Neem (Azadirachta indica)
A decoction from the leaves of Neem tops the list of herbal remedies for Chicken pox and other skin diseases. Other herbal remedies include Allium cepa (onion), Allium sativum (garlic), rhizomes of Curcuma longa (turmeric), and Aloe vera. Botanically called Azadirachta indica, Neem also popularly known as Dogonyaro in Nigeria belongs to the Meliceae family. The common tree tops the list of plants that have been scientifically verified to effectively treat chicken pox.
Chicken pox is a highly contagious, yet common disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus. It develops into an itchy rash with an outbreak of blisters that occurs on the scalp, face and torso. It is usually a mild illness, which occurs in children but can also cause serious complications in teenagers, adults, pregnant women, newborns and people with weak immune systems. Symptoms may appear between 10 and 21 days of the time of exposure to the virus.
Several studies have shown that chicken pox is common in individuals who are not immune, and have not been vaccinated, can acquire chickenpox easily by touching an infected person, particularly in the region of any open blisters.
Studies suggest that chickenpox infections can be spread by indirect contact. Touching anything that has been touched by someone who is infected by the chickenpox virus, and in the contagious stages of the disease, can cause a chickenpox infection. Documented chicken pox symptoms include: nausea (feeling sick); a high temperature (fever) of 38 degree Celsius (C)/(100.4F) or over aching, painful muscles; headache; generally feeling unwell; and loss of appetite.
Meanwhile, until now, Neem extracts have been shown to possess anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, potent antiviral and anti-cancerous properties.
Neem has been found to be an effective antiseptic for the treatment of viral infection including small pox. Indian researchers in a study published in Journal of Biological Sciences noted that Neem extracts have been shown to possess potent antiviral properties against different viruses including herpes simplex virus type-1 infection and chicken pox. According to a new study published in the International Journal of Clinical Nutrition (IJCN), there are certain compounds in Neem that demonstrate a unique ability to surround viruses, which prevents them from causing infection.
The researchers wrote: “So depend upon the nature or kind microbes minimum amount required to stop the growth. Neem also inhibits viral multiplication by interacting with the surface of the cells to prevent the cell from becoming infected by the virus. Neem has been observed to be effective against a number of viral pathogens in various clinical studies demonstrating it contains unique properties to inhibit viral disease. Neem is one of just a few known antiviral agents.
“Chickenpox, shingles, herpes, and hepatitis are viral conditions, which have been successfully treated, in clinical studies by Neem’s therapeutic compounds. The uncomfortable symptoms of colds and flu’s can be relieved during seasonal changes by the regular consumption of Neem Leaf capsules, extract, or tea.”
Another study published in Asian Journal of Pharmacy and Technology confirmed the wound healing activity of ethanolic extract of Azadirachta indica leaves in male albino rats.
Azadirachta indica leaves ethanolic extract was found to have better and faster wound healing effect than standard drug Povidone Iodine ointment on excision wound model. The article threw light on wound healing activity of ethanolic extract of Azadirachta indica leaves.
Another study published in journal Pharmacognosy Review noted: “Leaf extract is applied externally on boils and blisters. In one study, skin tumors were induced in mice by topical application of DMBA (500 nmol/100 μl for two weeks) followed by TPA (1.7 nmol/100 μl of acetone, twice weekly) as a promoter. The test group received aqueous Azadirachta indica leaf extract (AAILE) orally at a dose level of 300-mg/kg-body weight three times a week for 20 weeks. The results of this study revealed the chemo-preventive potential of A. indica against murine skin carcinogenesis.”
Other studies recommend: “Children should never be given aspirin or medications containing aspirin for chicken pox or any other viral illness because of the risk of Reye’s syndrome.
“Frequent baths are sometimes helpful to relieve itching. Adding finely grounded (colloidal) oatmeal such as Aveeno can help improve itching. Oatmeal baths can be prepared at home also by grinding or blending dry oatmeal into a fine powder and adding about two cups to the bath water. One-half to one cup of baking soda may also be added to bath water to reduce itching.
“The most common lotion used for chicken pox is Calamine lotion. This or any similar over-the-counter preparation can be applied to the blisters to help dry them out and soothe the skin.
“Salt, Chillies, Ghee, oil, spices (Masala) should not be taken at least 15 days after getting the Chicken pox symptoms. The food should be very light and easily digestible. Remember the salt will cause itching in rashes during Chickenpox so avoid using salt. Don’t eat banana, brinjal, and sweet pumpkin for some day even after the Chickenpox is completed cured.
“Don’t touch the rashes and if the itching is intolerable one can use neem leaves to itch. Avoid talking bath for 15 days or till the rashes are completely subsides and dries up.
“Drink lot to water to avoid dehydration which is a common problem during Chicken pox.” Brown vinegar: Add half a cup of brown vinegar to lukewarm bath water. Soak in the tub for at least 10 minutes and this will help relieve any chicken pox itching and will help speed up recovery of chickenpox.
Baking soda: This is a popular home remedy for chicken pox that will help relieve the itchiness. Mixed baking soda in a glass of water, use a soft sponge and gently rub the rash/red spots/blisters with it. This will help avoid eruptions of the blisters.
Vitamin E: Gently rub Vitamin E oil all over the entire body (even areas unaffected) and let it absorb into the skin. This will help any spots or blisters fade away quickly.
Milk: Drink milk in sufficient quantity during Chicken pox but do not drink on empty stomach as it can create gas.
Honey: Applying honey on the Chicken pox scars helps reduce them. Honey will provide relief from itchiness and help heal the blisters caused by chickenpox. Get a good quality, pure honey and coat the affected area with it. Repeat the process two to three times a day until the scars are gone.