Shingles are caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox. This virus, once contracted, remains dormant in a person's nerve roots. For some, it remains inactive for the rest of their lives. In others, however, the virus is triggered by specific diseases, stressors or a compromised immune system. Although it is unclear why this happens for some and not others, the virus is known to only cause shingles, and not another occurrence of chicken pox.
The Symptoms of Shingles
Essentially, shingles is a viral infection. It is marked by pain and a one-sided rash that occurs on the left or right of the body. The rash materializes as a confined area of pain that later becomes covered in red spots. Those then transform into a cluster of agonizing blisters. After several days, the blisters fill with fluid and form a layer of thick crust. Other symptoms associated with shingles are:
- Headache or sensitivity to light
- Dizziness or weakness
- Changes in vision
- Pain, tingling or itching on one side of the body
It can take up to four weeks for shingles to thoroughly heal, and some people are left with visible scars. However, the pain is known to persist for months, or even years, after the rash is gone. This is because the nerve where the rash appeared continues to be inflamed. A common treatment now recognized by both the scientific community and natural health professionals is tea tree oil. When massaged directly into the rash and blisters, this oil is known to promote skin healing and provide pain relief.
The Uses and Benefits of Tea Tree Oil
Research has shown that the Aborigine tribes used tea tree oil as a general antiseptic for thousands of years. Today, it is known as a natural antibacterial disinfectant with many health benefits.
Not only is tea tree oil a popular agent for curing infectious organisms, but it also is an astringent that works to treat and relieve many skin conditions. The antiviral properties of tea tree oil make it a strong treatment for a number of conditions that include shingles. This means it can be used to treat the virus and alleviate its symptoms. Moreover, tea tree oil contains anti-inflammatory and anesthetic properties to reduce pain. This relief is much-needed for sufferers of shingles, as the pain is one of the most notable side effects.
Tea tree oil also acts as an antibacterial agent, thereby reducing scarring and preventing further infection.
Proper Use of Tea Tree Oil for Shingles
Tea tree oil is a common and easy-to-find item in many retail stores. Its medicinal uses are well-known in the realm of alternative healing, particularly with regard to skin afflictions. Although the use of tea tree oil for treating shingles is not a new concept, it is considered novel by some people. Thus, different methods exist as to how the benefits of tea tree oil can be maximized. The following are some of the most popular applications:
- Mix tea tree oil with olive oil for a massage lotion. It can then be gently rubbed into the rash several times throughout the day for pain and itch relief.
- Mix tea tree oil with lavender oil and apply it to the shingles rash. Lavender is also an antiviral and analgesic agent. The combination of these oils is known to soothe and treat shingles. Persons who are uncomfortable applying straight oils can mix both of them with traditional lotion and apply it thus. Application should occur two or three times a day to maximize relief.
- Mix tea tree oil and lavender to create a hot or cold compress. A compress is made by placing five to 10 drops of each oil into a pan of water. A cloth should then be placed into the liquid and wrung out. Once the compress is prepared, it can be applied to the shingles rash for approximately 15 minutes or until it reaches body temperature.