Natural Remedies

Effective Home Treatments & Natural Remedies for Shingles

| Modified on Apr 09, 2024
Geranium Oil for Shingles

Shingles, also known as Herpes Zoster, is a distressing skin condition characterized by a painful, blistering rash. It results from the reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. This virus can remain dormant in the nerve tissues of the spinal cord and brain for years following the initial chickenpox infection.

Although shingles is not life-threatening, it can cause significant discomfort, particularly in older adults or those with weakened immune systems. To manage this condition, many turn to natural remedies to complement medical treatments. While a vaccine can reduce the risk of shingles, it doesn't eliminate it entirely, making the exploration of natural remedies a valuable aspect of managing the symptoms and discomfort associated with this condition.

Shingles typically manifests as a red rash on a small section of one side of the body, usually following several days of pain, burning, numbness, itching, or tingling. This rash often develops into fluid-filled blisters or crusty sores. Additionally, shingles can cause general body aches, fever, and fatigue.

Natural Remedies for Managing Shingles

Shingles, characterized by painful blisters and nerve pain, can be effectively managed with various natural remedies, as reported by users on Earth Clinic. These remedies, recognized as some of the most effective on the site, focus on alleviating discomfort and promoting healing.

Antifungal Cream

Antifungal creams, particularly clotrimazole, have emerged as a surprisingly effective remedy for shingles, offering relief from symptoms and aiding in recovery. While primarily designed to treat fungal infections like athlete's foot, these creams have shown potential in managing shingles, which is caused by a virus.

Application and Effectiveness

  • Use of Clotrimazole: Applying clotrimazole cream to shingles-affected areas can provide relief. It's theorized that the cream's properties may interfere with the virus, aiding in the healing process.

The Underlying Mechanism

The effectiveness of antifungal cream against shingles may be due to its potential to penetrate a protective layer that viruses might possess. This penetration allows for more effective treatment, akin to how a wetting agent breaks down mold before bleach can dissolve it. While this theory could benefit from further scientific explanation, the anecdotal evidence from a number of readers suggests a promising avenue for shingles treatment.

A Hollywood-based reader detailed her positive experience with clotrimazole antifungal cream for shingles treatment in one of the initial posts discussing the use of an antifungal for this condition in 2007. She found that applying this cream, followed by Clorox disinfectant the next day, alleviated the shingles and prevented its recurrence for more than five years. This suggests that the antifungal cream might be crucial in breaking down the virus's defenses, making it more susceptible to treatment.

Finely Ground Aspirin in Moisturizer

Using ground aspirin mixed into a water-based cream has emerged as an innovative treatment method for shingles, offering pain relief and potential antiviral benefits. This successful approach, shared by Art Solbrig from California, involves integrating easily dissolvable, uncoated aspirin into a cream for topical application.

Preparation and Application

  • Creating the Mixture: Start with 6 inexpensive, uncoated aspirin that dissolve quickly in water. Grind the aspirin into a fine powder and blend it thoroughly into 1 oz of a water-based cream or moisturizer.
  • Applying to Affected Areas: Apply the aspirin-infused cream directly to the shingles rash. This method is particularly beneficial for providing rapid pain relief.

Advantages of Topical Aspirin Application

  • Enhanced Pain Relief: Topical application of aspirin in a cream form can offer immediate and localized pain relief, which might be more effective than oral consumption for shingles pain.
  • Antiviral Properties: Research indicates that aspirin possesses antiviral qualities. When applied topically, the localized concentration of aspirin is much higher, potentially slowing down viral replication more effectively than oral doses. 

Scientific Evidence

Several studies cited in the post suggest aspirin's role as an antiviral agent, indicating its potential effectiveness against the varicella-zoster virus responsible for shingles.


Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a favored remedy for shingles on Earth Clinic. This natural and multifaceted substance has a centuries-old history of use and is celebrated for its ability to alleviate and heal various conditions, shingles included.

External Use

  • Apple Cider Vinegar Bath: Add 2-4 cups of apple cider vinegar to a bathtub filled with warm water for a soothing whole-body treatment. Soak in this bath for about 15 to 20 minutes. The vinegar’s natural properties may help to soothe itchiness and promote healing of the rash.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar Compress: Dilute apple cider vinegar with equal water to create a gentle solution. Soak a clean cloth in this mixture and apply it directly to the affected areas as a compress. This can help in reducing the itching and discomfort associated with shingles. Ensure that the solution is lukewarm and not too hot or cold.

