life self-care Wellness

How to Get Rid of Shingles FAST!

March 5, 2022

Remember that time I got shingles on the face? I know I won’t be forgetting that experience anytime soon…For anyone who has had or currently has shingles, you know this is a pain you won’t soon forget. They call it adult chickenpox, but I can assure you it’s far worse than chickenpox ever was.

But it’s not all bad around here. My Dad always jokes that whenever shit hits the fan around here, it makes for a great blog post and well, he’s definitely right about that. THM is my personal version of making lemonade! Or in this case, make shingles recovery out of shingles!

I’m going to skip over the whole medical diagnosis part since your doctor should probably be the one doing that but instead describe my personal experience with shingles I.e. herpes zoster and how to recover from shingles quickly.

The first thing I did when I got diagnosed, was immediately take to the internet to see if anyone had helpful tips for healing shingles. I read a lot of shingles horror stories, some not-so-horror stories but also some really productive tips. I’m hoping this post can be that for some of you. Or if you have a friend or family member suffering, feel free to pass onto them. We got this!

So, first things first…

Trigeminal Nerve Shingles and healing shingles naturally


A couple days before the infamous shingles rash appeared, my lymph nodes on the left side of my neck and ear were super inflamed and I felt like I had a fever. I then developed a lot of pain in my ear with a monstrous headache, so the next day I went to the doctor to see if I had an ear infection. That morning I noticed two huge zits on my forehead which I thought was strange (because I never breakout on my forehead) but they didn’t occur to me as anything but zits. You know those huge underground zits you get? They looked and felt like those.

My doctor looked in my ear, felt my lymph nodes and informed me I did not have an ear infection but likely some kind of virus that my body was trying to fight. Neither of us thought anything of the zits and I went home feeling pretty crappy but relieved it wasn’t an ear infection.

Over the next few hours is when the rash really started to develop. A few more bumps on my forehead, one on my eyebrow and those big “zits” also known as “shingles blisters” started to become really painful. The pain I felt in my ear started moving into my head and my swollen lymph nodes made it difficult to turn my neck. I later found out that the pain in my ear was likely caused by the fact that the shingles on my face developed in my trigeminal nerve which is right next to your middle ear.

I knew pretty much as soon as the pain migrated to my forehead that I had shingles. People have been shocked to discover that you can a) get shingles under the age of 60 and b) get shingles on your face. I knew both were possible because my Mom had them on her face when I was really young. Thankfully that situation clued me into what was happening with my own body but for any of you out there who don’t know this, you can get shingles at any age and they can happen at any nerve root in your body, including your face!

Shingles recovery and tips and tricks for how to heal your body when diagnosed with shingles


Because I pretty quickly tuned into what was happening, I was able to get started with my shingles recovery fairly quickly. If you manage to diagnose it within 72 hours of the blisters appearing, the antiviral medications are most effective. I’m lucky I caught it within that window and am certain the quick duration of my symptoms was because of this. Of course, not everyone will know right away, but if you have a gut feeling or any of the symptoms I described above, go to your doctor!

Besides my antiviral 3x a day I was also prescribed pain meds, which I honestly didn’t end up taking. Heavy pain meds make me feel sick and groggy so except for the first two days when the pain was pretty excruciating, I used advil (ibuprofen) and tylenol (acetaminophen) to help manage the pain.

Eventually the pain dissipated and was followed by itching as the scabs dried and healed over. This is the typical course of shingles in which it starts with pain + tingling and then the rash appears. Once the rash scabs over you are no longer contagious.

Of course, I also turned to diet and lifestyle choices to also help manage the symptoms. I’m fairly confident that in addition to the antivirals, these choices helped to decrease the span of my shingles experience. So let’s get into that…

Healing shingles through supplements, diet and lifestyle changes - these are the best tips for healing your shingles and aiding in shingles recovery


I think the most important piece of this post is this section. Of course, catching it early and taking the antivirals help a ton but shingles is so much more than just popping some pills and hoping for the best. I’m not here to throw conventional medicine under the rug. I don’t think I’d have had such a quick turnaround if it hadn’t been for the full course of antivirals I took, but there are a lot of natural treatments you can incorporate to also help speed up the process and the pain and itchiness that typically ensues.


