Permaculture for the Body

Home Remedies for Shingles: An Anecdotal Experience



Let’s be real, if you have landed on this page, its unlikely you want a long backstory, and even more unlikely that you are reading this simple introduction. Lord knows that when you or someone you love is suffering from the debilitating, throbbing pain caused by a shingles outbreak, you are wanting to find solutions as rapidly as possible.

Earlier this year my dad broke out in a strange rash on the left side of his neck, near the base of his skull. My dad is a strong man, but I have never seen him in as much pain as he was, with this rash. He could hardly maintain a conversation without his entire body wincing in pain. He had shooting pain emanating from his head/neck, because of the damaged or “confused” nerve endings.

We ran through all the possible webMD scenarios and it took us a couple days of pain/research, the opinion from urgent care, our chiropractor and an acupuncturist to diagnose a probable case of the shingles. (We aren’t sure why it came about, it was right after a “really good” –or “really harsh” (depending on your opinion)–chiropractic adjustment, and also right after moving his mother-in-law into our new addition…for a guy who doesn’t usually let himself get “stressed”, it is possible he was feeling a little bit of pressure.)


My dad received a script for steroid medication or anti-inflammatories to help with the pain and inflammation, but instead of taking them immediately, knowing they would just mask the deeper problem, we began to pursue natural remedies.

We tried a lot of different combinations of the following natural remedies, so I cannot say that one or another was the “perfect solution”, and I will mention here AGAIN, in addition to my full disclaimer., that I am not a doctor and these protocols should not be taken as prescriptions. These are just the steps we took to remedy the rash and alleviate the pain. In addition, since this 1-2 week period in July, my dad has not had any rashes, nerve problems, outbreaks or similar pains.

Home-Remedies we used for Shingles:

1. Essential Oils

We used a variety of essential oils, specifically those that are therapeutic to nerve pain relief. At various times and in various combinations we used Lavender, Melaleuca, Frankincense, Melissa, Helichrysum, and Bergamot.

How we used them:

  • Topically: Lavender, Melaleuca & Frankincense mixed with fractionated coconut oil
  • Topically: Melissa & Helichrysum mixed with fractionated coconut oil
  • Aromatically: Diffused Bergamot & Lavender.
  • When it comes to any ailment, and I find myself in a place of doubt, I ALWAYS start with Frankincense. It is a powerful oil and can be beneficial in so many ways. When we first started using frankincense, the rash almost seemed to get worse. As if, it was drawing more toxins to the surface, so we backed off on frankincense, and used more lavender.

2. Massage

We did massage on the entire back, even though the “location” of the shingles was quite small, and located on the neck, we worked on knots in the neck, shoulders and upper back. Massage was also another opportunity to use oils on the body, without necessarily putting oils directly on the rash.

3. Hot Foot Bath

This provided the MOST RELIEF of any of the treatments done.

The point of a Hot Foot Bath is to increase the temperature in the body. Essentially, you are inducing a manageable fever, and sweating for your body to fight and dispel any toxins.

How To: My dad, in swim trunks sat on a metal folding chair covered in a cotton sheet. We then wrapped the sheet around his body and tucked a towel in by his neck. We placed his feet in hot water, with room for more hot water to be added throughout the treatment. We also put a pot of boiling water underneath his chair, inside of the sheet canopy, to create a miniature steam room. We then wrapped him in 2-3 large, very warm blankets.

We checked his temperature before beginning the treatment, and every 5-10 minutes while administering the protocol. We also gave him room temperature water through a straw every 5-10 minutes. After about 10-15 minutes of being VERY warm, we began to place a cool washcloth on his head, to keep his head/brain temperature comfortable.

He was sweating and fairly “uncomfortable” within 10-15 minutes of the hot foot bath, which is GOOD. In my dad’s situation, we could hardly get him to break a 98-99 degree fever (His temperature runs low). However, the goal is to get the body to a 100-102 degree temperature.

We usually did the hot foot bath once per day, and it lasted 30-40 minutes. At the end of the treatment, we would remove the heat and the hot foot bath bucket, take off the blankets and ask my dad to rest for about 15-20 minutes before showering to remove the sweat and toxins on the skin.

The Hot Foot Bath protocol is described in more detail here, by Agatha M. Thrash, M.D.

It is also described in more detail here, by Joe and Elsa Willis of Amazing Discoveries.

4. Chiropractic Care

He saw the chiropractor a couple times, without any noticeable or long-lasting relief, but like I mentioned above, I believe all of these things worked together for a total healing process.

5. Acupuncture

Acupuncture was relief in the moment. While the pins were in his body, he stated there was an actual “pulling” sensation from the pain in his neck. As if the nerves were being lengthen and calmed. Unfortunately, after the treatment, the pain would return fairly quickly, but we did 2-3 treatments a week for 2 weeks, and by the end he was having no pain.

6. Water & Nutrition

I cannot talk about natural home-remedies without stressing the fact that proper hydration and nutrition is key. My dad avoided processed and refined sugar, did high doses of vitamin C, B-Complex, and CBD supplements. In addition, my dad maintained great hydration throughout the entire process.

7. Fasting

When the rash and pain were first beginning, my dad did a 24 hour fast. (No food or water). There’s no saying whether the fast was pivotal to the healing process, but I would personally think a longer fast might have been even more beneficial, because fasting is so great for reseting our systems. However, I cannot say with any certainty that fasting can help the nervous system.

8. Sunlight

My dad allowed sunlight to the area in small doses. He would avoid allowing the sunlight  to hit the area if oils had recently been applied, but if his skin was dry, then he would sit in the sunshine for 15-20 minutes at a time. This seemed to help the rash “dry out” so to speak, and was especially helpful near the end, as it was scabbing over and disappearing.

9. Arnica Montana

Just a simple natural anti-inflammatory. We originally purchased this to help me recover from labor and birth, but we have used it so many times since then. So, to help my dad with inflammation, he would take about 3 of the dissolvable pellets, like these, under his tongue 2x a day.

10. Prayer

… And Christ is the same compassionate physician now that He was during His earthly ministry. In Him there is healing balm for every disease, restoring power for every infirmity. His disciples in this time are to pray for the sick as verily as the disciples of old prayed. And recoveries will follow; for “the prayer of faith shall save the sick.” We have the Holy Spirit’s power, the calm assurance of faith, that can claim God’s promises. The Lord’s promise, “They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:18), is just as trustworthy now as in the days of the apostles. It presents the privilege of God’s children, and our faith should lay hold of all that it embraces. Christ’s servants are the channel of His working, and through them He desires to exercise His healing power. It is our work to present the sick and suffering to God in the arms of our faith. We should teach them to believe in the Great Healer.

– Ellen G. White

“Ministry of Healing”

Like I mentioned above, this was simply our experience, shared as honestly and accurately as possible. I am sorry I don’t have more images of the process, believe it or not, I was not thinking about blogging the experience, until months later. In general, we did things that supported the immune system and reduced inflammation. I am sure we did not exhaust all possibilities for helping him heal, but I believe we did a lot of things with prayerful intention, and his body responded well.


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