Shingles – Ease The Pain And Itching Naturally
Shingles is a very painful condition, giving a lot of pain and itching, sometimes for many weeks, even months. Fortunately there are natural ways to ease the symptoms and shorten the attack.
Shingles is also known as Zona, from the Greek word meaning a belt or band, because of the way the condition affects a limited area of skin - often in a band around the body.
Zona is caused by the chicken pox virus, herpes zoster. Chicken pox itself is a mild disease for young children. They recover quickly and apparently completely – but the virus hangs around, lying dormant in the spinal column.
From there it can strike at any time, whenever one’s immune system is low.
It’s usually thought of as a complaint of older people, but it can affect you at any age, after you’ve had chicken pox – my eldest daughter had Zona when she was studying for exams – a very stressful time.
By the way, it’s a myth that older people can catch shingles from children with chicken pox – it’s the other way around. My youngest children all got chicken pox shortly after their big sister came out in her rash.
You can avoid shingles, or a recurrence of it, if you keep your immune system strong and healthy.
The best natural remedies for Herpes Zosta are essential oils and herbs.
Bergamot, Eucalyptus and Ti-tree are the first choice of oils to ease the pain and heal the blisters. These oils are analgesic (pain-relieving) and anti-viral. Bergamot is also a powerful anti depressant, which is useful as having shingles can be very depressing.
You can make a blend of essential oils with witch hazel to bath the affected area, or add the oils to your bath.
Put 50ml each of witch hazel tincture and clean water in a clean jam jar. Add 6 to 10 drops of each of the oils. Put the lid on tightly and shake the jar well to mix. Bathe the affected area frequently - you’re going to need help if the rash is on your back. If your skin is too sensitive to touch apply the mixture with a very soft paintbrush.
For a bath, add 2 or 3 drops of each essential oil to the warm (not hot) water.
If the pain goes on long after the blisters have cleared up, Lavender and Camomile oils are helpful. Both are very soothing for all skin problems, and relaxing to the nerves.
If you don’t have lavender oil you can use the dried or fresh flowers. Make an infusion by pouring boiling water over the flowers in a large mug or teapot. Let it brew for 5 –10 minutes before adding to your bath water. Similarly you can use Camomile tea, conveniently available in tea bags.
These same oils are also good for children with chicken pox. I made a mixture of witch hazel and water with all five of the oils above and used it for my little ones with chicken pox as well as the older girl with shingles. All were soon well again.
Conventional medicine says there is no cure for Zona. Orthodox treatment for the symptoms includes calamine lotion or anti histamines for the itching, and various types of painkillers. All of these have potential side effects. Even calomine lotion can occasionally have side effects including hives, difficulty breathing and swelling of the tongue, throat or face.
None of them cures the disease, or even shortens the duration of an attack.
Note: if your face is affected, your eyesight could be damaged, either temporarily or permanently, so as well as using every natural means to reduce the infection, it might be wise to see an ophthalmologist (eye doctor).
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