Topical Application

  • Direct Application: Carefully dab a small amount of undiluted apple cider vinegar onto the shingles rash with a cotton ball or pad. This method is best suited for small areas and can be repeated several times a day. The antiviral properties of ACV may help in combating the virus while its acidic nature can aid in drying out the blisters.
  • Diluted ACV Lotion: If direct application is too harsh, especially for sensitive skin, mix apple cider vinegar with a soothing lotion or carrier oil like coconut oil. Apply this mixture gently to the affected areas. This can provide a more moisturizing effect while still delivering the benefits of apple cider vinegar.


  • Do not apply apple cider vinegar to open sores or raw areas as it can cause irritation.
  • If you experience any discomfort or adverse reaction, discontinue use and consult a healthcare professional.


Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), a compound commonly used as a food preservative, has been reported by users as an effective natural remedy for shingles. Individuals have shared their experiences with BHT, highlighting its potential in reducing pain and managing symptoms.

Topical Application

A user from Cupertino, California, emphasized the efficacy of BHT when applied topically. They suggest dissolving 10-15% BHT by weight in refined coconut oil and applying it to one side of the body affected by shingles, leaving the other side as a control. This method allows for a direct comparison, demonstrating the effectiveness of BHT in reducing shingles pain within hours. The user notes that while BHT from the treated area can distribute to the untreated side, the difference in pain relief is still noticeable.

Internal Use

Another user from Hawaii shared their long-term experience with BHT. Approximately 35 years ago, they dealt with shingles and used a combination of melissa oil, vitamin C, lysine, and vitamin B5. More recently, they undertook a regimen of BHT (1/4 teaspoon daily for several months) and reported significant improvement, with no shingles flare-ups since. They plan to continue BHT usage periodically as both a preventive measure for shingles and potentially for other viral conditions.

Geranium Essential Oil

Geranium essential oil has emerged as a beneficial natural remedy for managing shingles symptoms. Known for its soothing and anti-inflammatory properties, geranium oil can provide significant relief from the pain and discomfort associated with shingles.

Neem Leaf Poultice

Neem leaves are renowned for their antiviral properties, making them effective against the varicella-zoster virus, which causes shingles. Applying a poultice made from neem leaves directly to the skin rashes can aid in their healing. Bathing in water infused with neem leaves can provide relief and promote recovery from shingles.

Oatmeal Baths

Oatmeal baths are highly effective in alleviating the itching associated with shingles. Grind oatmeal into a fine powder and mix it into tepid bath water for a soothing effect.

Dietary Changes

The L-Lysine to L-Arginine ratio in your body significantly impacts shingles. Since the virus thrives more in an environment with higher levels of L-arginine, it's advisable to limit foods rich in arginine such as nuts, tomatoes, grapes, chocolate, blueberries, and blackberries. Conversely, incorporating lysine-rich foods like dairy products, apricots, pears, apples, pineapples, and asparagus can be beneficial in managing shingles.

Cold Compresses

Applying a cold compress can provide immediate relief from itching. Simply dip a clean washcloth in cool water and place it over the shingles blisters.


Calendula, known for its healing and anti-inflammatory properties, is widely recommended by herbalists for shingles. Applying calendula oil, lotion, or gel several times a day can help soothe itching and accelerate the healing of blisters.

Capsaicin Ointment

Capsaicin, found in red pepper, acts as a natural painkiller by exhausting the neurotransmitter known as Substance P, which transmits pain signals to the brain. Capsaicin ointments are readily available at health food stores, pharmacies, and online. Alternatively, you can create a homemade version by mixing finely powdered red pepper with a base ointment or moisturizing lotion. However, it's crucial to avoid applying capsaicin on broken skin and to conduct a patch test on a small skin area to check for allergic reactions.


Research indicates that honey possesses antiviral properties effective against the varicella-zoster virus. Applying raw, organic honey to affected skin areas can aid in healing due to its soothing effects.

Fuller’s Earth

Fuller’s Earth clay is beneficial for drying out shingles blisters. Create a paste using Fuller’s Earth clay and water, and apply it to a gauze-covered cloth. Place this poultice on the rash at least twice daily for best results.

Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus essential oil, containing menthol, provides a cooling effect that can alleviate itching and burning sensations associated with shingles.

Chamomile Bath

Chamomile is renowned for its soothing properties. Adding chamomile to bath water can offer significant relief from the itching caused by shingles.

Licorice Gel

Licorice contains Glycyrrhizin, an active compound that inhibits the varicella-zoster virus replication. Applying a homemade extract, made by boiling licorice in water, to the blisters can be an effective traditional treatment for shingles.

Olive Leaf

Olive leaf extract exhibits antiviral properties against the varicella-zoster virus. Its use can be beneficial in treating and managing shingles, helping reduce viral activity.

