Natural Remedies

Shingles Natural Remedies and Effective Home Treatment

| Modified: Nov 24, 2020
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Shingles (also known as Herpes Zoster or the varicella-zoster virus) is a painful, blistering rash caused by the same virus as chickenpox. It is a reactivated form of the chickenpox viral infection, which has remained dormant in the body - usually for quite a long time after the initial infection - in the nerve tissue of the spinal cord and brain. Not life threatening, shingles can nevertheless be very painful. It is more common in older adults with weak immune systems. A vaccine for shingles is available, but due to the nature of the illness, there's still a risk of infection.

Natural Remedies for Shingles

Many natural remedies for shingles are available that can help heal painful blisters and/or nerve pain from shingles.

Neem Leaf Poultice

Neem leaves can act against the varicella-zoster virus which causes shingles, as these leaves have antiviral properties. For healing of skin rashes apply the poultice of neem to the rashes. By having a bath in neem leaves soaked water can also be effective.

Apple Cider Vinegar Compress

Traditionally, apple cider has been used for centuries in healing painful or itchy rashes. Application of apple cider vinegar compress after diluting with an equal amount of lukewarm water or by enjoying a soak in a tub of warm water and 2-4 cups of apple cider vinegar.

The acidic pH of vinegar helps in the drying of the blisters. Note: do not try this remedy if you have open blisters or broken skin.

Oatmeal Baths

Take oatmeal baths for extra relief from itching. Ground oatmeal into fine powder and mix in tepid bath water. This will soothe itching.

Dietary Changes

Shingles, being in the herpes virus family, is greatly affected by the patient body’s L-Lysine to L-Arginine ratio. Shingles require more L-Arginine than L-Lysine to thrive. Therefore, patients should avoid rich arginine food like nuts, tomatoes, grapes, chocolate, blueberries, blackberries, etc. Eating lysine-rich foods is highly recommended, for example, dairy products, apricots, pears, apples, pineapples, asparagus, etc.

Cold Compresses

Dip a clean washcloth under cool water and place it on the shingles blisters. This will relieve itching.


Herbalists around the world recommend calendula use to relieve itching and start the healing of blisters. Calendula is famous for its healing and anti-inflammatory properties. Apply calendula oil, lotion or gel several times a day.

Capsaicin Ointment

Capsaicin is naturally found in red pepper and has a painkiller action. Capsaicin exhausts the neurotransmitter called P., which transmits pain signals to the brain.

Capsaicin ointments are easily found at your local health food store, pharmacy and online. You can also make your own by mixing finely powdered pepper with a simple ointment or moisturizing lotion.

Never apply capsaicin on broken skin. Always do a test application on a small area of skin to have an idea about allergies.


Studies reveal that honey has antiviral activity and also has an action against the varicella-zoster virus. It also has a soothing effect on the skin. Dab a little raw and organic honey on the skin to promote healing.

Fuller’s Earth

A Fuller’s Earth clay poultice can be used to dry blisters. Make a paste of fuller’s earth clay with water and apply this poultice to the gauze-covered clean cloth. Apply this at least twice a day on your rash.

Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus essential oil contains menthol which gives a cooling effect and can soothe itching or burning in Shingles.

Chamomile Bath

Chamomile is well known for its soothing effects. Add chamomile in bath water and have a relief from itching.

Licorice Gel

Licorice has Glycyrrhizin, an active ingredient which renders the replication process of varicella-zoster. Licorice gel has been traditionally used for the treatment of shingles. An extract of licorice can be prepared at home by boiling licorice in water. Apply this extract on blisters.

Olive Leaf

Extract of olive leaf has an antiviral action and act against the varicella-zoster. It can be useful in shingles.

What is Shingles?

An outbreak of blisters on the skin is known as shingles. Shingles is an infectious disease of a nerve and the surface of the skin supplied by that nerve. 
It is a viral disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus. It is sometimes confused with chickenpox as the virus which causes both the diseases are the same.

Shingles appear because of the reappearance of the virus in older age. Actually, when someone has chickenpox the varicella-zoster virus remains in the body and can reappear in the form of shingles.

Is Shingles a Contagious Disease?

Contagious as chickenpox is, you cannot spread shingles outbreaks but you can spread the varicella-zoster virus to those who have never contracted chickenpox. Those with shingles should stay away from a person who has never had chickenpox or has a weak immune system, especially in the elderly.

Who Is At Risk of Having Shingles?