In addition to OTC pain meds, I used CBD and THC to help manage the pain. I’ve been playing around with different types of CBD and found the Calm pen from Dosist to be most effective. For THC I used topical salve on the rash itself and it was literally a godsend to help manage the pain.


There’s a reason your body craves broth when you’re sick. Bone broth is super anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting. It contains vitamins and minerals that help support gut health and reduce pain and inflammation.

I’ve had two cups of bone broth every single day for the last two weeks. Currently obsessed with Kettle and Fire and especially their mushroom and chicken broth! Use code THEHEALTHYMAVEN to save 20% off your first order.


When they say “it all starts in your gut”, they’re not kidding! After my bout with SIBO I had to eliminate and then slowly add in fermented foods and probiotics. It’s been almost 6 months since then and I am now happily back to taking my daily probiotic and guzzling my Healthade kombucha. 5:00 PM became my “kombucha happy hour”.


Pretty much everyone under the sun will recommend a different supplement to you when they hear you have shingles. Truthfully, there are many MANY out there that could benefit you, shingles or not. I decided to stick with what I had from my Care/of packs and add in one that was consensus amongst everyone, L-Lysine.

Zinc – supports immune function and has an antiviral effect

L-lysine – an amino acid that helps reduce the spread of the shingles virus

Rhodiola – an adaptogenic herb that’s shown stress relieving properties

Astragalus – another herb that helps support immune function and has an antiviral effect


I wasn’t sure which category to put this under, so instead it gets a category of it’s own. Lemon Balm is an herb that is known to help reduce pain from shingles, both internally and topically. I pretty much got all my hydration from drinking 6-8 cups of Lemon Balm Tea a day and once the initial couple of days of pain went down, I used a topical lemon balm cream to help reduce inflammation, reduce pain and help promote healing. Someone on Instagram told me to order this Lemon Balm Salve from Amazon and it was literally the best advice I got from everyone. Within a week the rash had gone done and had begun healing.


I am a true believer in the healing power of food. Now I don’t think eating perfectly “clean” replaces other lifestyle habits or conventional medicine, but it is a great tertiary care to support your body. And truthfully, when you’re sick (at least when I’m sick), I’m not craving the same foods I normally do. I think when you really tap in and listen you’ll realize that the foods you crave like bone broth and vegetables are actually your body’s way of supporting you.

In my case I literally wanted all the warm, green veggies in broth. Particularly kale and bok choy. Interestingly my acupuncturist told me that bok choy is a common healing and cooling food in Traditional Chinese Medicine and that because shingles is excessive heat in your body, bok choy was a great cooling choice. Our bodies are crazy!

In addition to plenty of veggies, I also found myself gravitating towards antioxidant fruits like berries and lots of bananas. I didn’t intentionally do it, but I pretty much ate zero refined sugar for a week. As I started to feel better I was like “give me the brownies!!!” but while I was still heavy in the pain-zone I didn’t want any of it.

I also consumed more turmeric that I ever thought I could and especially loved it in my morning Matcha and Turmeric Latte. My body was NOT craving coffee so my morning matcha really did the trick.


I’ll be honest, when I’m sick I often turn to essential oils for primary support, but for shingles they definitely played second fiddle. I rubbed fortify on my chest and neck lymph nodes to support my immune system and diffused grounding and soothing blends like unwind, spa spirit and tranquility to help stay calm and promote self-care and relaxation.

I personally didn’t do this because I had shingles on my face but if you have shingles on the side of the body (the most common) or somewhere you can soak in a bath, people swear by oatmeal baths to help relieve pain and improve symptoms.

*Note: After about two weeks I began seeing an acupuncturist to help with some peripheral nerve pain that remained even after the rash had healed. I highly recommend if you’re still dealing with pain but are out of the itchiness and scabbing phase.

Kombucha and how probiotics help in shingles recovery


I know that this is a lot of information so give yourself time to take it all in. Perhaps, more importantly take this one piece of advice: RELAX. Shingles is usually brought on by stress in your life. While I didn’t think I had a lot of stress (I’ve become a lot better at managing it!), when I listed everything on my plate it’s easy to see how my body was overburdened.

