Archive for the ‘Shingles – using essential oils for symptom relief’ Category

Shingles

Friday, February 20th, 2015

Shingles is a painful skin rash caused by the varicella zoster virus also known as herpes zoster; it is part of a group of

Photo from webmd

Photo from webmd

viruses that also causes chicken pox, cold sores and genital herpes (Note: although part of the same group of viruses, the virus that causes cold sores and genital herpes is different than what causes chickenpox/shingles). Once you have the varicella zoster virus it can enter your nervous system and lie dormant; if it reactivates it can produce shingles.

Although it is unclear what causes the virus to become active again, it is thought that contributing factors are stress, injury, illness, medications or other circumstances that lead to a weakened immune system.

Shingles often presents as a band of blisters that affects one side of your body, torso, neck or face. Often there is a feeling of pain, burning, numbness or tingling that occurs before a rash is apparent; not all people develop a rash. Symptoms may also include itching, fever, headache, light sensitivity and fatigue.

If you suspect that you have shingles, it is important to contact your health care provider immediately, to explore all possible treatment options and ways to prevent long term complications.

Essential oils to support symptom relief.

Essential oils recommended for effectiveness against the herpes zoster virus:
Bergamot Citrus bergamia, Tea Tree Melaleuca alternifolia, Ravensara Ravensara aromatica and Melissa Melissa officinalis

Essential oils helpful in relieving initial itchy rash:
Chamomile German Matricaria chamomilla Chamomile Roman Anthemis nobilis, Peppermint Mentha piperita, Lavender Lavandula angustifolia, and Helichrysum Helichrysum italicum

Essential oils for nerve pain:
Nutmeg Myristica fragrans, Lavender Lavandula angustifolia, Eucalyptus Radiata Eucalyptus radiata, Marjoram Sweet Origanum majorana, Helichrysum Helichrysum italicum
If warmth seems to bring relieve from nerve pains adding some Black Pepper Piper nigrum or Ginger Zingiber officinalis may be helpful

Suggested Carrier Oil:
Tamanu Calophyllum inophyllum– Tamanu has anti-inflammatory properties and promotes the formation of new tissue due to its neutral lipids, glycolipids, and phospholipids, calophyllic acid (a fatty acid), and calophyllolide (an anti-bacterial and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory).

Suggested Carrier Oils to blend with Tamanu
Rose Hip  Rosa mosqueta is beneficial for skin care due to the fatty acid content of linoleic and linolenic acids as well as the presence of retinoic acid (a vitamin A derivative)

Calendula Calendula officinalis contains flavonol glycosides, triterpene oligoglycosides, oleanane-type triterpene glycosides, saponins, and a sesquiterpene glucoside, it has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, astringent, antifungal, antiviral, and immune-stimulant properties.

Fractionated Coconut Oil Cocos nucifera has no aroma, is light weight and easily absorbed; use for easy, no touch spray on application.

Application Methods:

During acute phase:

Spritzer – No touch application
During the acute stage of an outbreak it may be most comfortable to mix your essential oils in fractionated coconut oil and use a spritzer bottle as a no touch application method. Fractionated Coconut Oil is light enough to use with a spritzer and it is easily absorbed. Other carriers that can be used in spritzer form are aloe vera and witch hazel, both have cooling properties to promote comfort.

Essential oils should be diluted to 10% during this stage. (10% equals 60 drops of essential oil per 1 oz. of carrier.) Choose your essential oils from those listed above based on your symptoms.

i.e. A blend of Melissa, Ravensara, and Peppermint can be used as an anti-viral and analgesic.

Cool Baths
Cool, colloidal oatmeal baths can help to sooth irritation. A cool bath with colloidal oatmeal (available at most drug stores or make your own by grinding oatmeal to a fine powder in a coffee or spice grinder. The oatmeal needs to be ground to a fine consistency for it to mix with water and not sink to the bottom of the tub.) 5-10 drops of essential oil mixed in a teaspoon of carrier oil. Mix your essential oil with the carrier oil then add to ground oatmeal and stir well. Add the mixture to your cool or tepid bath water, swirl the water and immerse yourself.

Post Rash – Nerve Pain
After the blisters have gone gently massage the area with a 1-2% dilution of essential oils in a carrier oil and apply as needed.

This is a suggested recipe from Aromatherapy for Massage Practitioners by Ingrid Martin.
Use only after the skin has healed.

3 drop Geranium (analgesic, balancing)
5 drop Lavender (analgesic, calming)
2 drop German Chamomile (anti-inflammatory, calming)
2 drop Nutmeg (analgesic, antidepressant)
Mix in 2oz Tamanu or other carrier of your choice.
You can follow the proportions of this recipe and substitute other essential oils as desired. This recipe provides a 1% dilution ratio. It is recommended to start with 1% dilution increase to 2% if needed.

References:
Aromatherpy for Massage Practioners by Ingrid Martin
Aromatherapy for Health Professionals by Shirly and Len Price
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/shingles/basics/symptoms/con-20019574
http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/shingles/default.htm
Because colloidal oatmeal is nothing more than powdered oatmeal, you can make it yourself. Simply grind whole oats in a food processor or coffee grinder, but make sure you grind the oatmeal to a fine consistency. Oatmeal that’s too coarse won’t mix thoroughly with water and will sink to the bottom of the tub, making it less effective [source: Whole Health MD