Key Symptoms Include:

  • Tingling, sharp pain, and itching on a specific skin area.
  • A rash appearing 1-5 days after the initial pain.
  • Blisters forming, sometimes merging into a red band resembling a severe burn.
  • Possible rash development on the ears, face, eyes, and mouth.
  • Inflammation around the rash area.
  • In some cases, an extensive rash similar to chickenpox.
  • Blisters typically dry out within 7 to 10 days, possibly leaving minor scars.
  • Shingles generally last 2-4 weeks.
  • In certain instances, pain may occur without a rash, or a rash may appear without associated pain.

Additional Symptoms May Include:

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Muscle pain
  • General malaise
  • Chills
  • Weakness
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Stomach issues

Complications in People with Weakened Immune Systems:

  • Potential development of pneumonia, brain inflammation, or in severe cases, death.
  • About 10-20% of shingles patients experience postherpetic neuralgia (PHN).
  • Peripheral motor neuropathy occurs in 5-10% of cases.
  • Inflammation of the spinal cord or brain.
  • Eye complications.
  • Formation of white patches in the rash area.
  • Ramsay Hunt Syndrome.
  • Muscle weakness.

Most people with shingles do not experience severe complications, but these risks highlight the importance of early detection and management.

Please continue reading to learn some of the most effective home remedies sent by our readers to heal the painful shingles, blisters and nerve pain. The most popular treatment is apple cider vinegar. Still, our readers have also reported success using acidophilus, topical aspirin lotion, antifungal cream, aloe vera, cayenne pepper, colloidal silver, coconut oil, and many other remedies.

Let us know what you have tried to treat shingles! Do you know of a remedy not yet listed here? Please don't hesitate to share it with us!


1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by yearningtobreathefree (Tennessee) on 10/19/2021

My wife's grandmother, when in her early 70s, had had chronic shingles for a couple of years. Kroger started carrying acidophilus milk. She started buying it once a month, and each time would be shingles free for a week. She started buying it twice a month, and would then be shingles free for 2 weeks out of each month.

Finally, she found she could buy acidophilus in capsules, and as long as she continued to take them she had no more shingles.


2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 

Posted by Susan (California) on 07/01/2017

Thank you Chrissy (August 2011 post)! I awoke to what I believe was the onset of shingles with intense pain on my big toe, across my foot and up my leg. I immediately, after reading your story, contacted my acupuncturist/herbalist. She surrounded the area of my pain with needles plus a couple on my hand and then muscle tested me to find that echinacea and St. John's Wort would be good for me, including topical echinacea. It's the next morning now and the pain is 99% gone and I'm hoping that's the end of it.

Posted by Chrissy (Adelaide, Australia) on 08/28/2011

I recently had a serious bout of shingles; huge blisters from my clevage under my left arm through to my spine, After taking all the meds the doctor prescribed which did little to help the pain or help me to sleep, I decided to give acupuncture a try. The relief was instant, I have slept like a baby since beginning the treatment and the pain is very much under control. I'm only sorry I didn't get the treatment right from the onset as the acupuncturist says she could have stopped the shingles in it's tracks.

Replied by Marsh

I just read a blog by an acupuncturist who had shingles. He recommended moxibustion, Neem creme (Theraneem) for the postherpetic pain (neem surrounds the virus, prevents it from entering and infecting cells, kratom (mitragyna speciosa) for pain relief - it's an anti-inflammatory - he believes it helps in the healing over gabapentin which has many side effects. (Acupuncture and many of the herbs on EC didn't help his pain. Unfortunately, what works for one, doesn't work for another.)

Shingles visited my RN girlfriend last week. The ER doc gave her 50mg gabapentin - a high dose that she wasn't comfortable with and questioned. She said it helped. So far no side effects.

I spoke to my Rife practitioner who said Rife kills the virus. An RN friend left western medicine and began on a holistic journey. She introduced me to Rife and we both swear by it for just about everything.

As a sidenote, our babbling, happy grandson went blank 3 days after a vaccine; the babbling turn into a high pitched, shrilled singing. Rife helped along with high quality Omegas and B vitamins. He still has some autistic tendencies but is no where near what he was.

