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Apple Cider Vinegar for Shingles

| Modified on Sep 23, 2021
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Apple cider vinegar is a very effective natural remedy for shingles. This simple home treatment should be started as soon as shingles are suspected. It can be used internally and/or externally.

How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar Externally for Shingles

Use a cotton ball or spray bottle to apply raw and organic apple cider vinegar directly to the painful areas of your skin. Avoid contact with sensitive skin areas and your eyes. If you have shingles near your eye, use castor oil on those areas instead.

Use this treatment at least twice daily or more often if desired. If the apple cider vinegar appears to be drying your skin out too much, apply some castor oil or coconut oil to the skin after the apple cider vinegar dries.

How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar Internally for Shingles

When you are taking apple cider vinegar for a health condition, use raw and organic apple cider vinegar. Add 1 tablespoon to a glass of water or juice and take this tonic twice a day, with our without food.

If you have a serious shingles outbreak, it may be wise to consider other supplements as well, including vitamin C and lysine.

Have you tried apple cider vinegar for shingles? Please share your story with us.

57 User Reviews

5 star (46) 
4 star (7) 
3 star (1) 
1 star (3) 

Posted by Nan (Ohio) on 05/02/2020
5 out of 5 stars

Several have mentioned and I believe that shingles pain, itching, burning is worse at night. Not sure why. However, it pays to be pro-active and apply your ACV, and drink your ACV right before going to bed, even though you haven't had any problems during the day.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Apple Cider Vinegar (Hiawassee, Ga) on 06/06/2017
4 out of 5 stars

I was using apple cider vinegar on what I thought were spider bites. I later was diagnosed with shingles. All I can say is that from 6 areas I am down to 2. And the pain has subsided tremendously since I started doing this. I am happy to say that my symptoms are very mild after 4 days using the vinegar topically with cotton balls.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Maze (Nc) on 05/26/2017
5 out of 5 stars

Applied ACV directly to my shingles on my back/flank area, was the only thing that stopped the painful itching and burning!!

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Michael (Ajax, Ontario, Canada) on 10/10/2016
5 out of 5 stars

Shingles with NO PAIN

On a recent Friday, my wife's personal support worker noticed a small rash on her waist, nothing to worry about. On Saturday, she thought it might be shingles.

Having no experience with or knowledge about shingles I started to look into it. The only thing I knew was that my wife's father and mother had it, and it was very painful. Her brother had fairly recently had it, and said it was excruciating, the most painful experience, that just lasted and lasted. So I expected a grim experience ahead.

After my initial inquiries as to the nature of shingles, I of course came to EARTHCLINIC. The most interesting results were with ACV. People who did not receive pain relief from their pain meds then tried ACV, with some success at pain relief.

But those results were after the shingles had matured. I decided to be proactive. On Sunday, I started treating the rash with ACV.

On Monday, the doctor confirmed it was shingles, but said it was too late to do anything to prevent it (because it was over the weekend we couldn't get in earlier). She did give her an anti-viral. The next day, we went to the Naturopath, but she couldn't offer anything else, but gave her another anti-viral to take as well. Whether or not these did any good I can't say, but I'm sure these would have been given to everyone else, so I doubt that they had any significant effect. Both the doctor and Naturopath expected the shingles to become worse and painful.

I used an atomizer bottle to spray the ACV directly on the rash 3 or 4 times a day. It was covered so there was no rubbing. I also gave her a tablespoon of ACV orally once or twice a day. I used organic ACV.

My wife took no pain medication.

She had absolutely no pain and only an occasional slight itch. Only a couple of the lesions burst. The rest just shriveled. The shingles were finished in 1-1/2 weeks.

I have no further experience to confirm this, but it certainly seems that ACV did the job.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Mrs. Muldrow (Magnolia, Arkansas) on 10/29/2015

I had a bout w shingles for the first time when I was in my mid twenties, and it was the most horrendous experience of my life. I first noticed a tingling sensation on my right butt cheek accompanied by extreme itching and thought nothing more of it then a bug bite. A couple days later I noticed it began to sprout bumps that were accompanied by pain. My mother has had shingles a few times before so when I told her about it she opted to see them- and behold!! My shingles had been confirmed!! I didn't go to the hospital because again, my mother has had them before and assumed she was the "shingles queen"!! Lol Long story short- Worst 3 weeks of my life!!