The biggest lesson learned through this process is how important it is to really, truly support your body. People often mentioned how lucky I was to be able to have a job that works from home, but when you’re sick it’s easy to just reach for your phone in bed or work on a project while recovering on the couch. The boundaries are less clear. Though I did the bare minimum I needed to do, I mostly took a lot of time to rest, nap, journal, watch TV and essentially do nothing.

Acknowledging those stressors and putting in plans of action to eliminate or diffuse them is the key to getting over shingles.

* * * * *

Also if you’re over 60 there is a shingles vaccination (called shingrix) which you can ask your doctor about.

Have you ever had or currently have shingles? Any tips to add? Drop them below!


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  • Reply
    Cora huges
    November 22, 2018 at 10:53 pm

    Fibromyalgia attacked my mother body more than 3 years ago after her knee surgery. She has been in a wheelchair for about six months, and she used a cane for another six months. She  did not even know how to walk anymore. We fought the fibromyalgia with a lot of pain pills and tears not until we had to give a try on natural formulas, we purchased a herbal treatment from  which help her a lot and bring her back to normal again, the herbal formula reverse the symptoms grammatically and she’s totally free from the Fibromyalgia that cost her pains for ages .

  • Reply
    November 22, 2018 at 7:07 am

    35 years old and on week 4. Pain is intense & fatigue still. I got the medicine in quick but not much help. Started as neck pain and rash traveled around front of chest. I have a 3 year old& a one year old, am a hairdresser and photographer, so not really much downtime. Trying to rest when possible but it’s definitely tough. Hoping for relief soon! Thank you for sharing your story.

  • Reply
    November 14, 2018 at 2:30 am

    I had what I believe to have been rashless shingles. I had chickenpox 13 years ago, and had tiny outbreaks of shingles since then, but the most recent bout was following an extended period of stress. I did a couple of particularly difficult exams, came home and could not get out of bed for 3 days. When I was finally able to get up I felt like I had been kicked and punched everywhere and was having stabbing pains in all my organs – heart, liver, intestines etc. Similar to what I had when I had chickenpox, but no rash.
    This went on for 2 weeks, and then I caught the cold that everyone else had. Except I got what I thought was flu. Again, I could not move from my bed and was ill for a week. I also had the odd ache in my ears, head, just behind my eyes. The last day, I had raging fever, painful hot/ cold feeling skin and the organ pains were severe enough that I thought about calling an ambulance but decided against it, as I reckoned that in hospital (here in the UK, which is notorious) I would pick up more infections than I went in with. So I thought I would just like there, and if I died, then I did.
    Woke up the next morning feeling much better, but the post viral fatigue has been hard. Uncharacteristically for me, I have been really unmotivated, thankfully I am not working at the moment and could take time to recover. It’s only really just now that I am gradually getting my mojo and enthusiasm back. All in all, the whole process from illness to recovery has taken about 6 weeks.

  • Reply
    Janet Flaig
    November 9, 2018 at 7:42 pm

    Mine Started a week ago with a headache and a dime sized rash on my shoulder. 2 days later I suffered a blow to the head and have stitches and concussion. Needless to say I am covered in blisters on large portion of my body and I can now feel the tingling in my face. I am glad to hear of some of these remedies. I am on the ant-viral meds.

    • Reply
      Christena Mejia
      December 12, 2018 at 12:54 am

      That sounds dreadful, Janet!! I’m hoping you are doing better. I have a bad case of shingles right now so I empathize, that sounds like the worst

  • Reply
    Eva Pierce
    October 31, 2018 at 3:55 pm

    I am 3 1/2 weeks out from the onset of shingles on my head, and around my right eye. I did Valtrex really quickly, and gabapentin helped a lot with the pain. I also had a lidocaine cream for my face, which helped a lot. Pain has disappeared, though I still get pretty tired by the end of the day.
    HOWEVER…I am about to lose my religion from the tingling sensation that is lingering!!! It feels like something crawling on my head and across my eyebrow. It interrupts my sleep, and can get so maddening during the day that I sometimes have to knock myself out with Benadryl!
    I am back at work now, so this has become even more troublesome. Does anyone have any suggestions to help with this???

