Shingles is a painful condition of the skin caused by the varicella zoster virus. This is the same virus that causes chicken pox as well. Shingles commonly happens in people who have had chicken pox at some point in their lives. When the body develops very low immunity, the virus (which lies dormant in the body all these years) is reactivated leading to shingles also called herpes zoster.
Successful and effective medical treatment of shingles involves use of oral as well as local application of medicines. However, not many people prefer filing their bodies with antibiotics in large quantities. Hence, many resort to use of herbal remedies that are as effective as the antibiotics. However, to ensure that the virus has gone completely it is important to be very regular with use of these herbal remedies. The herbal treatment for shingles can be easily done at home after consulting an experienced herbalist. Pregnant women and nursing mothers should not use treatment that involve intake of herbs. Most of the herbs are muscle relaxants and cause the uterus to expel the fetus.
9 Herbal Remedies For Shingles
Cayenne pepper or red pepper is also referred to as chili in many parts of the world. This spicy herb contains a compound called capsaicin. This compound has natural healing abilities and is often used in pain relief ointments. To treat the pain caused due to shingles apply crushed form of cayenne pepper locally on the infected area.Leave on for 20-30 minutes and then wash off using plain water. This treatment can be done any number of times in a day to reduce the pain. The compound capsaicin prevents the transfer of pain signals from the nerves to the brain thus bringing relief to the sufferer.
Cat’s claw is a popular herb known for its anti-viral as well as anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it very effective in reducing the pain that accompanies shingles. Cat’s claw is available in all herbal stores in pill form. To treat shingles 3,000 milligrams is the recommended dosage for daily intake. However, like mentioned earlier do not take this herb if you are pregnant.
Echinacea And Goldenseal
Echinacea and goldenseal both have amazing healing and anti-viral properties. For this reason they are excellent for boosting the immune system which becomes very weak during shingles. The combination of these herbs acts powerfully on the immune system and protects it from further infections. To treat shingles drink tea prepared using Echinacea and goldenseal extracts three times during the day. You can even add extracts of nettle and ginseng for extra boost to the immune system. This combination of herbs is sure to protect you from attack of any kind of infections in the future.
Lemon Balm For Treating Shingles
The other name for lemon balm is Melissa. The herb contains polyphenols. These are compounds that are anti-herpes in nature and are therefore considered the best treatment for shingles. Prepare lemon balm tea by adding 3 teaspoons of the herb in a cup of very hot water. Steep the herb in hot water for 5 minutes. Let the tea come down to room temperature. Dip a cotton ball in the tea and apply on the blisters. This treatment should be done at least 4-5 times during the day. In some western countries there is available an ointment that contains lemon balm leaves. This ointment is widely recommended in the treatment of shingles.
The other herbs that are anti-viral in composition are oregano, thyme, sage and hyssop. However, the anti-viral agents in these herbs are not as abundant as they are in lemon balm.
The first thing to do during shingles attack is to increase the quantity of garlic in your food. Garlic has antiviral properties and also provides boost to the weakened immune system. It is best to eat garlic in its raw form to treat shingles effectively. If you don’t like the taste of raw garlic then take 2 capsules of garlic two times daily until shingles and the symptoms associated with it disappear.
St. John’s Wort
St. John’s wort is not a readily available herb but it is very effective in the treatment of shingles mainly because of its anti-viral properties. The herb is sold in pill form and the recommended dosage is 300 milligrams thrice a day to treat herpes zoster effectively. Combination of skullcap, St John’s wort and oat straw is also used for treating shingles. Mix the three herbs in equal quantity and take a tablespoon of this herbal mixture four times during the day.
Licorice is a popular herb that is mainly used for its healing and medicinal properties. The herb has effective antiviral properties. It also strengthens the immune system by providing it the much needed boost during shingles. The herb is mainly had as a tea. However, there are some herbal ointments that contain licorice. These ointments, when applied locally, bring immense relief from the pain caused during shingles. The ointment helps the blisters dry faster while keeping the area well moisturized thus reducing the pain. Licorice tea should be had three times during the day.
Oatmeal powder is mixed in warm water bath to bring relief from inflammation and itching that is associated with shingles. Oatmeal bath also helps in reduction of scars that are left behind after the blisters dry up.
Oat-straw is a herb that belongs to the same family as oats. Extract of this herb is often used in the treatment of patients suffering from depression, stress and anxiety because it helps calm down the nervous system. It is useful in the treatment of shingles as it helps calm down the sufferer. People with shingles are often stressed because of the intense itching and burning in the blisters. The herb is taken orally and is available in capsule form.
Aloe Vera For Treating Shingles
Studies have been conducted to prove the usefulness and effectiveness of treating shingles using aloe vera and its extracts. Aloe vera is one plant that is now found in almost all homes. Simply rub the gel of the aloe plant on the affected area to get relief from itching and burning of the blisters. The aloe gel also keeps the skin moisturized thus reducing the pain that is felt while stretching the body.