Well, just a couple days ago, I began to notice the beginning stages of shingles, and absolutely refused to deal w the same situation. As I've read on several testimonials on this site going to the hospital would be absolutely pointless, plus I'm pregnant and don't want to put anything harmful in my baby's system. I also saw where people almost swear by Apple Cider Vinegar, and I had read where one gentleman suggested making a baking powder paste... What could it hurt right?? Lol So I told my husband about it, and he grabbed some ACV, baking powder, and honey. I took 2 tablespoon orally, and chased it w a spoonful of honey for taste because it's absolutely disgusting!! Soaked a large cotton ball in the ACV, and taped it to my butt (it came back in the same spot) and let me tell ya, it burns like hell!! We're gonna leave it on for a little while longer, and then apply the baking powder paste.......... I'll be back to tell you my results!! Keep your fingers crossed!! Lol And thank you all for your suggestions!!

Replied by Elaine

Dear Mrs. Muldrow,

I have heard of using baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) as a paste for a variety of ails, but not baking powder.

Also, if you try baking soda with the apple cider vinegar instead of baking powder, I don't think it will taste as badly. Baking Soda and Apple Cider Vinegar are a common combination.


Replied by Clare

I've got shingles on my face and I have just started using cider vinegar and drinking it! If my rash doesn't scab over bur just heals am I contagious still??

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Graham (England) on 07/03/2015
3 out of 5 stars

Worked Temporarily

The pain on the right hand side of my face, eye socket, eyebrow and top of head is unbelievable following recent Shingles. Apple Cider Vineger has helped but not any longer. Can anyone help please. Thank you.

Replied by Kim
(Portland, Or, Usa)

Hi, I hope you have read the above posts. But simply put the most helpful of responses seem to be..

1 ACV topically applied to a clean damp cold cotton cloth to clean and dry sores several times per day. Or dab on "ACV on ice" with a cotton swab.

2 Drink a TLBS of ACV in glass of water, 1 to 3 x day. Before meals helps with digestion anyway.

3 Aloe vera gel into small bowl, sprinkle to cover, with cayenne pepper powder. Then just sprinkle to cover, either corn or oat flour and mix.

4 Spread all over sores...This will soothe and help you to rest.

5 Also you could add either a few drops of Peppermint oil, Tea tree oil , Oregano oil or Eucalyptus oil to the mixture to help with nerve pain and are antiviral.

6 Options: Licorice extract paste to cover sores, alternating with the paste, or just the licorice after the ACV wash.

7 Internally: Take (amino acid)L-Lysine capsules: 2000mg 2-3 x day on empty stomach. This will help to balance out the potentially high (amino acid) L-Arginine levels, which is high in choc., nuts, corn, etc.

8 Reduce Stress, Get Rest

9 Avoid sugar which lowers the immune system function in the body.

10 Drink plenty of water and take Vitamin C: 500mg 2-3 x day

11 Eat small, simple healthy meals

12 Be in bed by 9pm end enjoy your dream states. Maybe they have something to tell you.

Replied by Anna

Try taking lysine max of 2000mg a day and also grapefruit seed extract. This seems to shorten my heal time. Ice cold baths and ice packs also help with the pain. Hope you heal soon.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Lynn (Texas) on 05/20/2015
5 out of 5 stars

A while back I got shingles on the back of my leg. It is the second time in 2 years, I am getting old unfortunately. I read about apple cider vinegar, so I got some, put it on a cotton ball, and taped it to my leg. I slept with it on with a piece of plastic taped over the cotton ball. For 2 days I left it on. Shingles were basically gone. When they started to come on the second time, did the same thing. Never had a chance to even get started. When your system is too acidic it allows herpes, shingles, etc., to erupt. It brings back the correct ph and stops it in its tracks. Same thing when I got a UTI (age again.). I took drinks of vinegar dressing and voila, gone after 2 days. It is really a wonderful remedy that is so underestimated. Just think what they do for cats who get UTIs all the time.....they put apple cider vinegar in their water. We pay the pharma companies billions that are unnecessary. They know it, we just need to stop believing in them so much.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Gabrielle (Adelaide) on 05/09/2015
5 out of 5 stars

