shinglesShingles (Herpes Zoster)

Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is an infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which also cause chickenpox.

Once this virus enters the body and you've had chickenpox, the virus lies inactive in nerve ganglia and the spinal cord. In some people, the virus stays dormant forever. In others, the virus may reactivate, usually by a weakening immune system. The varicella-zoster infection spreads to skin nerves ends and cause shingles.

Shingles can onset anywhere on the body, but usually occur on the skin of the abdomen, underneath the ribs, the inside of the mouth and the vaginal tissues. Sometimes the shingles rash occurs around one eye or on one side of the neck or face.

Anyone who has ever had chickenpox can develop shingles, and it is possible to get it more than once. Shingles needs a few weeks to achieve its cycle but in severe cases may last longer.

 

Most prone to this disease are people over 50 years, people with a weaken immune system due to stress, or spinal cord injuries, people with AIDS or cancer, people who are taking some medications such as those who are made to prevent rejection of transplanted organs.

 

Early treatment can help shorten a shingles infection and lessen the chance of complications which may include

  • Postherpetic neuralgia. The pain continues long, even years, after the blisters have gone. This condition is known as postherpetic neuralgia and is difficult to cure.
  • Vision loss. When shingles develop around the eyes it can cause an acute eye pain and infection that may result in blindness.
  • Skin infections. If shingles blisters aren't properly treated, bacterial skin infections may develop.
  • Neurological problems. Depending on which nerves are affected, shingles can cause encephalitis, paralysis, or hearing and balance problems.
  • Infections of the internal organs, even the lungs, liver and kidneys.

 

Symptoms

  • Headache
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Pain in certain areas
  • A red rash that begins a few days after the pain
  • Burning
  • Itching
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Tiny fluid-filled blisters that crust over
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Fatigue

 

Recommendations

  • Taking a cool bath or using cool, wet compresses on your blisters may help relieve the itching and pain.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Eat fruits and vegetables
  • Eat foods that contain B6
  • Eat propolis or bee pollen
  • Go on a cleansing fast
  • Prefer food rich in essential fatty acids
  • Take supplements rich in zinc, calcium, magnesium, vitamins A, B-complex, C, D, E.
  • Go to see a dermatologist

 

Beneficial Herbs

Herb

Form

Benefits

Alfalfa

Tablets, tincture

Promotes healing

Astragalus root

Capsules

Boosts immune function

Bergamot essential oil

Some drops diluted in a carrier oil

Antiviral properties

Bi phaya yaw

Cream

Shortens the time it takes to recover from shingles

Burdock

Tincture, extract

Cleanses the bloodstream and the lymph nodes

Cayenne

Patch, cream, capsules

Contains capsaicin that relieves pain. Helps healing

Chamomile

Compress

Promotes healing

Calophyllum essential oil

Some drops diluted in a carrier oil

Antiviral properties

Dandelion

Extract, tincture

Promotes healing. Detoxifies the liver

Echinacea

Extract, tincture

Boosts immune function

Eucalyptus essential oil

Some drops diluted in a carrier oil

Antiviral properties

Geranium essential oil

Some drops diluted in a carrier oil

Antiviral properties

Goldenseal

Cream

Antibiotic properties

Golden seal essential oil

Some drops diluted in a carrier oil

Antiviral properties

Green tea

Tea

Antiviral properties

Lemon essential oil

Some drops diluted in a carrier oil

Antiviral properties

Licorice

Extract

Treats shingles and postherpetic neuralgia

Milk thistle

Tablets, capsules

Protects the liver

Olive leaf

Extract

Antiviral properties

Red clover

Capsules

Cleanses the bloodstream and the lymph nodes

Rose hips

Tincture, tablets

Prevents infections

Valerian root

Tablets, capsules

Calms the nervous system