Shingles are an uncomfortable condition that can cause pain and itchiness. Though shingles just need time to pass, there are some natural remedies that can help alleviate pain, reduce inflammation and speed up the healing process.
Shingles are a relatively common condition with as many as 1 in 3 adults developing it in their lifetime. Shingles are caused by the varicella-zoster virus—the same virus you likely acquired when you were a kid with chickenpox. After suffering from chickenpox, the varicella-zoster virus lies dormant in your nerve tissue near the spinal cord and brain. Years later, something can trigger the virus to reactivate, sending it along your nerve pathways and into your skin. When the virus reactivates, it causes shingles to form.1,2
Not everyone who has had chickenpox will go on to develop shingles. In fact, it remains unclear why some people develop shingles and some people don’t However, there appear to be certain risk factors that make it more likely that someone develops shingles years after their bout of chickenpox.1,3
Some possible shingles risk factors include:
- Lowered immunity—Older people and those with compromised immune systems are more likely to develop shingles
- Age—People who develop shingles are typically over the age of 50
- Stress—Emotional and physical stress can trigger reactions in the body, including shingles
- Certain medications—Some types of chemotherapy drugs or drugs given during organ transplants can suppress the immune system and trigger shingles
Shingles typically develop as a painful rash that forms along one side of the torso. However, shingles can also affect the eyes and face. Shingles symptoms typically appear as:
- Itching, burning or tingling skin
- Red, inflamed skin patches
- Pain and sensitivity to touch
- Fluid-filled blisters that crust over as they heal
Shingles bouts usually last 2-4 weeks. Pain is usually the most serious symptom of shingles. For many people, it can be intense and debilitating. For others, it may be more mild. It’s also possible to develop shingles pain without seeing a noticeable rash.1,2
Other symptoms can accompany the onset of shingles, including:
- General feeling of being unwell
Top Natural Relief for Shingles
If you’ve developed shingles, then you may be suffering from pain and discomfort. Certain natural remedies offer anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving benefits for shingles relief. They can also help boost the immune system to help fight off a shingles infection quicker.
Try these natural relief remedies for shingles:
Astragalus - An immune-boosting herb from Ayurvedic medicine, astragalus can help you recover from shingles quickly.
Lemon - Lemon has natural antioxidant and antiviral health benefits that can help heal a shingles infection.
Honey - Applying natural honey to shingles rashes can help soothe pain and alleviate inflammation.
Milk Thistle - To boost the immune system and reduce inflammation, take milk thistle for shingles.
Apple Cider Vinegar - As a topical treatment, apple cider vinegar can help to clear shingles infections by reducing inflammation and healing blisters.