“Last August, I went through a bout of shingles on the left side of my face. I was left with post-herpetic neuralgia, or nerve pain, on my face that affects my cheek, jaw, neck, lips, forehead, ear and tongue. Some days it’s manageable and some days it’s not. Wondering if anyone has experienced this and would have any ideas for me on treating it without resorting to prescription drugs.Thank you.” – JR

What is Shingles?

Shingles is a skin rash that comes from the same virus as chickenpox. Years after you have chicken pox, a weakened immune system or stress can trigger shingles. Shingles consists of a painful rash and blisters. They usually appear as a band around the torso.

Shingles can last 2-6 weeks. A doctor may prescribe anti-viral medication to speed up the healing process. Because it is a viral infection, it can not be treated with antibiotics.

Essential oils can help manage shingles symptoms and reduce pain. Melaleuca,1 and eucalyptus2 can help heal your rash. Lavender,3 lemon,4 geranium,5 and bergamot6 can also help.

Causes of Shingles

Contributing factors to shingles include:

    • Chicken Pox
    • Weakened Immune System
    • Stress

Symptoms of Shingles

The most common symptoms of shingles include:

    • Painful Rash
    • Blisters
    • Itching
    • Flu-like symptoms
    • Light Sensitivity

Prevention of Shingles

Shingles can typically be avoided through dietary and lifestyle changes in the following ways:

    • Vaccines
    • Avoid touching someone with chickenpox or shingles

Beneficial Essential Oils for Shingles

    • Aromatic Use: Bergamot, Eucalyptus, Geranium, Lavender, Lemon, Melaleuca
    • Topical Use: Bergamot, Eucalyptus, Geranium, Lavender, Lemon, Melaleuca

There are many different ways to use essential oils for shingles. Here are some suggested ways:

  • Mix 5-10 drops each lavender, melaleuca and thyme,7 and 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil to affected area.
  • Dilute Eucalyptus oil as directed and apply 1-2 drops to area.

See Protocol related to this shingles.


  1. Pazyar, N., Yaghoobi, R., Bagherani, N., & Kazerouni, A. (2013). A review of applications of tea tree oil in dermatology. International Journal of Dermatology, 784-790.
  2. Hendry, E., Worthington, T., Conway, B., & Lambert, P. (2009). Antimicrobial efficacy of eucalyptus oil and 1,8-cineole alone and in combination with chlorhexidine digluconate against microorganisms grown in planktonic and biofilm cultures. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, 1219-1225.
  3. Huang, M., Liao, M., Wang, Y., Huang, Y., & Wen, H. (2012). Effect of Lavender Essential Oil on LPS-Stimulated Inflammation. The American Journal of Chinese Medicine, 40(4), 845-859.
  4. Poaty, B. Lahlah, J. Porqueres, F. Bouafif, H. (2915). Composition, antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of seven essential oils from the North American boreal forest. World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology, 31(6), 907-19.
  5. Radulovic, N., Zlatkovic, D., Dekic, M., & Stojanovic-Radic, Z. (2014). Further Antibacterial Geranium macrorrhizum L. Metabolites and Synthesis of Epoxygermacrones. Chemistry & Biodiversity, 542-550.
  6. Navarra, M. Mannucci, C. Delbò, M. Calapai, G. (2015). Citrus bergamia essential oil: From basic research to clinical application. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 6, 36-36.
  7. Anderson, C., Lis-Balchin, M., & Kirk-Smith, M. (2000). Evaluation of massage with essential oils on childhood atopic eczema. Phytotherapy Research, 452-456.


Other References

  • AromaTools.™ (2014) Modern Essentials. (Version 1.6.0) Retrieved from http://store.apple.com/us.
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. (2014, December 11). Shingles. Retrieved May 16, 2015, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/shingles/basics/definition/con-20019574
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