Shingles is one of those maladies that can make life very miserable for its victims. Generally shingles is not considered to be a serious condition, and will usually run its course without any significant complications. That is…providing you are an otherwise healthy person. This kin of chickenpox can lead to more critical concerns for certain people, and become much more than just a painful inconvenience that hassles you for a few weeks. And if you contracted chicken pox as a child, you are certainly at risk for developing shingles later on in life. It’s good to know that many natural remedies for shingles are often more or just as effective than prescription drugs.
Shingles, officially called herpes zoster, is a disease caused by the same virus that is responsible for chickenpox. The virus is known as varicella-zoster virus (VSV), and is actually an encore infection of the nerves triggered by left over antigens from a previous chickenpox infection that have lain dormant in the body. VSV is a member of the same family of viruses that causes genital herpes and cold sores. Shingles may appear years after the original chickenpox attack. The virus usually travels via the nerves to the skin and can cause nerve inflammation and damage as well as extreme pain. Shingles typically affects areas of the face and trunk in a pattern very similar to chickenpox.
Chicken pox is also a herpes virus that never completely goes away. As stated above, it hides out (lays dormant) in nerve cells, waiting for the body terrain to be ripe for its appearance as shingles. Statistics tell us that approximately 20% of adults who contracted chickenpox as a child will develop shingles later in life. Most of these individuals are relatively healthy people, but people with compromised immune systems due to diseases such as diabetes or HIV, chemotherapy and/or radiation treatments, people being treated with immunosuppressive drugs such as corticosteroids, organ transplant recipients as well as emotional and chronic stress, are at an increased risk for developing shingles. Even though shingles is considered to generally affect people in age of 50+, since the mass use of the chickenpox vaccine began, many doctors now believe that not only are there signs of a shingles epidemic underway, but also that the lack of naturally occurring chickenpox (due to the chicken pox vaccine) is resulting in increased shingles occurrence in younger people.
7 Natural Remedies for Shingles
Most cases of shingles will clear up on their own with out much intervention, unless the person has a weakened immune system. However, the sooner you catch shingles and take steps to deal with the symptoms, the better the chance of avoiding complications such as post-herpetic neuralgia and secondary or prolonged infections.
NOTE: Occurrences of shingles around the eyes or on the forehead can cause blindness. Consult an eye doctor immediately if such outbreaks occur.
There are many effective natural remedies for shingles you may want to consider while the shingles infection runs its course. These include:
- Warm baths are helpful to many people. Try one with colloidal oatmeal to soothe the skin and promote healing. Don’t continue the baths for any longer than necessary because too much bathing can contribute to dry skin which can be a problem for shingles patients especially after the blisters have dried up. Make sure the bath water has been filtered. A tablespoon of Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) powder in your bath water will neutralize Chloramine. Add one teaspoon to your bath water about three to five minutes before you get in the bath so it has time to work.
- Apple Cider Vinegar compresses can also be useful to relieve pain and irritation. A great homemade recipe is composed of 1/2 cup of raw apple cider vinegar in two cups of tepid (lukewarm) filtered water. Apply the compress to affected areas for about ten minutes 2-4 times daily. This will help to dry up the blisters. Discontinue once the blisters are gone. The application of raw honey is said by many to also help with symptoms as well as prescription medications.
- Proactively dealing with stress is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your overall health. Stress reduces your immune system’s ability to fight off viruses such as shingles. Many outbreaks of shingles, especially among seniors, happen during or after an occurrence of stressful situations.
- Chiropractic. A visit to a chiropractor might prove to be very helpful. The shingles virus dwells in the spinal column, where the virus can remain dormant for decades. Spinal misalignment is a strong contributing factor in outbreaks, and their duration. Chiropractic adjustments may dramatically speed the recovery process.
- Supplementation with vitamins B12 Methylcobalamin , Lysine, B complex, Vitality C, Vitamin A (as retinyl acetate), Zinc Orotate (best taken at the first sign of a shingles infection) and Vitamin D3 as Bio D-Mulsion Forte can also give the immune system a boost. Another supplement to research is Lauricidin. Always use a good probiotic such as Lactero-Flora. Capsaicin skin ointment may help to reduce the pain of shingles. Some have found that Grapefruit Seed Extract applied to the shingles area and by mouth to be effective (grapefruit seed extract should ALWAYS be diluted with distilled water before using internally and/or topically). Caution: If you are on medication that restricts the intake of grapefruit, do not use Grapefruit Seed Extract.