So good to read these posts. I got hit two weeks ago with shingles across the right head into my temple, jaw and nose, shocking pain like nails being driven in to me. Thought it was bad sinus or flu as the temple headache felt "fluey", but could not see why the pain spikes moved around my head.Turns out those sites were the sites where shingles outbreaks would occur but not for about 5 days. The slow reveal of the red marks slowed down my formal diagnosis which slowed down my anti virals which made my outbreak worse, so dont wait til the spots out before noticing that the pain line follow a nerve.

Anyway I used the apple cider vinegar suggestions and the compresses described thanks to my sister who read all this when I was too sick to know anything . They helped a lot and put the sores into retreat within 48 hours and comforted the burhung nerve lines. Sores now settled after 5 days bur neuralgic pain still strong . Got up today for 2 hours but needed to rest all afternoon.Apple Cider Vinegar compress helps me at night when pain disturbs. Think this may take some time to get free of this viral impacts but luckily no eye damage and face recovering . What an experience! What out for codeine constipation- avoid at all costs maybe only use codeine for first 4 days of pain relief then switch to panedol. Serious constipation seems to be inevitable if you use codeine for long and it creates its own pain and slows down recovery. With thanks to all advice.

Replied by Joe
(Bay Shore, New York)

Next month I will be going into my 2nd. year Post Herpetic Neuralgia, I stopped taking a Statin my Dr. had me on ( Weakens Immune System ) increased daily Fiber 30 grams daily, Vitamin B, it is the V1 nerve of Trigeminal, I place a small Lidocaine patch ( 1x1 inch ) behind ear, it helps me to sleep better, try it. It is ever so slowly leaving ( Myelin Sheath getting better I assume ). I threw Lyrica into the garbage, that didn't agree with me, made things worse.

Replied by Frank

I get it. Apple Cider Vinegar is what works best for the shingles out break but what about long term nerve pain and tingling in my right thigh, groin, and spine. It's been almost a year sense my out break and my back pain is still the same as during the out break. My doctor has me on oxy and gabapenten for the pain but that's not for me. Is there any help for me?

Replied by Mama To Many

Dear Frank,

So sorry to hear that you continue to be in pain!

I would try some Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. Start with 1 Tablespoon internally and work up to 3 Tablespoons a day if it suits you. Try at least a few weeks.

I would also try baking soda baths. 1 cup of baking soda in a warm/hot bath 3 nights a week.

I would also try applying the coconut oil topically to the pained areas.

I hope these help and that you feel better soon!

~Mama to Many~

Replied by Art
931 posts


If you can tolerate aspirin with no problems, you can try topical aspirin. Mix the aspirin in vaseline intensive care lotion and apply to painful areas.

Here is a study that did just that to good effect for herpetic neuralgia relief.

I've used a combination of ibuprofen and aspirin for myself and it is helpful for me. Both have antiviral properties though no studies specifically for herpes zoster, but ibuprofen shows potential toward Ebola virus!


Replied by Art
931 posts


If you can tolerate aspirin with no problems, you can try topical aspirin. Mix the aspirin in vaseline intensive care lotion and apply to painful areas.

Here is a study that did just that to good effect for herpetic neuralgia relief.

I've used a combination of ibuprofen and aspirin for myself and it is helpful for me. Both have antiviral properties though no studies specifically for herpes zoster, but ibuprofen shows potential toward Ebola virus!


Replied by Art
931 posts


I did find an abstract that suggests that the topical aspirin may have an impact on the varicella zoster virus as well as CMV , HIV and flu virus.



