Herbal & homeopathic remedies for Shingles (Herpes Zoster)

Shingles
HEALTH HERBS & NUTRITION - REMEDIES - INFECTIONS - shingles

· General Description

· Symptoms

· Causes

· Herbal & Homeopathic Remedies

· Helpful Dietary Habits

· Dos and Don'ts

Natural Herbal & homeopathic products for Shingles (Herpes Zoster)

General description & overview of Shingles (Herpes Zoster)

Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a painful infection caused by a virus, the same virus – varicella zoster – that causes chickenpox. Usually, this virus produces chicken pox in early childhood, and then retreats into nerve cells near the spinal cord and brain and never reappears. In some cases, however, the virus may emerge from the nerve cells years later, mostly due to a weakened or suppressed immune system, follow a peripheral nerve pathway from the spinal cord or brain, and leave a rash of tiny blisters on the skin above the pathway (zoster in Greek means ‘belt’ which denotes the path here).

Herbal & homeopathic products recommended in Shingles (Herpes Zoster)

ImmunityPlus

Promotes healthy immune system functioning and helps fight viral and bacterial infections.

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KiddieBoost

Promotes healthy immune function, and reduces infection and illness risks in children.

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As the virus moves out along the nerves that supply the skin, basically the particular nerves where it was hibernating, it causes hypersensitivity and subsequent painful rash. The pattern or path that the symptoms follow is called a dermatome, which essentially means the area of the skin that the nerve supplies.

Although the condition can strike anywhere, it generally affects one side of the torso or face. The affected area aches badly during the attack which usually lasts for 3-5 weeks. Then the symptoms simply disappear without leaving any visible traces of the disease behind, though, in some cases, permanent damage may occur to the nerves through which the virus passed. The permanent damage could come in the form of blindness if the eyes were involved (usually the cornea gets severely affected) or result in paralysis if the infection involved facial muscles.

Pain generally resolves rapidly or persists in the area of the rash for months to years after the rash disappears. If proper care is not taken at the very onset of shingles (like ignoring nutritious diet), there is a tremendous increase in the chances of you getting post-herpetic neuralgia, a long term side effect, where the patient continues to experience pain. The condition is not so rare in people above 50 years of age.

As the symptoms, rashes themselves, and the kind and history of pain are quite typical of shingles, your doctor in all probability won’t need to perform any tests to confirm the disease. Still if things are not certain, a Tzanck test may be performed along with some blood tests.

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Symptoms of Shingles (Herpes Zoster)

The nerve segments affected by shingles can be those:

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Of the ribs (usually a narrow area over the ribs) or on one side of the lower part of the body (waist). Basically, the trunk (torso, your main part of the body other then the arms, legs and head) area is the affected part in more than half of the cases

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On one side of the face including the tongue, the ear or the eye (a very dangerous situation)

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On a strip on the neck around the shoulders

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Down one of the arms or even legs

Natural alternative remedies, medicines & cures for Shingles (Herpes Zoster). People who have previously had chickenpox are susceptible to shingles and people with shingles can cause chickenpox to others, though only to those who have not contracted the virus earlier.

The attack works in stages. Broadly these stages are:

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Phase 1 – A burning sensation or a dull ache along the peripheral nerve segment. In certain cases, the pain is severe and the skin above the nerve hypersensitive, so much so that even the most loose of the clothes make you feel extremely sensitive.

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Phase 2 – There is an appearance of red plaques interspersed with blisters, usually accompanied by slight fever.

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Phase 3 – After, 2-3 days, these blisters dry up and get replaced by scabs that in turn fall off after around ten days. Generally, a white mark is left by these departing scabs, which takes some more time to go off.

Other symptoms, some of which are general while others case specific are:

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Malaise (feeling bad overall) including muscle aches

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Headache

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Swollen lymph nodes

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Visual disturbances, drooping eyelid, loss of eye motion (when a nerve in a eye gets affected or the nerve in the muscles surrounding your eye, including eyelids, get affected)

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Taste buds abnormalities (when a nerve of your tongue is affected)

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Hearing loss (in case of ear nerve infection)

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Causes of Shingles (Herpes Zoster)

We know the culprit – it is the varicella zoster virus of the herpes family. Now, the question is: what makes the virus which was hibernating or dormant for so many years (it is usually ‘so many years’ in most of the cases although young people and children also suffer from shingles), come back and play havoc with your body? The answer most of the times is a suppressed immune system.