    • Reply
      Lily Lee
      April 15, 2019 at 6:27 am

      I’m going through this right now!! About 3.5 weeks out from my shingles on my forehead and around (but not in) my left eye. Was on antivirals fairly quickly and the awful rash and pain has gone but the lingering itchiness is kind of driving me nuts!! Did it go away for you and how long did it take?

  • Reply
    September 26, 2018 at 11:37 am

    All brilliant advice. Thank you. I’m in the middle of a horrible shingles episode and have been researching extensively how to speed up recovery. On top pf all your great tips: bone broth, L Lysine and foods high in Lysine (beef, salmon, leafy greens, Kefir, yogurt, cherries, cherry yogurt 🙂 I am taking 1000mg Vitamin C every hour – it sounds excessive but it has really helped with the excruciating pain in my ear. Wow! It’s so debilitating. It’s a week since I was diagnosed and the pain hasn’t let up yet. My daily routine is bed rest, bed rest and more bed rest. Oh I also read that foods high in argenine: caffeine, chocolate, grains, alcohol 🙂 are out. I haven’t cut out a morning coffee but instead of having it first thing Im taking it mid-morning after kefir and green tea. Hope that adds to the conversation. Big hugs to all shingle sufferers. xxx

  • Reply
    Victoria Thostrup
    September 26, 2018 at 7:49 am

     I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia around 7 years ago although I’m certain I have had it much longer than that. I have suffered from sleeplessness, joint stiffness, severe pains, depression and fatigue. My neurologist prescribed duloxetin 40mg daily (Given as 20mg twice daily), although it did relieve some of the pain, I still suffered from joint stiffness and extreme fatigue. Finally, i started on Fibromyalgia herbal formula i ordered from Natural Herbal Gardens, this herbal formula did the magic! almost immediately i started usage, i started noticing a general reduction of symptoms including the very severe pains and fatigue. 9 weeks into usage, the disease has totally succumbed to this herbal treatment. The whole pains and terrible fatigue has seized and i am now able to function fully well again. (Visit www .naturalherbalgardens . com ) I’m able to get out of bed in the morning and have more energy to go about my daily activities.

  • Reply
    September 23, 2018 at 8:13 pm

    My grandson had shingles’s really bad and then I had shingles’s and someone told me to use young living ravensara in two days my grandson shingles’s were clearing up it really works

    • Reply
      March 4, 2019 at 1:38 pm

      No body is listening to what I said about young living ravensara oil I’m telling you that it really works on shingles’s in two days my grandson shingles was drying use full strength

      • Reply
        March 15, 2019 at 7:41 pm

        I just looked it (Living Ravensara) up, thanks for the tip…..Was just diagnosed yesterday after suffering from acute pain during the past two weeks; until yesterday I was convinced the pain & swelling were the result of a ‘Core Class’. I even thought the hideous blister I have on my back was due to an allergic reaction from Tiger Balm – which I used to combat my ‘gym injury’. Was prescribed anti-virals and I started taking L-Lysine today.

        Planning to try some of these great tips also.

      • Reply
        June 25, 2020 at 12:15 pm

        This is my second bout with shingles in less than 5 years and I started using ravensara last night. It has made a world of difference so far! Putting it on my vita flex point for spine and liver. Also anywhere pain is central. So thankful for plant juices!

        • Reply
          August 12, 2020 at 7:00 pm

          Hello, Megan
          I’m curious, after your first episode shingles, did you get the shingles vaccine?

  • Reply
    September 18, 2018 at 10:02 am

    We were in the middle of a very stressful move two weeks ago and I started developing swollen lymph nodes and ear pain, the next day brought large swollen but flat areas on my scalp. I went to urgent care and was given antibiotics for an ear infection even though the doctor said he didn’t see any signs of infection in my ear. The following morning I woke up with my eye swollen almost completely shut – I was supposed to drive the moving truck the next day! Another (different) urgent care visit and I was diagnosed with shingles. My eye ended up getting a lump just below my eyebrow which overnight scabbed over and still hasn’t fully healed. I just finished all my meds but I’m still feeling not quite myself – tired, weakness, dizzy spells and some nausea. I never had any pain, never had a rash, I felt all my lumps drain through inside the side of my face not rupture externally. Hopefully I will be feeling back to myself soon.