Yesterday, a friend was saying 3 out of her 5 grandkids have autistic tendencies - from minimal symptoms to full on. Why, are our babies and toddlers suffering from autism??? No one can tell me it's not the vaccs after witnessing our grandson's immediate change. When are parents and grandparents going to stand up? Sorry... I get so angry at being told vaccs are safe and mandatory, only to see the number of autistic rates increase exponentially. God Bless our children

ACV, Aloe, Tea Tree and Coconut Oil

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Allison S. (Thomas, Oklahoma) on 03/17/2018

Shingles helped with ACV, Aloe Vera and Tea Tree Oil

This is for Shingles for a help to heal: First padded down area with Apple Cider vinegar with a round flat cotton pad. then I put this mixture on top:

I took a jar with a lid and added 1 cup of Aloe Vera pure 100% liquid. then added several drops of Tea Tree Oil, Melaluka is so wonderful for healing. Finally added 1 Tablespoon of Coconut Oil. Stirred with each use. Applied with round cotton pads. Please just play with the amounts to suit you.

My Shingles were so horrible that I would only get an hour to 2 hours of sleep at night. So weak and tired. This mixture really helped stop the itching pain and I finally got some sleep!

Alcohol, Distilled Water and Fastum Gel

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Michael (South Africa) on 09/12/2006

Half each 90% Alcohol and distilled water. And Fastum Gel a non steroidal anti inflammatory. Fixed my shingles in a week. Blisters all dried and healing. Pain still there in the nerve. Good news!

Aloe Vera

3 User Reviews
5 star (2) 
1 star (1) 

Posted by Awagner3216 (Albuquerque, Nm) on 12/07/2011

I tried some aloe from the plant that I have and it made the itching and pain worse! I'm going to go to the store and get some Apple Cider Vinegar and Tea Tree and Eucalyptus oil.... Hopefully it will work, I'm only 22 and this is the first time that I have ever dealt with this. I hope that this is not a life long thing that keeps coming back!

Replied by Tiffany

There are different varieties of aloe. Make sure it is aloe vera baradenisis miller. You must also drain the cut leaf of yellow liquid in a large cup of fresh water after harvesting for at least 30 minutes before use.

Aloe Vera
Posted by Susan (Sulphur, LA) on 04/28/2008

April 24th, 2008 I came down with shingles again. This is something I have dealt with for the last 13 years. In the past I have tried antibiotics, cortisone, etc. anything that I thought would bring relief. I was at my mothers and she told me to try the gel from an aloe leaf. To my surprise it brought great relief. I have done this 2 or 3 times a day. She also told me that once the blisters burst to apply honey to complete the healing process. I fully intend to try this at that time. It has been wonderful to have relief from this awful disease.

Aloe Vera
Posted by Mafri (Zurich, Switzerland) on 10/04/2007

Another wonder of the world to be added-YOUR SITE! For 20 years my Fiance has been suffering with horrific Shingles, he has been to every skin Specialist there is, tried every cream, every oil and every natural product on the market. His feet are so bad, and so painful, causing more pain with certain foods- We have noticed that the worst are garlic, onions and spicy foods. 3 days ago, I was looking on the internet for a certain cream, very expensive especially after you have bought and tried almost everything. I came to your site and read all the posts, while doing so I looked what ingredients I had in the house, Aloe vera Gel - YES! Cayenne pepper- YES! Corn flour -YES! I went to the kitchen mixed it all up in bowl , got my fiance's feet and pasted it with the above, Now what? How does he go to sleep with all this on his feet? I took plastic wrap and wrapped his feet up, looking like a Astronaut he went to sleep with the paste and plastic.......... In the morning............. there was such a huge difference,are those really his feet. WOW! We are now on the 3rd day of nightly pasting and wrapping, the blisters are gone, the hard scaling skin is almost away, the only thing left is the redness. This is amazing!!! My only concern is with the plastic wrapping----- the feet don't get fresh air during this time, Thank you so much, I will keep you posted of the complete results in the future.

Replied by Waltraud
(Arkansas ( Usa ))

Corn flour or oatmeal flour? There is a difference between the two, yet I have found that some people use both to mix with aloe vera and cayenne powder!!!!!! Can you comment please? Thank you Waltraud

Replied by Mama To Many

Dear Waltraud,

It may be that the corn flour or oat flour are just to help the mixture thicken and stick easily to the skin. I do think that oat has something particularly helpful to skin conditions. (Thus, oatmeal baths.)

French green clay would be another dry ingredient that I think could be used to make the aloe and cayenne into a paste.

~Mama to Many~

Replied by Lou
(Tyler, Tx)


I read in a couple of places today that BHT 250 mg plus Vitamin C cures a host of ailments, including Herpes Zoster (shingles). Here's the link:

It was also posted by someone on Curezone.