This occurs when your immune system is weakened by:

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HIV infection or AIDS

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After an organ transplant as the recipient is given immunosuppressant to avoid rejection of the new organ

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Mental or physical fatigue

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Stress and depression

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Increasing age

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Cancer, particularly leukemia, Hodgkin's disease and other lymphomas

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Chemotherapy

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Autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and Crohn's disease) and by taking drugs that suppress your immune system in order to control the inflammation from any of these conditions

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Tuberculosis

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People who had chickenpox before their first birthday

Also, the area of the attack may be linked to a weakness in the corresponding internal organ.

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Herbal & homeopathic remedies useful in Shingles (Herpes Zoster)

Shingles is best treated immediately to alleviate the pain and reduce the risk of other complications. Prescription medications that can provide relief include oral antiviral medications. Corticosteroids may also be prescribed to reduce swelling and pain associated with shingles. In addition, painkillers, antidepressants as well as anticonvulsants may also be prescribed to help treat shingles. Topical ointments such as calamine lotion can soothe the affected area.

Natural treatments help immensely to boost the immune system which is especially important when you develop shingles. Treatments such as herbal and homeopathic remedies are gentle to use and improve your overall health and wellbeing without the risk of side effects. Use herbs such as Hypoxis rooperi (extract of African Potato) and Viscum album to strengthen the immune system.

Astragalus membranaceus acts a rejuvenating tonic and also helps to combat fatigue. Olea europea (extract of olive leaf) and Echinacea are two very useful herbs that have well known anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.

For Immune Boosting in Adults:

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Hypoxis Rooperi (extract of African Potato) - Hypoxis contains phytosterols and sterolins, which help to modulate the effect of the immune system. Research has shown the beneficial effect of plant sterols and sterolins on the immune system. Research done on a group of volunteers demonstrated a significant increase in the number of T-cells, which are involved in enhancing immunity.

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Agothosma betulina (Buchu) - This is a urinary antiseptic and possesses diuretic properties. Buchu has been used by the natives of the Western Cape of South Africa for many centuries and assists the body to rid itself of toxins by stimulating the secretion of retained water.

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Viscum album - This herb acts as a natural diuretic, and vasodilator, supporting the natural strength of capillary walls and the body’s natural ability to encourage repair of damaged cells.

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Olea europea (extract of olive leaf) - This herb contains a compound called oleuropein acid that is effective in helping the body to routinely combat numerous pathogens (germs). The positive effects of Olive leaf have recently been demonstrated in a variety of clinical studies.

Herbal supplements & cures for Shingles (Herpes Zoster). Calendula officinalis (Marigold) is known to support the skin and is an excellent skin tonic. Recent studies have investigated Marigold for its supportive capacity to soothe flustered skin.

For Immune Boosting in Children:

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Echinacea purpurea (American coneflower) is a Native American herb that has become famous for its tonic effect on the immune system. The roots of this herb contain polysaccharides that give a tremendous boost to the immune system. This herb has a property if inducing phagocytosis, a process in which foreign bodies get engulfed by the immune cells. Echinacea not only is a perfect remedy for colds and upper respiratory infections but also restores the natural immune system of the body quickly.

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Astragalus membranaceous (Chinese name, 'Huang qi') is a potent yet child-safe Chinese remedy that has a variety of benefits as an immune-supportive and rejuvenating tonic. Studies have shown Astragalus to maintain immune responses effectively.

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Inula helenium (Wild Sunflower) is associated with Helen of Troy by legend, and has been used since the days of the Roman poet Horace. It is very effective as an encouraging respiratory tonic and is widely respected for its support of good health.

For External Applications:

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Aloe ferox is a succulent and well-known therapeutic herb native to South Africa. Aloe ferox has many different uses and writings from as early as 1500BC in Ancient Egypt document its supportive uses. For centuries this herb has been used topically to support skin health. European sailors routinely used the sap for skin that was exposed to the elements, rope burns, and salt water exposure. Studies and research have also investigated Aloe ferox for it’s supportive benefits on skin health.

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Urtica urens, used topically, is a well-regarded choice to help support the skin and soothe common itchiness.

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Lavendula officinalis (Lavender) is a sweet-smelling essential oil that also has strong supportive properties for the skin. This oil also has soothing properties. Lavender is valued for its calming properties and is wonderful for soothing common discomfort and promoting relaxation of the spirit!

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Melaleuca laterifolia is also known as Tea Tree Oil and is used externally. This oil has wonderful soothing and calming properties for the skin. Numerous studies have been conducted to investigate Tea Tree Oil for its effect on skin health.

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Hamamelis virginianum (Witchhazel) is an excellent astringent herb which has been used by Native Americans for generations. It can be used to support the skin in the cases of non-serious insect bites and common sunburn and grazes. Witchhazel helps to maintain routine levels of healthy bacteria in the body. This herb has been the subject of numerous studies due to its potential to support the skin while soothing common itchiness and irritation.