Aspirin is antiviral, but it only lasts for 45 minutes to an hour....Because it takes longer to kill flu virus than 45 minutes you may have to to take 500 mg every 50 minutes for up to 4 times..and you must grind it into fine powder and dissolve into 8 oz good water. Thank you for this post and stirring up an old memory.....I might add that taking a cracker or a piece of bread 20 minutes before trying this will prevent stomache upset.....For Flu, I would do this routine just before bed....Once I started to feel better I would stop taking go to bed.......The flu nowadays has a habit of returning up to 3 times, so sometimes I would have to do it again. I wonder how this would work on shingles....hmmmmm

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Snptime (Ardmore, Al. ) on 02/10/2015

Please help me I have a very painful rash on my left inner butt cheek. It seems to be spreading. I have had chicken pox. and have gotten cold sores in the past. This feels like a rash of cold sores and it really hurts. I am using vinegar, and it does help some. What else can I do?

Replied by Mr. Ree

Get a bottle of licorice extract ($8.95 in any health food store)and put it over the rash...In one day it will heal 50%..The second day it will heal 75%...On the third day it will heal 100%..

If you get it when it first surfaces you will heal yourself the same day...Put licorice all over you rash and wrap it in saran wrap and take a nap...It will dissappear the first day...However if you have this for a while it will take 3 days...

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Oneoffmom (Appalachia, NC) on 01/15/2015
5 out of 5 stars

My teenaged son showed me a spot on his back, within 3 days it had spread from shoulder blade, under his arm, through to his chest, became so painful internally and to touch that he couldn't sleep. Checked shingles symptoms, fit the bill - and by this time it was blistering because OTC rash cream was not working. So I checked this site (of course) for remedies.

We applied cotton ball dipped in Apple Cider Vinegar 3-4 times per day, especially before bed. For the first two days we used the coconut oil/cayenne/turmeric salve also. I had him take Echinacea immune boosters, and turmeric supplement (because we had on-hand). After the first day/night, the blisters were beginning to dry up, no more spreading. Area was still painful on second day, so I massaged with arnica gel (which worked, pain mostly gone next day, and he slept that night). By day three, we were overjoyed because the area was thoroughly dried out and obviously shrinking, only slightly painful, thanks to the arnica I think. Within a week, the rash was gone. WOW!

Note: My son said the ACV burned and tingled, but not unbearably. He was desperate to find relief, and said this was far less painful than the rash. He is fine now - that was 3 weeks ago.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Ydebyounger (Detrot, Mi) on 01/25/2014
5 out of 5 stars

I developed a case of shingles on my left arm and across my stomach and a few spots on my shoulder blades. The pain was horrendous! After re4ading about Apple cider vinegar, I decided to try it. I drank 2 tbsp mixed with about 8 oz of apple juice. Next I soaked a long sleeve t shirt in a mixture one half ACV and water, wore it wrapped in a fuzzy bathrobe (so bed wouldn't get wet). The pain stopped within an hour and the blisters went down. This was the first night I was able to sleep. I tried this on the third day after contracting shingles and by the end of the week, I had no pain and the shingles rash was barely there. I have continued this drinking and soaking in ACV for two weeks while continuing to take the antibiotics. My doctor could not believe the improvement when I returned for a check up. When I told him of my natural remedy, he was skeptical but it worked for me!

Replied by Karen

Glad you found relief! I was just wondering why the doctor gave you antibiotics? Shingles is a virus.

Replied by Jo
(Pearland, Texas)

Just tried ACV and it's helping ease the itching and pain. My advice to all who've had chicken pox to get the shingles shot. I've had shingles twice...first time before getting the shot and the pain was tremendous. I have shingles again and because I'd had the shot the pain and itching is minimal but still troublesome. It appeared on back of my head and neck so after showering I poured ACV through my hair and it's helping to ease the problems. Didn't dry hair or comb...just towel dried it letting it go where it may. Thanks to all who have added their comments here...been a tremendous help for me.