People over 50 are at high risk to have Shingles. However, anyone who suffered from chickenpox has the risk of Shingles. Also, people with a weak immune system are at high risk. This includes people with immune system disorders, cancer, or people taking immunosuppressants.

Fast Fact Shingles

Studies show that in the US every year approximately 1million cases of shingles are reported.  Out of 3, 1 person has shingles.

What are the Symptoms?

Shingles symptoms usually occur in a small section of one side of the body as a red rash that appears after a few days of pain, burning, numbness, itching, or tingling. The rash may erupt into fluid-filled or crusty blisters. Some people also experience general aches, fever, and fatigue associated with shingles.

The following list of symptoms can be observed in shingles:

  • Tingling, acute pain and itching on a certain part of the skin.
  • After 1-5 days of pain, the rash begins to appear on the skin.
  • An outbreak of blisters occurs.
  • Blisters may merge to form a red band that looks like a severe burn.
  • In some cases, a rash may appear on ears, face, eyes, and mouth.
  • Inflammation can occur around the rash.
  • In rare cases, a rash may be extensive and look like chickenpox rash.
  • Blisters dry gradually within 7 to 10 days.
  • A minor scar may appear after blister drying.
  • Normally Shingles lasts for almost 2-4 weeks.
  • In some cases, a rash might not be associated with pain or vice versa. 

Other symptoms can include the following:

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Muscle pain
  • Malaise
  • Chills
  • Weakness
  • Swollen Lymph Nodes
  • Stomach problems

Shingles in people with an impaired immune system can lead to pneumonia, brain inflammation or death.

Most people with shingles might not have complications but there is a possibility of following effects:

  • Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) effects 10-20% percent of people with shingles
  • In 5-10% cases, peripheral motor neuropathy can occur
  • inflammation of the spinal cord or brain
  • eye problems
  • white patches in the rash area
  • Ramsay Hunt Syndrome
  • weakness


Shingles normally lasts between 2-4 weeks but can linger much longer in older patients, which is why supplementing with immune-building herbs is essential in getting over shingles.

Home Remedies for Shingles

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 cure is apple cider vinegar, but our readers have also reported success using aloe vera, cayenne pepper, colloidal silver, coconut oil, and a whole lot of other remedies.

Art Solbrig from California recommends grinding aspirin into a fine powder and mixing it into a fast absorbing lotion like Cetaphil and applying that to the skin every few hours. This simple aspirin remedy has helped a number of people find relief.

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


Posted by Susan (California) on 07/01/2017
5 out of 5 stars

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
5 out of 5 stars

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.

ACV, Aloe, Tea Tree and Coconut Oil

Posted by Allison S. (Thomas, Oklahoma) on 03/17/2018
5 out of 5 stars

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

Posted by Michael (South Africa) on 09/12/2006
5 out of 5 stars

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

Posted by Awagner3216 (Albuquerque, Nm) on 12/07/2011
1 out of 5 stars

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.

Posted by Susan (Sulphur, LA) on 04/28/2008
5 out of 5 stars

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.

Posted by Mafri (Zurich, Switzerland) on 10/04/2007
5 out of 5 stars

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

Posted by Christine (Malaga, Spain) on 11/24/2020
5 out of 5 stars

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.

Posted by Lizzy (Asheville, Nc) on 10/16/2014
5 out of 5 stars

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
5 out of 5 stars

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.

Posted by Jody (Idaho, US) on 10/13/2014
5 out of 5 stars

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!

Posted by Izma (Hollywood, California) on 03/19/2007
5 out of 5 stars

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.

Apple Cider Vinegar, Cayenne

Posted by Anna (Roswell, Ga) on 09/06/2013
5 out of 5 stars

My boyfried had what we think to be shingles. That is when I discovered Earth Clinic. I fixed him a bottle water with ACV (apple cider vinegar), cayenne pepper (3 good size shakes) honey to taste. had him drink this 3 times a day and mixed cayenne pepper with ACV (heavy on cayenne) took cottonball and put it on him everywhere, three times a day and shingles were gone within 3 to 5 days. It made him a believer. Now we both drank ACV as a often as we can.

Replied by Bill

how much Apple Cider Vinegar should I add to the bottle?

Posted by Gene (Sarasota, FL USA) on 04/21/2009
5 out of 5 stars

I have a previous posting on Apr. 11, 2009 (day 3 of my attack), which is currently logged under ACV+Cayenne. It would be helpful if you started there. This is an update, ten days later, and should be tremendously useful if you are debating whether to try a natural remeby for Shingles, specifically Apple Cide Vinegar.