   
 

Herbal & homeopathic products recommended in Shingles (Herpes Zoster)

ImmunityPlus for Shingles (Herpes Zoster)

ImmunityPlus

Promotes healthy immune system functioning and helps fight viral and bacterial infections.

Product Details

KiddieBoost for Shingles (Herpes Zoster)

KiddieBoost

Promotes healthy immune function, and reduces infection and illness risks in children.

Product Details

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Helpful dietary recommendations in Shingles (Herpes Zoster)

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Potent antioxidants rich diet helps in preventing inflammation. Vitamin C, B12 & E, zinc & bioflavonoids are important to give a fillip to the immune system and regenerate and rebuild nerve cells (Particularly Vitamin C and B12). Supplements are advised at the very onset of the problem, but only under proper medical guidance.

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Adenosine monophosphate (AMP) is an intermediary substance formed during the body’s process of creating energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) from food. People with herpes zoster infections are generally found to have low levels of AMP. Supplements of AMP may be administered under the supervision of a qualified nutritionist.

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Lysine is an essential amino acid needed for growth and to help maintain nitrogen balance in the body. (Essential amino acids cannot be made in the body and must be supplied by the diet or supplements.) The amino acid arginine is required by the herpes virus for growth while lysine inhibits this growth. It is believed that severe bouts of shingles are brought up by the lowering of the vitality. This imbalance can be corrected by taking more lysine containing foods and avoiding arginine containing foods. It also speeds up the recovery time.

Good dietary sources of the above nutrients are:

Lysine: meat (specifically red meat, pork, and poultry), cheese (particularly parmesan), certain fish (such as cod and sardines), nuts, eggs, soybeans (particularly tofu, isolated soy protein, and defatted soybean flour), spirulina, and fenugreek seed.

Zinc: Shellfish (especially oysters) and nuts are rich sources of zinc. Other sources include red meats, poultry, cheese (ricotta, Swiss, Gouda), shrimp, crab, legumes (especially lima beans, black-eyed peas, and soybeans), whole grains, tofu, brewer's yeast, cooked greens, mushrooms, green beans, tahini, and pumpkin and sunflower seeds.

Vitamin C: Diet containing fresh fruits and vegetables should provide you with enough vitamin C in a day although emphasis must be given on citrus fruits (fresh fruits in totality and not their juice only) like grapes and blackberries, as they also contain bioflavonoids. Some important fruits and vegetables are blackcurrant, vegetables (broccoli, potatoes), red capsicums and chillies, strawberry, kiwifruit and rockmelon.

Vitamin E: Its sources include avocados, nuts, seed oils, sunflower seeds, green leafy vegetables, eggs, pumpkin seeds and wheat germ.

Vitamin B12: liver, fish, milk, lean meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, fortified soya drink. Remember, folic acid supplements may hide deficiency of vitamin B12 and hence you better get yourself checked for its deficiency if your folate intake is good enough.

Helpful dietary habits for Shingles (Herpes Zoster)

Foods to avoid are:

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Arginine containing foods such as chocolate, nuts, peanuts, cola, peas, grain cereals, cashews, beer and gelatin.

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Reduce your intake of alcohol and caffeine, which is found in coffee, tea and colas. This will help maintain a healthy immune system.

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Acidic, salty and processed foods.

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Dos & don'ts (precautionary measures) in Shingles (Herpes Zoster)

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Due to pretty high level of contagion, you should avoid contact with other people, particularly those who are weak (low resistance power due to suppressed or weakened immunity system) and also those who have never had chickenpox in their life.

Homeopathic medicines & cures for Shingles (Herpes Zoster). Acupuncture and hypnosis are believed to be quite effective in treating post-herpetic neuralgia.

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Make sure that your infected areas are kept clean and dry.

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Apply a wet dressing (cold compress) on the affected nerve. Dip a washcloth in cold water and squeeze. Place it over the affected area. This should provide a lot of comfort. Ice is also a substitute.

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As heat macerates the delicate skin with all the blisters on, safeguard the affected area from any kind of heat source.

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As the itch may not be there, you may feel convenient to scratch or rub the affected area. Never do it as the blisters may burst and become infected.

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Herbal & homeopathic products recommended in Shingles (Herpes Zoster)

ImmunityPlus

Promotes healthy immune system functioning and helps fight viral and bacterial infections.

Product Details

KiddieBoost

Promotes healthy immune function, and reduces infection and illness risks in children.

Product Details

Itch Dr.

Natural soothing cream to promote healthy skin all over.

Product Details

 

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