Shingles is caused by the re-awakening of the dormant chicken pox virus that rests near the spine. It's not certain what causes the virus to become active again, but it's related to weakened immune systems caused by old age, some medications and immune-suppressing diseases. When the virus moves through the nerves to the skin, it causes large blisters that must scab over and fall off naturally, and is usually a painful experience. Although some of these remedies may not have scientific studies to back them, they have all been used in folk and natural medicine traditions for decades or more to treat shingles blisters.
Things You'll Need
- Cayenne pepper Aloe vera gel Lemon-balm leaves Cheesecloth Licorice root Baikal skullcap root Mullein flowers and leaves Aspirin or acetaminophen
Combine 1 tbsp. aloe vera gel with 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper. Mix well and apply a small dab to a healthy portion of skin to test for irritation. If irritation occurs, mix with more aloe vera gel; otherwise, apply the mixture directly to shingles blisters. Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, which numbs pain. Aloe vera also has soothing properties and can help counteract the burning the cayenne can cause.
Moisten 1 cup of fresh lemon-balm leaves in water and wrap tightly in cheesecloth. Place on shingles blisters immediately. Alternatively, lemon balm can be taken internally as a tea by adding 2 tsp. of dried lemon-balm leaves to boiling water for 10 minutes. Strain the liquid and drink immediately. Lemon balm is used to fight the herpes simplex virus, a close relative of the virus that causes shingles. It reduces the pain and irritation caused by shingles blisters.
Add 1 tsp. of dried, chopped licorice to 2 cups boiling water for 15 minutes. Strain the tea and drink when it cools enough. Add 1 tsp. of dried lemon balm, St. John's wort or ginger leaves if the licorice tea is too sweet. Licorice reduces inflammation and inhibits the spread of the shingles virus.
Grind Baikal skullcap root into 1 tsp. of powder using a food grinder. Mix it with slightly less water to form a paste, and apply directly to shingles blisters. Baikal skullcap has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat bacterial and viral infections for years, and can be effectively used to treat shingles blisters.
Make a tea out of mullein by adding 1 large tsp. of dried mullein leaves and flowers to 1 cup of water, and steep for 10 minutes. The tea can then be taken internally or used as a compress. Soak a clean cloth in the tea and apply to shingles blisters to reduce pain and inhibit the growth of the virus.
Take an adult dosage of aspirin or acetaminophen to reduce pain and inflammation and to reduce fever that sometimes accompanies shingles blisters. Most pain reliever directions recommend taking two tablets every four to eight hours, but check the bottle for instructions to be sure.
Tips & Warnings
- The herbs used to treat shingles blisters can be found in health food stores or ordered online.
- The virus that causes shingles is contagious, so wash your hands after touching infected areas or dealing with it in any way. Cayenne pepper oils can easily spread to the eyes or other sensitive areas after handling. Wash your hands after touching cayenne pepper every time. Licorice tea should not be consumed for more than six consecutive weeks, and should not be used if you have high blood pressure or diabetes or have been diagnosed with heart, kidney, liver or thyroid disease. Avoid using store-bought ointments and creams, as they can impede the healing process and cause crusts to fall off early, resulting in scars. They can reduce inflammation and can be used after the scabs have loosened naturally.
- Photo Credit sxc.hu/magurka
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