- Lithium Orotate. According to Dr. Hans Nieper (German doctor): “One substance that I have found to be surprisingly effective for shingles is lithium orotate. Three to four capsules per day have been reported to dramatically reduce disabling pains. Lithium orotate seems to greatly reduce the pain and itching of post-herpetic neuralgia which can linger for months and years after the lesions of shingles have resolved. Lithium has profound antiviral properties against herpes infections and may significantly reduce the frequency and severity of herpes outbreaks. Overall, lithium treatment resulted in a consistent reduction in the mean number of episodes per month, the average duration of each episode, the total number of infection days per month, and the maximum severity of symptoms.”
- Enzymes. In a German study(1), 96 people with shingles took proteolytic enzymes for 14 days and another 96 people with shingles took acyclovir, a standard antiviral medication. Both groups experienced similar pain relief and skin improvement. The group taking proteolytic enzymes had significantly fewer side effects. Similar results were seen in another double-blind study(2) in which 90 people were given either an injection of acyclovir or enzymes, followed by a course of oral medication for 7 days. For proteolytic enzymes, I recommend Trevinol Professional.
I would like to briefly address the issue of the shingles vaccine and chickenpox vaccine that are available and will certainly be offered to you by mainstream medicine. As is the case with any vaccine, I highly suggest caution about allowing yourself or your children to be subjected to these injections. The dangers of these vaccines are alarmingly significant, despite what their manufacturers and the FDA claim. They also have not been around long enough to accurately read any unknown long-term effects. Research done by Gary S. Goldman, Ph.D. who served for eight years as a Research Analyst with the Varicella Active Surveillance Project in Los Angeles County with funding from the CDC, revealed higher rates of shingles in Americans since the government’s 1995 recommendation that all children receive chickenpox vaccine. The truth of the matter is that the vast majority of both shingles and chickenpox cases are uneventful, and resolve themselves in short order without any major complications. Research the facts and decide for yourself, and remember that many millions of dollars are being made selling these and other vaccines by using misinformation and scare tactics. This is a prime example of using your health choice freedom, while you still have it, to decide what is best for you and your family.
BONUS: More Natural Remedies for Shingles
Natural Remedies for Shingles – Essential Oils
Essential Oils. Topical applications of such essential oils as Lemon Balm, Peppermint, Oregano and Ravensara aromatica (Ravensara) can also help reduce pain and encourage healing. Always be sure to mix high quality organic essential oils with an appropriate carrier oil.
- Blend together: 10 drops sandalwood–5 drops blue cypress–4 drops peppermint–2 drops ravensara. Dilute 50:50 with massage oil and apply 6 – 10 drops on the affected area, back of neck, and down the spine 1 – 3 times daily. (from Essential Desk Reference)
- Aromatherapy expert, and author of “Medical Aromatherapy” Dr. Kurt Schnaubelt, says “Our greatest success in the treatment of shingles is by applying a blend of 50% ravensara and 50% calophyllum inophyllum (oil of tamanu). Drastic improvements and complete remissions occur within seven days”.
- A case study was done with six hospice patients who had shingles. It was found that three essential oils combined together and placed in distilled water and used as a spritz improved the symptoms of shingles.The three oils used were: ravensara, bergamot and niaouli. This study was conducted by aromatherapist Noel Gilligan. Mr Gilligan reported that after 48 hours “there was a significant reduction in the pain from the shingles–scabbing and healing of the pustules took place and in one instance there was a disappearance of the pustules.”(3)
Healthy Immune System can often prevent shingles or at least contribute to faster healing of the disease. This can best be accomplished through healthy lifestyle choices such as a healthy diet of real foods including lots of organic fruits and vegetables, drinking plenty of purified water, exercising regularly, and getting enough restful sleep.
(1) Billigmann VP. Enzyme therapy—an alternative in treatment of herpes zoster. A controlled study of 192 patients [translated from German]. Fortschr Med. 1995;113:43-48.
(2) Kleine MW, Stauder GM, Beese EW. The intestinal absorption of orally administered hydrolytic enzymes and their effects in the treatment of acute herpes zoster as compared with those of oral acyclovir therapy. Phytomedicine. 1995;2:7-15.
(3) Varicella Virus in Hospice Patients. http://www.naha.org/articles/varicella_virus_in_hospice_patients.htm
16 Ways to Naturally Improve Your Immune System by Loretta Lanphier, NP.
†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Oasis Advanced Wellness/OAWHealth does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Oasis Advanced Wellness/OAWHealth are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician of choice.