Natural Help for Shingles
by Tony Isaacs
(The Best Years in Life) It is estimated that at some point in their lives 1 in every 3 Americans will be best by shingles - a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. The medical term for shingles is ‘herpes zoster’. After you have had chickenpox, the virus becomes dormant in your nerve tissue, but it can be reactivated years later as shingles. It is more common in adults between the ages of 60 and 80 and those with weakened immune systems.
Shingles spreads through your skin in the form of a rash or blister similar to chicken-pox. It is associated with grueling pain, itchiness, burning sensation and sometimes even numbness. Before the rash appears you develop pain and tenderness on a particular area of your body. It may sometime take more than a week before the rash appears. You develop red spots before it erupts into blisters. Shingles usually develops on one side of your body (left or right) and can also affect other parts of your body, such as the head and limbs.
Once the blisters burst open they can often be healed within a week or two, leaving behind light scars which will soon disappear. While shingles may not be a deadly disease, it can be dangerous for people with weakened immune systems, such as those suffering from HIV infection or getting mainstream cancer treatments. Shingles are also a threat for people getting organ transplants due to the drugs used which suppress the immune system.
When shingles rash appears on the cheek or near the eyes, it is important that you consult a medical professional as soon as possible, as shingles in the eyes can cause temporary or permanent loss of vision.
Symptoms of shingles include:
•Pain, tingling, burning, itching, or numbness in certain areas of the body
•Red rash with fluid-filled blisters that usually start within a week after the pain begins The rash typically occurs on one side of your chest or back. It can also occur on one side of the face or neck.
After the blisters dry up, usually in one to two weeks, pain can persist. Sometimes, shingles can lead to a condition called postherpetic neuralgia, in which sharp, stabbing pain lasts months to years after the rash has disappeared.
To avoid shingles outbreaks:
•Build and maintain a healthy and strong natural immune system. See:
"Building a Foundation for Better Health and Longevity"
•Get plenty of rest. Lack of proper rest weakens the body and immune system and makes one more susceptible to shingles outbreaks and other illness.
•Avoid and manage stress. Being stressed can result in an outbreak of viral conditions such as herpes and shingles. Practice meditation and/or othe relaxation techniques and try to avoid putting yourself in stressful situations. See:
"Taking Time to Smell the Roses Really CAN Ease Stress"
"How to Make Your Home a Haven"
Natural Remedies for Shingles
Mainstream medical science would have us believe that there are no effective natural remedies for shingles, the same as medical science tells us that they have no cure for shingles only treatments which manage symptoms. Sound familiar? In actuality, there are a number of natural remedies which can help manage and relieve shingles and some people in natural medicine believe that it may be possible to actually eliminate the virus.
One good combination to try for shingles is colloidal silver, proteolytic enzymes and olive leaf extract.
Colloidal silver is an extremely effective pathogen destroyer which can be taken internally as well as applied topically to help speed healing. Studies have found that colloidal silver can attach itself to viruses and prevent them from replicating (specifically, the HIV virus). In addition, recent studies in Hungary found specific silver receptors on human nerve tissue, which is the location where the shingles virus "hides out".
Proteolytic enzymes are enzymes that are produced naturally by the pancreas to help digest the protein we eat. Proteolytic enzymes taken in quantity on an empty stomach are reported to help strip away the protective outer layer and head of viruses. They are also found in certain foods, such as papaya and pineapple. Supplements derived from papaya (called papain), pineapple (called bromelain), and from animal pancreas can be found online, in health food stores, and in some grocery and drug stores.
In a German study, 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, with the exception of skin redness, which showed greater improvement with the acyclovir treatment. The group taking proteolytic enzymes had significantly fewer side effects.
Side effects of proteolytic enzymes may include digestive upset and allergic reactions. People with allergies to pineapple or papaya should avoid supplements derived from those fruit.
Proteolytic enzymes, particularly bromelain and papain, should not be taken with warfarin (Coumadin), aspirin, or other "blood-thinning" medications as it may increase the effect of the drug. The proteolytic enzyme pancreatin may interfere with the absorption of the vitamin folate.
Olive leaf extract is a very effective anti-viral that has been reported to conquer viruses that mainstream medicine consider impossible to eliminate - including Hepatitis-C. One patient who had suffered from shingles for nine years, reported experiencing complete relief within two days after beginning to use olive leaf extract.
Another natural remedy for shingles is to practice the martial art Tai Chi and there is preliminary evidence suggesting that tai chi may improve immune function and health in older adults at risk for shingles.
In one study, 36 men and women, aged 60 and over, took a 15 week program of Tai Chi Chih (three 45 minute classes per week) or a wait list control. After 15 weeks, there was an increase in varicella zoster virus-specific immunity and health functioning in people taking Tai Chi Chih. Tai Chi Chih is just one form of the Chinese martial art.
Capsaicin Cream has also been found to provide significant relief for shingles and it has been used effectively against postherpetic neuralgia. If you've ever eaten a chili pepper and felt your mouth burn, you know exactly what capsaicin does. Capsaicin is the active ingredient in chili peppers and is sometimes used for postherpetic neuralgia.
In one study, people used either capsaicin cream or a placebo cream. After six weeks, almost 80 percent of people who used the capsaicin cream had significantly greater pain relief compared to people who used the placebo cream.
When it is applied to the skin, capsaicin has been found to deplete substance P - a neurochemical that transmits pain--resulting in an analgesic effect.
Capsaicin cream is also called capsicum cream. It is available in drug stores, health food stores, and online. A typical dosage is 0.025% capsaicin cream applied two to four times a day.
The most common side effect is a stinging or burning sensation in the area. The benefit may take several weeks to develop.
If possible, wear disposable gloves (available at drugstores) before applying the cream. Be careful not to touch the eye area or any areas of broken or sensitive skin.
•Keep the blisters open and dry. Do not burst the blisters by scratching.
•Avoid foods which contain amino acids such as chocolate, cereal grains, nuts and seeds.
•The affected area should always be kept clean
•Applying wet, cool compresses may reduce pain
•You can apply wet dressing to soothe the burning sensation
•Avoid being in humid areas. Always keep yourself cool.
•Be sure to get plenty of rest
Other Natural Remedies:
•When blisters get infected, dab them with colloidal silver or hydrogen peroxide.
•To provide relief, make a solution by mixing 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar in 2 cups of water. Use a cotton cloth to moisten the affected areas by using the upward movement.
•You can make a solution by mixing aloe vera gel, raw honey and leek juice to be applied on the rash.
•You can also sponge the blisters or rashes by use of vitamin E oil, apple cider vinegar, cool goldenseal, mugwort or peppermint tea.
•Baking soda and water solution can also be applied as a cold compress.
•Apply a mixture of yogurt and zinc oxide along the particular path of the nerve. If it is applied before the outbreak it could help to curb the outburst of blisters.
•Acupuncture can be used to manage pain after an outbreak of shingles, as can topical peppermint oil and geranium oil.
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