Shingles is a virus characterized by painful rashes and blisters. It is contagious but preventable by vaccine. If you did not receive the chickenpox vaccine as a child or a vaccination for shingles, you are at risk of contracting this virus. While the tingling pins-and-needles sensations, skin sensitivity, and burning sensation can bring you down, fight back with natural remedies for shingles.

Comparison Table

Product

Image

Price

Cold Compresses  

Cold Compresses

Witch Hazel

Witch Hazel

Oat Baths

Oat Baths

Soothing Lotions

Soothing Lotions

Neem Leaf Poultice

Neem Leaf Poultice

Apple Cider Vinegar 

Apple Cider Vinegar

Calendula Oil

Calendula Oil

Capsaicin Ointment

Capsaicin Ointment

Honey

Honey

Fuller’s Earth

Fuller’s Earth

FAQs

1. What Are Western Remedies for Shingles?

Western remedies for shingles involve a doctor’s appointment. You will be prescribed an antiviral to slow down the progress of the rash, but if you wait more than 72 hours from having symptoms, this is likely going to be ineffective. The best a doctor can do is give you NSAIDs and tell you to rest and let the virus run its course as there is no cure for the virus.

2. What Are Natural Remedies for Shingles?

There are lots of natural remedies for shingles including temporary changes to your diet and lifestyle like not smoking and avoiding comfort foods. However, the easiest, most effective ways to soothe your symptoms are to treat the source directly through the use of creams, ointments, baths, and poultices. Some of these even have properties to induce healing.

3. How Do They Work?

These natural remedies for shingles work effectively at the source of your symptoms, your painful, itchy skin to relieve symptoms. Poultices remove toxins irritating to your skin while warm or cool oat baths reduce the temptation to scratch. Capsaicin promotes healing by encouraging good blood circulation to the skin where it is needed most while relieving muscle pain. Other remedies relieve pain from inflammation or attack bacteria.

4. Where Can You Buy These Natural Remedies?

There are many places you can buy natural remedies for shingles. Cold compresses with organic cotton towels can be purchased at home goods stores such as Tuesday Morning, one-stop-shop retailers like Walmart, Kmart or Target or online from Amazon.com. Other great natural remedies for shingles include honey, powdered red pepper, and apple cider vinegar. Again, these can be purchased from grocery stores or online. Finally, you have soothing poultices, oils, lotions, ointments and creams which can be purchased online or in your local health store.

5. Who Should Avoid the Shingles Vaccine?

Avoid the shingles vaccine if you are allergic to any of the ingredients, pregnant or breastfeeding, actively have shingles, have tested negative for immunity to the chickenpox virus or have a weak immune system due to certain medications or medical condition.

How We Reviewed

Woman putting cream on her left hand

Image via Pexels

We invested a lot of time and effort into coming up with this comprehensive list of the most effective, easiest to use natural remedies for shingles. We understand when you are ill you do not feel like taking rounds of pills every day and want to treat yourself naturally. That is why we spent hours reading medical research, talking to people just like you who have used these natural remedies for shingles and found the best products for you online.

We reviewed the best natural remedies for shingles on features, pros and cons and price and included only what you probably already have in your kitchen or can easily buy online and receive shipped the next day. Healing should not be a complicated process.

Overall Price Range of The Natural Remedies

Bottles of Apple Cider Vinegar

Image by Mike Goad from Pixabay

 A major benefit of natural remedies for shingles is its low price. Many of these remedies you have at home, but they are all easily found or made and much more affordable than a trip to your general health practitioner. Expect to pay between $9 and $30 before tax on any one of these remedies. More expensive treatments do not work better than less expensive treatments necessarily. They treat different symptoms.

What We Reviewed

Cold Compresses  

Cold Compresses

Features

One of the simplest of the natural remedies for shingles. Holding cool compresses or cloths against the sites of your rash will reduce inflammation and relieve itchiness. Lightly soak a natural cotton towel or cloth with cool water and wring it out. Place it on itchy, sore areas and repeat as necessary. Avoid extreme temperatures such as ice baths or very hot water. Ice increases skin sensitivity, and hot water increases blood flow which may slow down the healing of sores.

Pros

  • Reduces inflammation
  • Relieves pain
  • May reduce itching

Cons

  • Efficacy is reliant on sufficient compression
  • If the compress is too cold, you can inadvertently slow the healing process

Witch Hazel

Witch Hazel

Features

Apply witch hazel topically to painful sites of inflammation and irritation to get relief. Research suggests witch hazel is more effective than chamomile for relieving symptoms of shingles including inflammation, skin sensitivity, and itching. You can purchase either witch hazel water or creams online from Amazon.

Pros

  • Fragrance-free and hypoallergenic, perfect for those with sensitivities or allergies to fragrances
  • Alcohol-free formula thoroughly cleanses and conditions your skin without disturbing its natural moisture
  • Anti-inflammatory properties effectively relieve pain from inflammation
  • One of the best natural remedies for shingles due to its powerful healing properties

Cons

  • Undistilled witch hazel contains tannins which cause digestive irritation including nausea, vomiting, constipation, and impactions if consumed.
  • Hamamelis water, or witch hazel distillate, is distilled hazel witch water which does not have tannins. It is safe for consumption but can cause minor skin irritation in certain individuals sensitive to its astringent effects.
  • Consult a doctor before use if pregnant or nursing.

Oat Baths

Oat Baths

Features

Oats have long been used for their anti-itching properties and as one of the best natural remedies for shingles. Draw a tepid bath and add ground oats. Allow the gooey mass of the finely ground oats mixed with water to coat and soothe your skin while relieving your painful itching.

