The word “shingles” means “girdle” in Latin and French languages. It exactly reflects the distribution of rashes. These bands are usually only on one side of the body and in the dominant of a single sensory nerve.
Shingles is a disease that affects the nerves and it produces a band of painful spots on the skin. It is a result of the reactivation of the herpes zoster virus which causes chickenpox.
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After you recover from chickenpox, this virus is dormant in your sensory nerves. It can “sleep” forever in some people, but it can also “wake up” in others after causing chickenpox many years ago. It travels along the sensory nerves into the skin and produces painful rashes known as shingles.
Anyone who used to catch chickenpox or be vaccinated against chickenpox may be infected by shingles. Those who are old, have cancer, HIV or used to have a tissue transplant are susceptible to have shingles because their resistance against infection reduces.
What Causes Shingles?
Nowadays, there is no exact reason why this chickenpox virus is reactive. However, according to the researchers, when the immune system is weakened, it loses its ability to stop the virus from reactivating and the outbreak of shingles.
The following are considered as the reasons of shingles:
Immune System Weakened Due to Aging: Shingles has a very high incidence in people at over the age of fifty because their immune system is gradually weakened and are unable to inhibit the virus.
Inadequate Immune System: Children are more likely to develop shingles if they have had chickenpox before. A child’s immune system is not fully perfected so it is possible for the virus to reactivate to cause shingles.
Stress: Nervous tension persists and the body is fatigued, which will weaken the immune system at that time and give the virus a chance of reactivation.
Diseases Weakening the Immune System: For those who are infected with HIV/AIDS and have cancer or take medications such as steroids or under radiation treatments, the decline of their immune systems also increases the risk of shingles.
Depending on which nerves are affected, shingles can appear in many different areas of the body. The first symptom of shingles is usually increasing skin or pain sensation on one side of the body. Skin sensations may include itching, stretching, burning, persistent aches or sharp pain.
Normally, after the pain appears one to three days, the band of rashes will appear red and be swollen in the position of pain. Then, it will make the accumulation of pus and scab within ten to twelve days. Two to three weeks later, the band of rashes will disappear and the scabs fall out and may leave scars.
People who have shingles cannot recover themselves but need early treatment. The best treatment is within forty-eight hours from the time of skin damage. If the treatment is within the first week, the result is quite good. The longer the treatment is delayed, the more the risk of complications.
Complications of Shingles
People can fully bear the responsibility of the following serious consequences if ignoring the threats from the shingles.
- Pregnant women with shingles will definitely affect the fetus in the abdomen. Its levels of influence depending on the condition of the mother’s condition.
- For the elderly people, they often suffer from persistent pain even though they may have cured the shingles for years.
- In people with long-term shingles without treatment, the virus may penetrate deeper into their bodies, causing meningitis, platelet hemorrhage, pancreatitis and so on.
Especially, in the sensitive areas of the body such as the eyes, lips, around the face or even in the mouth, shingles complications can completely cause blindness, hearing loss, damaged lips, facial swelling, and even facial deformity.
The Best Essential Oils for Shingles
There are many effective treatments for this disease from Oriental to Western medicine; however, you can also use the following 7 essential oils for shingles because of their simple and safe uses.
1. Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree essential oil (buy it from amazon.com) contains a total of 12 active elements. They are linked together to create the value of tea tree essential oil, especially two components are terpinene-4-ol with the content of more than thirty percent and cineol with the content of about fifteen percent.
Effects of tea tree essential oil on human beings are mainly from the use of these two active elements. With these two components, tea tree essential oil has antiseptic, antiviral and antibacterial properties as well as anesthetic properties. Thus, it is useful to heal shingles, relieve pain related to shingles and prevent infection from this disease.
Dilute tea tree oil with a small amount of water and apply it to the affected area three times a day. Shingles will be resolved shortly after doing this way several times thanks to the wonderful effects of this natural essential oil.
2. Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil (buy it from amazon.com) is considered to be the most versatile one used to help the body relax, reduce stress, and has a very high value when used for beautifying. In addition, it also has bactericidal, anti-inflammatory, and fungicidal properties so it is used to treat not only dermatitis, fungal skin, eczema but also shingles.
