One out of every three Americans develops shingles, leading to an estimated 1 million cases each year in the United States alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Shingles, also called herpes zoster, is an infection caused by the varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chicken pox.

When a person gets chicken pox, the virus remains dormant in the nerve tissues even after the person has recovered. In some people, the virus gets reactivated and causes itchy and painful rashes on the skin, called shingles. While the infection can appear anywhere on the body, it mostly occurs on the torso, face and buttocks.


Learn more about ways to identify and treat shingles (herpes zoster) at the soonest possible time.

treat shingles

The condition is characterized by red, painful rashes with itchy and burning sensations. Other shingles symptoms include a headache, body pain, fatigue, a fever and sensitivity to light.

Although anyone who has had chicken pox may develop shingles, the risk increases with age. Also, people with weak immunity and those suffering from conditions like lymphoma, cancer, leukemia and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are more prone to the trouble.


While shingles usually clears up on its own within 3 to 4 weeks, sometimes the rashes become extremely painful and require medical care.


In mild to moderate cases, you can use natural home remedies to treat shingles (herpes zoster) and also to get rid of the pain and infection.

Method 1: Use Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

Apple cider vinegar (ACV), a mild acid, bursts with antibacterial and antiviral properties that help heal shingles. It works to dry out the sores and relieve itching, thus speeding up the healing process.

# Drink Apple Cider Vinegar

Single-Step Treatment: Dilute apple cider vinegar in water and drink it twice daily

drink apple cider vinegar to treat shingles

  • Mix 1 tablespoon of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar in a glass of warm water.

Drink the concoction 2 times each day for one or two weeks.


# Apply Apple Cider Vinegar

Topical application of apple cider vinegar restricts the infection from spreading further, while also relieving itchiness and pain.

Single-Step Treatment: Dab apple cider vinegar on the shingles rash

apply apple cider vinegar to treat shingles

  • Soak a cotton ball in raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar.
  • Dab it on the areas affected with shingles. You may feel an itching and burning sensation for a minute or two. Do not fret, as this will subside soon.
  • Leave it on the skin for 30 minutes before rinsing it off.

Repeat 3 times each day for at least one week to treat shingles.

Method 2: Use L-Lysine

L-lysine is an essential amino acid that curbs the virus from multiplying and developing into shingles.


It competes with L-arginine, an amino acid that facilitates growth of herpes simplex viruses and restricts its absorption by the infected cells in the body, thus helping you get rid of the infection.

Single-Step Treatment: Consume L-lysine daily for 2 weeks

l-lysine for shingles

Consume 1,000 mg to 1,200 mg of L-lysine daily for 2 weeks to cure shingles. This can be through supplementation or by consuming l-lysine rich foods like dairy, legumes, vegetables, fish, turkey and chicken.

Note: If you are suffering from cholesterol, triglyceride issue or cardiovascular disease, consult a doctor before using l-lysine. While l-lysine is generally harmless, excess consumption can affect your health by increasing the absorption of calcium in the body.

Method 3: Use Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is an antiviral and analgesic agent that helps soothe and treat shingles.

Things you’ll need:


tea tree oil and olive oil to treat shingles

  • Olive oil (reduces shingles discomfort) – 1 tablespoon
  • Tea tree essential oil (helps soothe the irritated skin) – 8 to 10 drops

Step 1. Squirt 8 to 10 drops of tea tree essential oil in olive oil

add tea tree essential oil to olive oil to treat shingles

  • Start with 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a bowl.
  • Mix 8 to 10 drops of tea tree essential oil into the olive oil.

Step 2. Apply the oil on the shingles rash

tea tree oil in olive oil to treat shingles

  • Rub the oil blend on the shingles rash.

Repeat 3 times a day for a week to treat shingles and get rid of the pain and infection.

Method 4: Use Garlic

Garlic has powerful antibacterial and antiviral properties that destroys harmful viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites in the body. It works to stop the replication of the virus that causes shingles.

Moreover, garlic strengthens the body’s immune system by delivering essential vitamins and minerals like vitamins A and C, zinc, potassium and selenium.

Single-Step Treatment: Apply garlic paste over the affected area

garlic to treat shingles

  • Crush 3 to 4 cloves of garlic to make a paste.
  • Apply the garlic paste on the shingles rash.
  • Leave it to dry for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Rinse it off with lukewarm water.

Repeat 2 times a day for a week or until you get rid of the pain and infection.

Method 5: Use Cayenne Pepper

A powerful pain reliever, cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, a compound with natural anti-irritant and anti-inflammatory properties that helps get rid of pain from shingles.

Aloe vera contains soothing and cooling properties that help reduce pain and itching, while also speeding up the healing process.

Things you’ll need:

cayenne pepper and aloe vera gel to treat shingles

  • Cayenne pepper (natural pain reliever) – 1 tablespoon
  • Aloe vera gel (helps reduce pain and itching) – 1 tablespoon

Step 1. Throw cayenne pepper and aloe vera gel in a bowl

add cayenne pepper and aloe vera gel for shingles

  • Put 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper in a bowl.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of aloe vera gel as well.

Step 2. Mix the ingredients and apply on the affected skin

mix cayenne pepper and aloe vera gel to treat shingles

  • Combine the ingredients well.
  • Apply the mixture on the affected area.
  • Allow it to dry for 30 minutes. This may itch a bit, but the itching sensation will subside soon.

Repeat once every day for 10 days to reduce skin irritation and itching.

Method 6: Use Listerine

Listerine works as an antiseptic agent and dries up shingles sores slowly and gradually.

Single-Step Treatment: Apply Listerine on the affected skin

listerine to treat shingles

  • Soak a cotton ball in Listerine.
  • Dab it on the affected skin.
  • Allow it to dry for 30 minutes before washing it off.

Repeat the treatment 3 times a day for a week to get relief from shingles pain.


  • Take a shower with cold water to help alleviate the pain of shingles.
  • After a bath or shower, wash your towel in hot water to reduce the spread of the virus.
  • An ice compress is another effective alternative to get rid of the pain and infection.
  • Always keep the inflamed skin clean and dry. Expose the affected area to air as much as possible.
  • Do not pick at the blisters, as this will only worsen the condition.
  • If you aren’t able to prepare the home remedies, calamine lotion or capsaicin cream can be applied to the affected area to soothe the discomfort.
  • During the initial stages, the virus has chances of spreading from one person to another. Therefore, do not share towels, clothes, linens or flannels while suffering with the infection.


Summary of How to Treat Shingles (Herpes Zoster)

treat shingles

Download this infographic.

Share This Infographic On Your Site!