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Shingles - Dealing with the Pain

Shingles - Dealing with the Pain
by Penny Keay

Lately, I have seen, and I’m sure many of you have seen commercials for various prescription drugs.  The one that has really struck me that is something we as Aromatherapists know there are alternatives we can offer that may help more quickly than any prescription medication is a commercial for Herpes Zoster aka Shingles.

Shingles is a type of blistering skin lesion that is very painful.   The virus is the same as the one that causes Chicken Pox virus (varicella zoster virus).    

For some reason it likes to rear its ugly head as this painful skin rash in adults who have had or been exposed as children to the chicken pox.   Children can also develop shingles; it’s just more common to see it in older adults.

After you had chicken pox the virus lays dormant in or along nerves cells.  When the time is right (okay, maybe not ever right), when something in your life or immune system has been compromised the virus becomes active and you will develop this painful rash.

What can you use for essential oils?   As I did some research into essential oils that have been helpful when you have a case of Shingles I checked our trade journals and found a couple articles.  Also checked with others Aromatherapists to find what has worked for their clients.

The list of essential oils includes:  Ravensara, Ravintsara, Melissa, Tea Tree, Geranium, Rose otto, Thyme vulgaris.  

There are other supporting essential oils that can help but are not key to the immediate relief.   They are Roman and German Chamomile, Bergamot fcf, Sage and several of the Eucalyptus oils and Peppermint

Kurt Schnaubelt Phd. has written in several of his aromatherapy books that the number one essential oil for shingles lesions is Ravintsara.

Along with either of these essential oils, he also mentions that they should be mixed with Calophyllym inophyllum also known as Tamanu or Green Foraha oil.    

The ratio he suggests is 1 part Ravensara OR Ravintsara to 1 part Tamanu.   Then apply a thin layer to the affected area every few hours.  

Tamanu is a very sweet, sticky carrier oil that is well researched and well known for use with skin conditions.  It has wonderful pain relieving properties and is useful for arthritis and rheumatism.      When you combine these properties with the antiviral and pain relieving properties of both Ravintsara you have a winning combination against the discomforts Shingles causes.

Other Aromatherapists in our associations (NAHA & AIA) have shared their recipes during conferences and in trade journals.   Below are some of their suggestions:   

All use Tamanu oil and Ravensara (or Ravintsara) as important ingredients.

Besides Kurt Schnaubelt’s blend above, another one suggests using 3 parts Tamanu to 1 part Ravensara.   In other words a recipe suggestion would be:

Tamanu oil – 3 teaspoons (15mL)
Ravensara – 1 teaspoon (5 ml)

Or another blend

Tamanu oil – 25ml
Jojoba - 20ml
Ravensara – 5ml


Jojoba – 45ml
Tamanu oil  – 15ml
Fractionated Coconut oil – 15ml
Ravensara – 5ml

These are merely suggestions of recipes that have worked for others.   

You can add other essential oils from the list above that have been used for Shingles lesions.

There may be a combination of any of those that will work for you or someone you know that has shingles.

If your active lesions have healed but you are still experiencing residual pain you may want to try adding Helichrysum, German Chamomile, Eucalyptus or Peppermint to the above recipe suggestions.   Add a couple drops of one or more of these. 

Helichrysum is known to help nerves heal and regenerate.  It is also a great pain reliever.   German Chamomile is a known anti-inflammatory essential oil.  Eucalyptus and Peppermint are wonderful for pain relief.  These two essentials might be too uncomfortable though if used on active or new outbreaks.

If you do use these blends or have a blend of your own that you use, Please comment below so we can help others that have been so afflicted with the Shingles virus.

For more information on the symptoms etc on Shingles see Wikipedia for details. 

The information provided on this Website-Blog is for informational and educational purposes only. 
You should not use this information to replace medical advice given by a licensed medical practitioner. Anyone considering alternative therapies should remember to consult with their licensed medical professional before using any alternative or complementary method.  We do not give nor is any opinion on our web site medical advice, they are merely suggested uses.

© 2014  Penny Keay - All Rights Reserved World wide.