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Shingles

  • Herpes Zoster



  • Definition

    An infection caused by a herpetovirus (varicella-zoster virus) and characterized by an eruption of groups of vesicles on one side of the body following the course of a nerve due to inflammation of ganglia and dorsal nerve roots resulting from activation of the virus which has been latent; the condition is self-limited but may be accompanied by or followed by severe pain. (Same virus that causes chicken pox) Not to be confused with herpes simplex (fever sores caused by herpesvirus type 1) or genital herpes (venereal disease caused by herpesvirus type 2).


    Symptoms

    Usually affects the nerve endings in the skin of the abdomen under the ribs, but can appear anywhere on the body. An attack of shingles is preceded by 3-4 days of severe pain in the area, followed by itchy blisters. These are numerous and painful; last 7-14 days, becoming crusty scabs and will drop off when bout is finished. The virus often lies dormant in the nerve ganglia and spinal cord for years until triggered. Possibilities of onset of shingles is increased by anti-cancer drugs, Hodgkin's disease and other cancers, stress, and immune system deficiency. See an ophthalmologist if shingles develop near the eyes, on the forehead or on top of the nose. Shingles in these areas can affect the cornea and blindness may result.

    After anattack of shingles, even though the blisters and sores are gone, the patient may experience pain, especially in the elderly. This pain may last months or even years; this is called post-hermetic syndrome and can be more painful than the original infection.


    Nutrients

    L-Lysine (amino acid), 500 mg. twice a day, is important for healing. Vitamin C plus bioflavinoids, 2,000 mg. twice a day, helps in destroying the virus and boosts the immune system. Cayenne capsules, taken as directed on the label, relieves pain and helps healing. Vitamin B complex, 100 mg. 3 times a day. Zinc chelate, 80 mg. daily for one week, protects against infection and helps immune system. Calcium chelate plus magnesium, 1,500 mg. calcium and 750 mg. magnesium per day, is an antisress formula and aids healing and nerve function. Vitamin A emulsion, 75,000 IU for 2 weeks, then 50,000 IU, helps prevent infection and boosts immune system. The emulsion enters the bloodstream quickly. Vitamin D, 1,000 IU twice daily for 1 week then 400 IU, helps heal tissue and is needed for calcium absorption. Vitamin E, 400-800 IU per day, helps prevent scar tissue. (Open a capsule and apply to skin if desired). Germanium, 200 mg. daily, helps immune system. Multivitamin and mineral complex, taken as directed on the label. Proteolytic enzymes, taken between meals.


    Herbs

  • TB
    • Balmony (turtlehead)
    • Bellwort, perfoliate
    • Buck bean
    • Calendula
    • Cinquefoil
    • Clover, red
    • Clubmoss, common or running (ground pine)
    • Darnel, bearded
    • Dock, yellow
    • Echinacea
    • Elm, common
    • Flag, sweet
    • Golden seal
    • Myrrh
    • Oregon grape, wild
    • Passion flower
    • Sandalwood
    • Sicklepod


    Recommendations

    A diet of raw fruits and vegetables, brewer's yeast, brown rice, and whole grains. Avoid drafts. Allow sunlight on the affected area for short times. Gently wash the blisters, but avoid at all times touching or scratching. Avoid Tylenol-type medications or those containing acetaminophen, because they will prolong the illness.

    Fever sores or fever blisters (not shingles) can be treated with peppermint or hyssop.

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