Home Remedies for Shingles: 5 Natural Methods for Relief

Updated in September 2023
Scientifically proven

Home remedies for shingles, such as oatmeal or chamomile baths, can be used to help relieve itching and discomfort, as well as speed up skin healing. This condition is not curable and symptoms are triggered by the virus when it is activated in the body. The virus is then taken care of by the immune system.

These home remedies can be used to complement prescribed treatment from your doctor. However, they should only be applied to areas of the skin that do not have open wounds, as these remedies can cause more irritation and worsen symptoms.

Shingles can resurface at any time in people who have had chickenpox or shingles in the past, as the virus remains inactive in the body for many years and can flare-up when the immune system is weakened. This can particularly happen in cases of HIV infection, cancer treatment or autoimmune diseases.

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Some home remedies for shingles include:

1. Apple cider vinegar compresses

Apple cider vinegar has excellent properties for treating skin irritations and injuries. The acidity of the vinegar can help to dry shingle blisters, manage itching and promote healing. Check out the health benefits of apple cider vinegar and the different ways to use it. 


  • 1 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup of warm water

How to prepare

Mix the ingredients in a bowl and soak gauze or clean cloth in the fluid. Then, wring them out and apply directly the affected skin for 5 minutes, avoiding any open wounds. Remove and allow the skin to air dry.

2. Cornstarch and bicarbonate paste

Paste made with cornstarch and baking soda is a great natural way to dry out shingles lesions while also soothing skin irritation and reducing related discomfort.


  • 10 g of cornstarch
  • 10 g of bicarbonate sodium
  • Water 

How to prepare

Mix the cornstarch and bicarbonate in a small bowl and then add a few drops of water until you obtain a homogeneous paste. Apply this paste to the shingles blisters, avoiding areas with open wounds.

After 10 to 15 minutes, remove the paste with warm water and repeat the process several times a day, as necessary.

3. Oatmeal bath

Oatmeal baths contains pantothenic acid, beta-glucans, vitamins B1 and B2 and amino acids in its composition. These substances have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and soothing properties, while the starch in the oats act as a moisturizer. It can help to relieve itchy skin, making it a great home remedy to protect and soothe skin irritated by shingles.


  • ⅓ cup of oatmeal flour
  • 1 liter of hot water

How to prepare

Grind the oat flour in a blender or mixer until you obtain a very fine powder. Add the oat powder and water to a bowl and mix for about 15 minutes, until it is completely dissolved and the water turns milky in color.

Then wait for this mixture to cool down and take a bath, pouring the oat water over areas of the skin affected by shingles. Leave it on the skin to act for 10 to 20 minutes, ideally without using any type of soap. It is important that the water is at a temperature closer to that of the skin, as hot water tends to make itching worse.

Rinse the body with running water and pat dry with a clean, dry and soft towel.

4. Calendula oil

The flavonoids found in calendula oil have anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce skin irritation and promote blister healing. It can also help to reduce itching caused by shingles.


  • Calendula oil

How to prepare

Pour some calendula oil in your hand and rub it over the shingles blisters, allowing it to air dry. This process can be repeated several times a day, ideally after washing your skin.

5. Chamomile bath

Chamomile is a plant that is commonly used as a natural soothing agent, not only for the nervous system, but also for the skin, It can be used for skin irritation or inflammation to improve symptoms like pain and itching caused by shingles. Learn more about the benefits of chamomile tea for your health.


  • 5 tablespoons of chamomile flowers
  • 1 liter of boiling water

How to prepare

Place these ingredients in a bowl and let them infuse in for 10 minutes. Then, strain and use the warm water to wash any areas of the skin affected by shingles.

Another option is to apply ointments that contain chamomile over shingles blisters to reduce itching throughout the day.

Other treatment measures

Some additional precautions can be taken at home to help eliminate the virus, speed-up recovery and reduce the discomfort caused by the infection. These include:

  • Rest and avoid tasks that require a lot of energy
  • Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day
  • Keep the affected areas of the skin clean and dry
  • Avoid covering the affected skin and let them air out
  • Do not scratch the blisters
  • Apply cold compresses to the area to reduce itching

If the itching and pain do not improve with the compresses, you should consult a dermatologist or a general practitioner. They may prescribe creams or ointments that help to manage symptoms. When the pain is very intense, the doctor may also prescribe painkillers, such as acetaminophen.