Replied by Janet

Lou Great article. How to take BHT has always perplexed me. Oscar and Ted talk about it. I tried it a few years ago. I did not do well getting up to take it in the night. This has 2 ways. Very clear and straightforward. Thank you. Janet

Antifungal Cream for Ringworm

8 User Reviews
5 star (8) 

Posted by Carrie (Oklahoma ) on 01/27/2022

Re: Antifungal Cream for Ringworm Helps Shingles

I thought I had ringworm when it first started on my back. I used a mixture of Tinactin and yeast infection cream to treat it. We raise sheep that give us some hard to cure ringworm, so I use two different meds to treat it. I then broke out in other places and realized it wasn't ringworm and I didn't hit the front with ringworm meds. The patch treated with ringworm early was huge, but it dried up faster and hurt very little but the other non treated patches have been very painful. Also, I ended up going back to the ringworm meds because it controls the pain better than any other patch, cream or soak I used. I use it on the back patch 2x a day since it doesn't hurt any more, but I apply it to the front as often as needed.

Antifungal Cream for Ringworm
Posted by Christine (Malaga, Spain) on 11/24/2020

Antifungal Cream for Shingles

Well, here we are on vacation and in lockdown and my partner is laid low with his first case of shingles. Travelling as we are and without our usual pharmacopoeia of natural remedies, we had to try what we have on hand and it happened to be clotrimazole antifungal cream. Within a couple of hours, the pain and sensitivity subsided and the sores were more localized. Thank you everyone for salvaging an already strange vacation.

Antifungal Cream for Ringworm
Posted by JoS (Florida) on 12/29/2019

The anti-fungal cream took away shingles pain on my back. Applied it twice a day.

Antifungal Cream for Ringworm
Posted by Anon (TX) on 10/23/2019

Dear god...thank you to whoever posted first on the antifungal cream for shingles pain.

The docs gave me the antiviral pills. Then nerve pain pills. Then lidocaine patches. Then told me if it got any worse they could admit me to the ER for some serious pain control. In total desperation I returned to this site and read EVERY remedy (I had already tried the top ones, several times.) Towards the bottom of the pile I found this gem. And I had antifungal cream on hand since one of the boys needed it for jock itch. It is also good for ringworm...and btw can usually be found in any dollar store. I grabbed our tube and within 2 hours I had drastically less pain. Not NO pain but certainly it knocked about 80% of it gone! I could live with the rest until the shingles subsided. Between the cream and the bleach baths, shingles became a tolerable thing and kept me out of the hospital and back to work the next day.

Again....THANK YOU.

Antifungal Cream for Ringworm
Posted by Lizzy (Asheville, Nc) on 10/16/2014

Thank you so much for posting about the antifungal cream for shingles. I bought some ringworm cream at the pharmacy yesterday and applied to my shingles patch. It was the 6th day of my shingles outbreak and even though Dave's wonderful remedies were helping, the blistering area was still painful and red. I can't believe it, in just over 24 hours and 2 applications, the area has almost completely dried up and is no longer painful. Remarkable!

Replied by Lou
(Tyler, Tx)

After reading your post, I searched for some antifungal cream and didn't have anything but Lamisil on hand. My husband didn't want to try that and then I remembered I bought some soap at Amazon for ringworm. I had about 6 bars of that. He tried it and the pain was gone immediately. He is going to wash with it once an hour to try to kill this. This has been going on for 3 months and we had done the ACV compresses and beverages. We also had the antiviral drugs and steroids. Thanks for your tip! I hope it helps him get over this.

Antifungal Cream for Ringworm
Posted by Jody (Idaho, US) on 10/13/2014

I have also used an antifungal cream on my shingles and it seems to accelerated the shingles to blister then completely go away with no scarring in only a few days.

I had thought that I had ringworm on my hip and used the antifungal cream which cleared it up, but 6 months later it came back and my Dr said it was shingles. So I used the antifungal cream the second time and again within a few hours the itching was gone and healed within a few days. I don't know why it worked but I thank goodness it did. I can't imagine having to deal with the pain for weeks!

Antifungal Cream for Ringworm
Posted by Izma (Hollywood, California) on 03/19/2007

From what I see of your numerous cures. It appears that Shingles may just dissappear. Personally I used the antifungal cream clotrimazole, followed the next day by Clorox disinfectant spray applied with a Q tip to each spot, and the shingles and the pain left.and havn't returned in more than five years. I had used the clorox spray before to no avail but when first used the anti fungal cream apparently that did the trick. Another thought viruses seem to be resistant to nearly everything but they may have a protective coating that takes a wetting agent to crack. and the anti fungal creme may have that ingredient. I know that it takes a wetting agent to break down ordinary mold, before clorox can disolve it. A chemist probably could explain this better than I can.