    • Reply
      November 9, 2019 at 12:25 am

      I have Shingles now and am dealing with the pain and itchiness . I’m on Antivirals and into Week 1 of my Battle, I’m on pain meds and am taking it easy one day at a time. I enjoy reading others stories and not feeling so alone on my Shingles journey

  • Reply
    September 10, 2018 at 8:34 pm

    what kind of advice, please is : ‘ride it out’ ?

    • Reply
      August 11, 2020 at 5:42 am

      I have shingles and my doctor didn’t even see me, he asked me to send some photos and then I got the “ride it out’ advice…nothing about protecting myself even more due to having a compromised immune system now. Nothing about L-Lysine, nothing about anything except a link to a website. I’m looking online for ways to make it heal more quickly. Someone wrote that it’s worth than childbirth, my thoughts are she must have had very easy childbirth. It hurts but it’s nothing like childbirth. I think the ride it out theory is so that we build up our own immunity…I just hope that nothing bad will come from not having any medical assistance. This article is awesome too, thank you.

  • Reply
    September 2, 2018 at 11:59 pm

    Thank you for this information. I have Shingles at the moment, finished anti viral meds a day ago. I will purchase the L-Lysine, Kombucha/Probiotics, Bone Broth sand Lemon Balm. My pain is so bad some days and I am on Codine then, otherwise Panadol. I am hoping your recommendations will help. None of this was recommended by the Dr, their attitude was to ride it out

    • Reply
      February 6, 2019 at 6:21 pm

      That’s not good. I would change doctor’s. According to what I’ve read, if antivirals are not used within that window of time at the beginning the virus attacks the nerve and can cause permanent damage. I don’t think shingles is something you should willingly ride out or treat with home remedies alone. That’s what all the lab rats have died for, let’s not make their deaths in vain.
      I got Shingles a little over a week ago. I have actually gone to 6 different doctors over the past 8 months due to a mysterious fever, painful joints, red face, fatigue, and a short score of other symptoms. Only one said he thought I have some sort of autoimmune disorder. The rest just said nothing is wrong with me and sent me home (after having me take hundreds of dollars, and like five pages worth of blood tests). About a month ago I stopped going to the gym after two months of going because my knees were hurting. I had developed a heart arrhythmia, too. Then the Shingles started in my lymph nodes about two weeks ago, and developed into a rash about 10 days ago.
      Admittedly, I have some papers that I’m writing, but my life isn’t that stressful. However, last year was probably the most stressful of my 42 years, and about a month after the source of stress ended, I got sick and haven’t been the same as I used to be. I can’t put my finger on what’s wrong, but I know something is wrong with me (other than shingles)…

      • Reply
        July 5, 2019 at 11:45 pm

        Hey! As for the other symptoms, I’m curious if you have ever been tested for rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis. I have the latter and it sounds very similar to what you are describing. I’ve also been able to get off all meds for my psoriasis and joint pain by juicing and drinking a head of celery every morning on an empty stomach. No joke. Anyway. I hope you get some clarity.

      • Reply
        November 4, 2019 at 3:47 pm

        I am into my second week from work I have a physical job and the fact I don’t have enough energy to brush my teeth makes the idea of returning to work unbearable. I was diagnosed a week ago, my blisters have burst and are drying up, my rash is on my left side running along my top rib, the pain starts there and carries round yo my back. I AM SO EXHAUSTED BUT CANT SLEEP. The pain is manageable but I experience painful episodes mostly in my back. I am keen to get back to work and renter the world of living but at the moment I feel so low, no energy and completely fed up. Sorry to moan on but I feel like you may understand. If you read this thankyou for listening.

      • Reply
        September 21, 2020 at 2:36 pm

        I am on day 8 of my shingles case (34 yrs old) and did not take the conventional medicine route. I am still alive and after 6 days of pain (on my butt and back of thigh) things are feeling better today. I started on these tinctures: lemon balm, st johns wort, cleavers, and reishi mushroom. Also, I am taking Lysine, Vitamin C, and cordyceps. I omitted chocolate/nuts as well and am drinking teas with yellow dock and other detoxifying roots. I am using poke root oil and castor oil on my swollen lymph nodes. I feel by taking the medicine, your body does not learn how to fight off the virus on it’s own. I think it comes out in people with weak immune systems, so that the body can relearn how to fight. This has always been my theory, as I was highly medicated as a child/teenager and have an autoimmune condition as an adult. I think there will be plenty of viruses to fight in the future, hopefully paving the way to a strengthen immune system in the end.