Ten days ago, with a bad shingles rash and moderate deep pain, I turned to Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) and Cayenne. I had already been on western meds, specifically valtrex & prednisone, and I had no sense that they were doing any good.

Almost immediately, the pain (but NOT the rash) went away. I continued swigging about half a shot glass of ACV sprinkled with Cayenne, three times a day, and used the same mixture topically a few times daily as well.

After a week, I felt I was completely cured, with the exception of the rash, and dutifully forgot about everything. After all, the smell and taste of ACV don't set the world on fire and aren't powerful motivators to hang in there once cured!

I realized yesterday that, during the past three days, the pain was back and had been for a couple of days now. Particularly, at night, I'd say the pain (in my case deep nerve pain) was perhaps a 7-8 out of 10 (the first time I had shingles it was a 10 out of 10, many times, so I know the scale!).

I had been lazy and listened to all my friends, including several doctors, saying 'It's the Western meds, dummy', and I figured I was in good hands once it stopped. Also, since the rash was taking forever to disappear, receding glacially, but no longer hurting, I felt that I didn't the ACV/C and it was probably an old wives tale anyway.

Boy was I wrong.

This is what I've learned:

1. A virus isn't over when you say it is. It's over when it decides it's run the course.

2. In going back on ACV, the topical pain (which had come back a bit in the past couple of days), stopped on the spot. Taking it yesterday AM, the topical cleared up immediately and the pain stopped throughout the day. Night was a different matter.

3. Two nights ago, the pain was terrible through the night. Last night - the first night since I had been back on ACV - the pain was gone until 5:58am (I went to sleep at 10pm, so I had 7 solid hours).

4. I finally got out of bed around 7:30, with a deep pain in the left side of my lower back. Within 10 minutes of taking ACV internally and topically, the slight itching was gone and the internal pain had gone from a 7/8 to a 2/3.

Everyone's disease and progress is different, and anecdotal evidence for me does not mean a hell of a lot in your case. But I wanted to give as much detail as possible so that you could see exactly how ACV has impacted what I'm going through.

I am dissapointed that the rash is only abating slowly, but - if I had to choose between reallybad, debilitating pain and the side effects pain and sleeplessness produces, and a rash, which in my case is under the shirt/pants and not visible, I'll take the rash anyday!

Count me as an ACV believer. Not once - but twice - in the same illness! Good luck with your shingles!!


Posted by Gene (Sarasota, FL) on 04/11/2009
5 out of 5 stars

This is my second shingles attack, folks! First one lasted 60 days and was the most unbelievably painful thing I had ever experienced. Interestingly enough, 100% of the shingles was sub-surface, with no redness, raised areas or pustules. The deep pain was beyond words.

Now, four years later, in a period of incredible stress, I've got the damned thing again -- this time, with a left leg and the front/back of the left side of my torso covered in mega-patches of fiery pustules. Pain inside (emanating from the locus deep inside the nerve) and out.

Then, a friend of a friend mentioned ACV and I went surfing and found your site.

Last night (day 3), I covered the sores with ACV&Cayenne, and took two half shot glasses of ACV mixed with Cayenne. Within about an hour the pain - inside and out - completely went away. Yes, completely, and I had what seemed like one of the best sleeps I had had in a long time.

This AM thru noon, I felt great, but this early afternoon I'm still a little shakey -- a slight twinge here, a slight twinge there. And the pustules are still there, but not increasing in size (and, as I write this, only a very, very, very occasional itch/pain from my little read friends.

I am going to keep this up, and have absolutely no doubt that this will do the trick. In fact, I'm going to apply your ACV/CP elixer as soon as I press 'send'.

Apple Cider Vinegar, Lysine

Posted by Lori (South Florida) on 09/03/2015
5 out of 5 stars

Just realized I'm having a shingles outbreak on my inner thigh. Haven't had one in 10 yrs. Immediately took 1000mg of L-lysine and Vitamin C. Put apple cider vinegar on a cotton ball and put it on the rash for a few moments. Will come back to update.

9/7/15 UPDATE: Since 9/3 I've been taking 500mg L-lysine twice a day and using Apple Cider Vinegar on the rash twice a day on a cotton ball for a few seconds. Can say the rash is drying up! A few minutes after using ACV the pain and itch goes away for most of the day. It's working!