Replied by Lindsayweir
(Seattle, WA)

Doctors say the shot is only 50% effective. And who knows if it's even that much. Most vaccines arent 100% effective anyways, and they are shooting you with a live or dead virus. Many even shed the virus. So by getting the shot not only do you still have the chance of getting it due to inefficiency, it can even activate it. If your immune system is weakened, your body may not be able to fight off off what the shot puts into you. Also may depend on factors like your body's ability to absorb certain vitamins and minerals. As well as your arginine/lysine levels, arginine can raise your chances. you want to have more lysine, just like with the herpes viruses.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Blair (Sydney, Nova Scotia) on 05/04/2013
5 out of 5 stars

I just wanted to write a thank you letter to all the people who have shared stories on about the Cure for Shingles. My mom was suffering bad she had them on her back, neck and even spreading to her face. She went to the doctor and got $80 medication that was doing little to nothing for her pain, she couldn't sleep. I read the stories here and picked up a bottle of Apple Cider Viniger. I made a drink for her with two tablespoons of ACV and two cups of water and told her to take this mixture daily every morning. I applied the ACV directly undiluted to cheesecloth, then I taped that cheesecloth to the infected areas. With medical tape. I called her two hours later to find out how she was feeling. She reports that it is working the pain is lessoned, she is finally able to sleep the entire night soundly. The next day is reports back that the pain is gone for her. Thank you everyone, and my mom thanks you too.

Replied by Matheo
(Lawrenceville, Georgia)
5 out of 5 stars

YEA!!! Thank you all so much. This remedy has worked absolute wonders. The first night I experienced an other-wordly burning sensation was the only night. The next morning I drank and applied the ACV and that night, I felt like a new man. Thank you.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Tom (Indianapolis, Indiana, USA) on 09/30/2012
5 out of 5 stars

What I thought was a kidney infection was diagnosed as shingles. After finishing the prescription (7 days) for the virus, the pain came on with a vengeance, and was so excruciating I was eating ibuprofen by the handful. Found this site, and walked like a mummy to the store. Mixed 1oz of apple cider vinegar with a 12 oz glass of orange juice, and within 20 minutes, the debilitating pain was reduced to the annoying level. As a skeptic of home remedies, I attributed it to the massive dose of ibuprofen. The next day, the intense pain returned, and instead of reaching for the pills, I drank a straight shot of ACV and chased it with water (yuck). Within 20 minutes, the pain was reduced to annoying again. WOW. Still can't believe how effective the ACV is with pain. Now I drink it at regular intervals mixed with lemonade, and have purchased the cayenne, aloe, olive leaf extract, etc, as recommended in the previous posts. Hopefully the paste will be just as successful.


Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Ana Maria (Waterbury, Ct) on 09/09/2012

Apple cider vinegar for shingles does work should also drink it besides applying to the rash. Two to three caps of apple cider with a glass of water or in a bottle (drink some before adding). Apply with a cotton ball avoid touching it and wash hands frequently. I also bathe with it take a bucket half warm water if in the shower and put half cup of apple cider oder goes away quickly and pour it all over your body after bathing if in a bathtub then pour 1/2 cup. After bath use organic coconut oil they sell it in health stores (also the vinegar should be with the mother brand less than 5 dollars) and supermarkets in the organic section. Silver spray and liquid. The spray you apply to rash kills bacteria and viral great use for immune system. The liquid can take a teaspoon awesome results. No pain so far and rash is shrinking quickly (no meds refused after seeing side effects) Take also 1000mg of Vitamin C and cayenne capsules with a meal. Peppermint cream on rash before sleeping for a good night rest and if the rest of body hurts apply as well will sleep. After all is gone if pain persists seek Acupuncture doctor best bet! ;) Good luck!!!

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Debbie (Geneva, Il, Usa) on 08/01/2012

About 3 weeks ago an old high school friend posted on FB that he had been dealing with shingles for 7 months and nothing was helping. I private messaged him to PLEASE go to EC's website and check out the ACV cure. He was skeptical at first. 3 days later he tried it. He posted that it burned like a million fire ants but within 15 minutes the relief was unbelievable.

This morning on my FB page I received the following from him. "After 7 months of hell, lots of money spent on prescription drugs, a $2.49 bottle of ACV has cured my shingles." He now calls me the ACV whisperer. I told him I have to give credit to this website.

Thank you EC and all the people on here who help us all.