few Cautions To Keep In Mind When Using Essential Oils Topically
- Most of the essential oils should not be used over bare skin without diluting them in the carrier oil as that may cause itching on the skin.
- If you are an expectant mother then do not use essential oils unless your doctor recommends them.
- Do not use the oil on young ones as they have delicate skin.
- Essential oils can occasionally irritate your skin, especially if you are allergic to some of the oils. You may conduct a small patch test to check whether you are allergic to any of the essential oils you plan to use or not. In the event your skin becomes irritated or develops rashes, discontinue using essential oils immediately. It may be worth consulting your medical practitioner or herbalist to figure out the oils that are right for your mind and body.
Using a capsule
Please note that you need to consult your doctor before ingesting any essential oils in a capsule form. And make sure that they are edible therapeutic grade essential oils.
Most of the individuals that have had success in treating Shingles with the use of essential oils have an opinion that the best way to use essential oils for this condition is taking them in a capsule two or three times daily. Just add the required amount of essential oils in a capsule and swallow it with water.
For capsule therapy, you can use 3 drops each of Lemon, Melaleuca and Oregano. Another mix that works really well is the blend of the essential oils of Peppermint, Wild Orange and Frankincense. However, since each individual is different, I would recommend that you check other essential oil combinations too.
Here is a blend that you can easily prepare when using essential oils in a capsule:
- 1 drop of Oregano
- 1 drop of Frankincense
- 1 drop of Melaleuca
Add the abovementioned amount of all the ingredients in a capsule and take the capsule once a day.
Using a spray
Using a spray gets you fast relief from pain. The essential oils you can use in the spray include Wintergreen, Lavender, Geranium, Frankincense and Marjoram. Here is a recipe for instant relief in painful skin conditions like Shingles:
- 30 drops Lavender
- 30 drops Melaleuca
- 30 drops Eucalyptus
Add all the above ingredients in a 4-ounce spray bottle, add fractionated coconut oil and spray over the affected location as frequently as required to relieve the pain. Shake well before every use.
- 30 drops Wild Orange
- 20 drops Marjoram
- 20 drops Wintergreen
- 40 drops of Frankincense
Add all the above ingredients in a 1-ounce spray bottle with fractionated coconut oil and spray over the affected areas.
Remember that those who are suffering from Shingles may have sensitive skin, so test the oils before applying them and use carrier oil when needed.
7 Other Essential Oil Recipes You Can Use For Shingles and PHN Symptoms
- 2 drops Geranium
- 4 drops Sandalwood
- 10 drops Roman Chamomile
- 5 drops Lavender
Apply 5-7 drops of the mix over the affected areas three to four times in a day.
- 2 drops Ravensara
- 5 drops Blue Cypress
- 10 drops Sandalwood
- 4 drops Peppermint
Apply 6-10 drops of this blend (undiluted or diluted 50/50) over the affected area, down the spine and back of the neck, one to three times on a daily basis.
NOTE: Presence of Shingles on the forehead or near the eyes may cause blindness. If such outbreaks occur, consult an opthamologist (MD eye specialist) immediately.
Mix equal quantities of Tamanu oil (Calophyllum) and Ravintsara essential oil and apply over the impacted areas for remarkable improvement. Using this blend, you can expect to have your Shingles cured within one to two weeks. You can also add Geranium to this blend because of its skin and nerve regeneration properties.
Combine 10 ml (2 tsps) of Almond carrier oil and 5 drops of Chamomile oil. Rub this mix into (or near) the affected area as required.
Combine a few drops of the essential oil of Eucalyptus, Cypress, Thyme, Rosemary, Lavender and Sage into a base oil of Sweet Almond oil and use this blend in the compress, or apply straight to the affected area.
A mix with equal parts of Foraha fatty oil and Ravintsara essential oil is considered as the standard choice for the treatment of Shingles. Ravintsara is the anti-viral element in this particular blend and Foraha fatty oil offers an atypical and highly valuable quality of stimulating phagocytosis.
How to use this blend
When applying this blend directly over the lesions, the procedure can easily be executed using cotton swab (Q-Tip) or just by dabbing a couple of drops over the lesion using the finger. Repeating the procedure 4 to 5 times on the first day of the treatment will be helpful.
The Bottom Line
Shingles is one of the skin conditions where essential oils work like magic. However, it is important to note that Shingles make the skin highly sensitive, so I would recommend only the use of essential oils that are gentle and non-irritant over the skin. My experience indicates that if a patient is able to overcome an outbreak successfully with the help of essential oils, the severity and frequency of subsequent outbreaks reduces significantly.