    • Reply
      February 6, 2019 at 6:27 pm

      Oh, sorry, I just noticed you said you did take the antivirals… Well, from what I’ve bread, there isn’t much that can be done from the limited Western-Medicine Pharma-is-all-we-trust-and-need standpoint. But like you, I think this page and the comments hold a wealth of information for getting past that time after the meds are gone. Thanks to everyone for your comments, because I will be using those alternative medicines, too!

      • Reply
        November 10, 2019 at 1:20 pm

        I’m not sure anyone is on here but I developed shingles about 10 days ago I managed to get on anti virals the rash is on my collar bone shoulder and neck I work with little children in a nursery and music groups with babies and kids it’s the nerve pain all around my neck ( exactly same place where I feel the stress ) I’m not suffering terribly taking Brufen at night and sometimes in the day I don’t feel all my blisters have crusted over but maybe the blisters are fading due to more anti virals prescribed I’m eating well but really stressing about all my cancelled classes I feel like I possibly could go back this week but my husband lives abroad and I’ve two teenagers at home and self employed and a very physically demanding job and I just don’t know when it’s right to go back I feel worn out and this pressing ache / pain in my neck is heavy and tiring ? What do you suggest ? Thank you!!

        • Reply
          June 9, 2020 at 7:15 pm

          Hi Vicki, I realize this is months after your Shingles experience. I also have the blister rash starting on back of neck and worked it’s way across collar bone, left shoulder, upper arm and chest. Initially thought it was either a strong histamine reaction to food or bug bites. I was wrong! I waited 10 days to see a dr …. once the rash/ blisters were burning. Not my smartest move, but, usually these things are hard to diagnose and I didn’t want to waste my time or money. Having tried aloe vera gel , antiseptic cream and cortisone cream to no effect I admitted defeat. Just as well. I’m not sure if it was timing or a response to the antiviral meds but the pain became excruciating that evening. I’ve now finished my one week course of meds, the pain is more intermittent and the rash seems to be drying up. But, after a brief reprieve this morning… energy high, feeling good, I find myself feeling lethargic, lymph/ glands behind ears aggravated and sore. If you are still connected to this site, can you tell me how long your symptoms impacted your health. I’ve read this can drag on for weeks. Just curious since we share a commonality with the location of the rash. I hold my stress in my shoulders and have neck alignment issues.
          Thanks in advance! ?

        • Reply
          June 17, 2020 at 5:04 am

          So intense OMG ?
          I’m 2 weeks in left shoulder arm and hand.
          Had the ear pain and swelling a couple of weeks before. Thought I had a pimple in my ear so just road it out. Saw 3 strange dots on my hand one morning and thought I’d been bitten by something or branded by an alien in my sleep ? Then that night BOOM ? Whole arm shoulder and hand rash and blistered. I felt like the bark on the trunk of a tree. Intuitively I said out loud “SHINGLES “ Drs next day anti viral meds , pain meds and a hell of a ride.
          The pain was excruciating and exhausting. Continuous boken sleep the last two weeks.
          One night the burn was so intense I rubbed cold oats and coconut cream (porridge) that was in the fridge left over from breakfast. The best and most effective result. My blisters and rash calmed down within that week. Ive also had epsom salt and bicarbonate baths. Made a paste of bicarbonate soda for arm. Skin sorted. Dealing with the nerve pain still. It’s been very emotional, but I’ve just had to let it all come up and out and a lot of healing self talk. Crazy intense dreams as well. I feel like I’ve had some kind of awakening!! Not over yet but the worst of it is.
          Send love and healing to you all!
          I hear you and grateful for the sharing ?

  • Reply
    August 27, 2018 at 7:22 am

    I was diagnosed with Singkes today and also need to hear this. I have a lot on pain in my lower back, headaches and terrible balance and hearing. I also had a small rash on my head and glands all down the one side flared up and ear blew up too. I haven’t been prescribed any meds as I unfortunately caught it later than normal. I’m really worried about it spreading into other organs? Especially brain (with the rash that on my head)

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