The Best Essential Oils for Shingles
Published Nov 16, 2020
What is shingles?
Almost everyone I know has experienced chickenpox growing up. Chickenpox is brought about by the varicella zoster virus. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 85% of adolescents have either experienced some sort of varicella disease or have received two doses of varicella vaccine. But where does shingles and essential oils come in?
Well, shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a viral infection caused by the same virus that leads to chickenpox, varicella zoster. An even worse fact is that while an episode of chickenpox may be over, the virus may hide in your nerve tissues before reactivating as shingles. The reason the virus activates is not definitive, but experts typically point to extreme stress and a weakened immune system as potential triggers.
Shingles is an extremely painful and sensitive rash that typically appears only on one side of the body. About a third of Americans will experience shingles at some point in their lives.
Essential Oils As Treatment
While doctors will be quick to point out the efficacy of the shingles vaccine as prevention, we can easily get blindsided by this notorious condition. With that in mind, it’s good to know that there are several home remedies to manage symptoms of a shingles outbreak. One of those remedies is essential oils.
Essential oils are made from various leaves, barks, and rinds from a number of different plants. Makers then use different methods to concentrate these into oils. Essential oils represent the alternative approach to medicine, which uses a lot more herbs and plants instead of synthetic and human-made drugs.
However, doctors will often point out that essential oils should not be the primary treatment method for shingles. Instead, it should be a complementary one to alleviate pain and other symptoms.
Best Essential Oils for Shingles
It should go without saying that these essential oils will not cure your shingles outbreak. What they can provide is relief from pain and itchiness, along with anecdotal antiviral properties. Some evidence suggests that the following oils may be especially useful against shingles:
- peppermint oil
- capsaicin oil
- geranium oil
- thyme oil
- lemon oil
Aromatherapy experts and therapists also vouch for the efficacy of the following oils:
- Ravensara oil
- Ravintsara oil
- Melissa oil
- Rose otto oil
How to use essential oils
Knowing how to use these oils is just as important as knowing what oils you should be using. It’s important to note that when using essential oils, you will need to mix them with a mild carrier oil. The following are the oils you might consider using:
- olive oil
- almond oil
- peanut oil
- coconut oil
Among the ones listed above, we highly recommend using high-quality coconut oil the most. Holistic health expert Birgitta Lauren recommends mixing ten drops each of thyme, geranium, and lemon oil with about a tablespoon of coconut oil. You may then apply this mixture directly onto your shingles lesions.
As was mentioned earlier, shingles will typically only affect one portion of the body, appearing as a rash. The following are the telltale signs that your rash could be a shingles outbreak:
- Burning, numbness, and tingling
- Stabbing or shooting pain
- A red rash that follows a few days after the pain
- Fluid-filled blisters that will burst and crust over
- Fever, chills, and headache
Like other viral infections, shingles has no cure. The good news is that there are antiviral medications available to shorten the length and reduce the severity of the infection. The following antiviral medications are well-known and widely used to treat viral diseases and infections like herpes and shingles:
Other lifestyle changes and habits
To further prevent shingles outbreaks, we recommend adopting healthy lifestyle changes and habits. With stress and a weakened immune system as the likely triggers of shingles, here are some ways to reduce stress and boost your immune system:
- Engage in relaxing and enjoyable activities
- Meditate, stretch, or walk
- Work on a favorite hobby
- Get ample rest
- Improve your diet by consuming foods rich in vitamins A, B12, C, E, and the amino acid lysine.
Essential oils may play a vital role in alleviating some of the numerous symptoms of shingles, primarily pain, and discomfort. However, if you adamantly want to stay away from this virus, we highly recommend getting vaccinated. It’s safe and incredibly effective at keeping the virus at bay. CDC recommends the vaccine Shingrix as the preferred option.
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