Pros

  • Odorless and hypoallergenic
  • Gentle on your painful, sensitive skin

Cons

  • Not ideal for individuals with eczema
  • The oat powder does not completely dissolve into the water, so you have to scoop and splash the water from the bottom up to benefit from the clumps in the bottom
  • Leaves a yellow residue on ceramic tile bathtubs

Soothing Lotions

Soothing Lotions

Features

When you scratch a shingles rash, you risk prolonging blisters and causing scarring. Soothing lotions and creams are a great option to increase your comfort level as they reduce itchiness which reduces scratching. Avoid perfumed or scented lotions which can irritate your skin further. Some scent-free lotions have natural healing properties like capsaicin which is an anti-inflammatory and analgesic or calamine lotion to calm the itching. Do not use antibiotic lotions as they will slow the healing process rather than speeding it up.

Pros

  • Hypoallergenic
  • Protects and calms damaged skin
  • Superior moisturization and restores a sensitive and dry skin
  • Free of paraben, benzophenone, ethylene oxide, triclosan, and hydroquinone
  • Cruelty-free
  • Very safe

Cons

  • When used in excess can effectively moisturize the blisters and slow the healing process
  • May cause allergic reactions or burning depending on the type of lotion used

Neem Leaf Poultice

Neem Leaf Poultice

Features

Poultices are great natural remedies for shingles. One of the most effective is the neem leaf poultice. The antiviral properties of the leaves act against the varicella-zoster virus, much like honey. Applying the poultice of neem leaf to your rashes helps to heal your skin. You can also add a few neem leaves to an oat bath to further relieve your itching skin while attacking the source of its irritation.

Pros

  • Attacks the virus
  • Soothes skin

Cons

  • Can cause vomiting if consumed
  • Can cause diarrhea if consumed
  • May lead to drowsiness

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar

Features

Apple cider vinegar is used as a compress in the place of cool water to tackle rashes caused by chickenpox and shingles. Dilute the vinegar with an equal quantity of warm water when using a compress twice daily or add two to four cups to your warm bath and enjoy a long, healing soak.

Pros

  • The acidity of vinegar speeds the drying of blisters
  • Relieves itching sensation

Cons

  • Not ideal for broken, cracked skin
  • Not ideal for open blisters

Calendula Oil

Calendula Oil

Features

Calendula oil contains 26 phytochemicals and various nutrients which are beneficial to the skin. It is free from GMO, corn, soy, dairy, gluten, petrochemicals, beeswax, hexane, synthetic dyes and fragrances, preservatives and paraben. It comes in a bio-phototonic glass bottle and is vegan and cruelty-free. Oils are non-refined and cold-pressed for the most natural product you can find.

Pros

  • Relieves itching
  • Encourages the healing of blisters
  • Anti-inflammatory properties speed wound healing and improve skin texture
  • High in flavonoids

Cons

  • May cause contact dermatitis if you are allergic to ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies and other related plants
  • May cause drowsiness
  • Not suitable for nursing women

Capsaicin Ointment

Capsaicin Ointment

Features

The best part of natural remedies for shingles is they can be used in conjunction with each other to treat different symptoms without causing any adverse reactions. Capsaicin is a component found naturally in red pepper and eases the pain caused by shingles. It accomplishes this by depleting substance P. which is a neurotransmitter that assists in transmitting pain signals to your brain. Easily make your own by adding a pinch of red pepper powder to your daily skin ointment or buy capsaicin ointments online.

Pros

  • Neutralize the heat with any oil including canola, olive or vegetable oil if you find it uncomfortable
  • No offensive odor
  • Available in different strengths to accommodate sensitivities by certain individuals or areas on the body
  • Relieves pain for hours at a time without expensive medication which can damage your internal organs
  • Heat is great for relieving muscle pain and soreness caused by the stress of the illness
  • Aids blood circulation which speeds the healing process

Cons

  • Not suitable for individuals allergic to capsaicin
  • Not suitable for use on broken skin
  • May cause mild itching and burning in individuals sensitive to this compound

Honey

Honey

Features

Much like Fuller’s Earth, honey is one of the best natural remedies for shingles. When used topically, it shrinks the pores while combatting the varicella-zoster virus. Beyond tackling the virus itself, it also soothes your skin including itchy patches, blisters, and painful rashes.

Pros

  • Antiviral
  • Soothing
  • Improves the appearance of the skin

Cons

  • May become hard and granular if stored in a cool place making it difficult to spread
  • Does not exfoliate dead skin cells effectively

Fuller’s Earth

Fuller’s Earth

Features

Fuller’s Earth is a sedimentary clay-like powder best known for its ability to soak up excess oils. It can be used as a facial mask to promote healthy skin or applied anywhere else you are suffering. This clay removes excess moisture including pus from the layers of your skin while extracting dirt and toxins. Make a poultice of fuller’s earth by mixing the clay with water. Apply the thick paste to your painful blisters to dry them and ease the pain. For optimal relief, spread finger-width amount of the paste on a clean cloth, cover with gauze and apply to your rashes and blisters twice daily.

Pros

  • Naturally exfoliates your dead skin cells
  • Eases pain
  • Dries out painful blisters

Cons

  • May cause respiratory problems due to its cooling property depending on where you use it
  • Does not relieve itching

The Verdict

Shingles is a contagious virus suffered by around one million Americans each year. While there is no cure for this preventable, painful condition, there are steps you can take to relieve your symptoms and speed the healing process. The best natural remedies for shingles treat whichever symptoms you are experiencing at the time. The only real downside to Fuller’s Earth is it does not relieve itching.

To mitigate this, use it in combination with an oat bath and treat all of your symptoms with two natural remedies. Capsaicin oil is also great for pain relief, reduction of swelling and muscle relaxation and speeds the healing process. Try combinations of these super-effective treatment methods and speed the course of the virus out of your body, with the help of our natural remedies for shingles list.

Featured Image via Flickr

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