Last Updated: December 18, 2018 | First Published: September 6, 2017
Reviewed by: Dr. Rosmy Barrios, M.D.
If you've had chickenpox, you may develop shingles later in life. It's unclear what may reactive the herpes zoster virus (which causes chickenpox and later shingles), but if it reappears it may be in the form of a painful rash on the torso or another part of the body. Even after the rash is gone, pain may persist in the form ofpost-herpetic neuralgia.
There are a few ways to go about dealing with shingles:
You can avoid developing singles by receiving a chickenpox vaccine as a child or a shingles vaccine as an adult. If you are unfortunate enough to already suffer from shingles, you have a few options for treatment.
Topical and Drug Treatments:
The most traditional treatment is to manage pain and sooth the rash. These treatments can consist of ointments and creams, but only address the surface issue of shingles. There are also antiviral therapies which include aciclovir or valaciclovir, but these may be expensive or have undesirable side effects.
Natural Antiviral Treatment:
A natural antiviral option which both addresses the virus internally and is completely natural is Monolaurin. Monolaurin is a medium-chain fatty acid from coconut which is naturally antiviral, antibacterial, and antimicrobial. Monolaurin is supported by years of research and personal use, and has shown very promising results in treating herpes family infections.
Monolaurin has been shown in studies to kill herpes family viruses, including the herpes zoster virus (Ref # 1, 2). Herpes zoster is a varicella zoster virus (VZV), and one of eight herpesviruses known to infect humans. Herpes zoster, which causes shingles, is an enveloped virus which means there is a fatty lipid sheath which protects the DNA of the virus. Monolaurin is believed to disintegratethat protective envelope and kill the virus (Ref #3).
Monolaurin can be used as a treatment for herpes family viruses, including herpes zoster (Ref #4, 5). Monolaurin may be taken by capsule for extended periods to assist in treating infections. A typical monolaurin therapy for herpes family viruses may include taking two 600mg capsules with meals until symptoms subside. The amount and duration of monolaurin required will very by individual.
As with any treatment, monolaurin should be administered under the guidance and supervision of a health care professional.
Hilmarsson, H., Kristmundsdottir, T. and Thirmar, H. "Virucidal activities of medium- and long-chain fatty alcohols, fatty acids and monoglycerides against herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2: comparison at different pH levels". (2005) APMIS, 113: 58–65. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0463.2005.apm1130109.x
Lieberman S, Enig MG, Preuss HG. "A Review of Monolaurin and Lauric Acid Natural Virucidal and Bactericidal Agents". Alternative & Complimentary Therapies, December 2006. 12(6): 310-314.
Hierholzer, J.C. and Kabara, J.J. "In Vitro Effects of Monolaurin Compounds on Enveloped RNA and DNA Viruses". Journal of Food Safety 4:1-12 (1982)
Mustafa, M., EM. Illzam, RK. Muniandy, AM. Sharifah,MK. Nang, B. Ramesh. "Herpes simplex virus infections, Pathophysiology and Management" IOSR Journal of Dental and Medical Sciences (IOSR-JDMS) e-ISSN: 2279-0853, p-ISSN: 2279-0861.Volume 15, Issue 7 Ver. III (July. 2016), PP 85-91
Hill, JW. "Natural Treatments for Genital Herpes, Cold Sores and Shingles: A Review of the Scientific and Medical Literature". Clear Springs Press; 2nd edition (January 7, 2012)