The usage of lavender essential oil for shingles treatment is very simple. You just use lavender essential oil mixed with tacamahac-tree oil or coconut oil and apply this mixture to the affected area.
To make this oil more effective, you need to spread it around to prevent the spread of the shingles into the surrounding area. Do this five to six times daily in order that the affected area will quickly recover from the shingles thoroughly.
One of the effective essential oils for shingles is chamomile essential oil. It contains benzaldehyde, benzoic acid and benzyl benzoate which have high antiseptic properties. Thus, it helps kill bacteria, fungicides and treat infectious diseases caused by virus including shingles. Make a mixture of a few drops of chamomile essential oil and lavender essential oil and apply it to the affected area to soothe shingles.
4. Geranium Essential Oil
The antimicrobial properties of geranium essential oil (buy it from amazon.com) help protect the body from infections, prevent bacterial growth in the wound. Therefore, it is useful to treat skin diseases including shingles. Put ten drops of geranium essential oil into ten ml coconut oil and apply it to the shingles rashes. It helps the affected skin area dry and scaly.
Peppermint essential oil (buy it from amazon.com) is recommended as one of the useful natural treatment for shingles due to highly antiseptic and cool properties. It helps reduce shingles spots as well as relieve the pain.
Simply, apply this essential oil directly to the affected area. Do it four to five times daily within two to seven days to get better results.
Note that before doing this method, you should clean and dry the affected area. In addition, if shingles is in sensitive areas, you shouldn’t use this to avoid violent pain.
6. Bergamot Essential Oil
Bergamot, a citrus tree whose scientific name is Citrus Bergamia. It is identified as a hybrid between orange and lemon, or a kind of mutant lemon. Bergamot essential oil (buy it from amazon.com) is extracted from the shell of the fruit through the cold pressing process, which is different from the steam distillation method of other essential oils.
Bergamot is one of the most valuable essential oils to restore balance to the mind and health. In addition, it is one of the natural remedies for pain relief without any side effects because it has the ability to stimulate hormone secretion to reduce the sensitivity of the pain nerves. Apart from that, it helps to inhibit the growth of the bacterium, virus, and fungi to reduce skin infections including shingles due to the antibiotic and antiseptic properties.
For shingles relief, add twelve drops of bergamot essential oil to about 30gr of aloe vera oil and then apply it to the affected areas. Try to do this daily to get the best results.
The last in the list of seven best essential oils for shingles is coconut oil (buy it from amazon.com). This is a precious material from nature, which is not only nutritious but also used in beauty and healing. Particularly, it has the ability to restore and regenerate the skin.
The most prominent component is the lauric acid which contains more than 50% of the nutritional value found in this oil. This component has antibacterial properties so it can be used to treat dermatological diseases such as psoriasis, diarrhea, blackheads, and shingles.
To treat shingles, you can apply directly it to the problem areas or use a cotton pad which is soaked in the coconut oil and then rub it on the shingles rashes.
More Tips to Treat Shingles
Shingles do not clearly identify the time of the outbreak, so specific prevention is very difficult. Therefore, to prevent the growth of the shingles pathogen and improve the body’s resistance, there are some following positive methods in daily routines.
- Reasonable diet: Eat a healthy diet with a plenty of vitamins in vegetables and fruit juices to help boost your body’s resistance effectively.
- Do exercise and train your body every day to become tough.
- Thorough treatments of inflammatory diseases, flu so as not to suffer from dangerous health conditions.
- Reduce fatigue stress.
- Do not use stimulants such as alcohol, carbonated drinks or cigarettes.
- Keep the body clean, do not touch the shingles, or avoid sharing household items or contact sick people to limit the spread of the virus.
In conclusion, use any one of the essential oils mentioned above to treat your shingles. Essential oils are natural and safe and soothe the affected skin immediately. If the oils could not heal your shingles or it became severe, talk to your dermatologist or doctor ASAP.
Author Bio: My name’s Jasmine He. Now, I have been working as an editor of Carekees, a website that provides health tips, beauty, and natural care to promote the well-being of the readers.