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).
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.
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
- Balmony (turtlehead)
- Bellwort, perfoliate
- Buck bean
- Clover, red
- Clubmoss, common or running (ground pine)
- Darnel, bearded
- Dock, yellow
- Elm, common
- Flag, sweet
- Golden seal
- Oregon grape, wild
- Passion flower
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.