“I wouldn’t wish shingles on my worst enemy!” That’s frequently what you’ll hear from people who have experienced this horrific eruption resulting in unrelenting pain.
Shingles, or what some refer to as…’Revenge of the Chickenpox’, is a virus that affects your nerves. It’s caused by the Varicella-Zoster Virus (VZV), the same virus that causes chicken pox. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders, only people who have had chickenpox are at risk for developing shingles, later in life.
However new research now shows that developing chickenpox, as a child, actually increases your immunity to shingles as an adult.
So, how are so many people developing shingles?
Research suggests that the chickenpox vaccine may be playing a role in accelerating cases of shingles. Scientists now believe due to the rise in VZV vaccinations is now giving rise to adult shingles. Although, this is still being researched, the evidence for this theory continues to escalate.
Each year, more than 1 million Americans suffer from shingles. 1 in 3 adults will experience the tormenting searing, shooting, relentless pain from hell” as many describe their shingles outbreak.
Symptoms of Shingles
Shingles typically develops only on one side of the body or face and commonly appears in a band.
You may notice pink or red blotchy patches, but within a couple of days, this rash can develop fluid-filled blisters (contagious phase)
Shingles can cause:
- Sharp, shooting pain (every few minutes)
In cases where the pain continues for several months or longer, this is called Postherpetic Neuralgia (PHN). The pain is described as so severe that they can’t tolerate clothing or even a gentle breeze against the affected areas.
Important Warning Signs of Shingles
The issue with shingles is that it often mimics other conditions—like poison ivy, scabies or psoriasis. However, there are a few tell-tale signs that gives shingles away.
Some people report itching over one particular area that doesn’t go away with scratching.
Most individuals will complain of being completely drained of energy or lethargy for no apparent reason. The fatigue can be so severe that it leads them to sleeping longer or taking daytime naps.
Most patients report not feeling well (with mild flu-like symptoms) a few days before the outbreak of the rash. They’ll describe it as general fatigue and feeling run-down.
Tingling sensations are often reported at the same time as malaise. This will precede the outbreak of the signature band-like rash.
Some people will develop nausea or a persistent upset stomach. You can differentiate this from the flu due to the absence of a fever (or rise in body temperature). Although this is true for most cases of shingles, there are rare occurrences where a person will develop a fever.
The shingles virus can cause a recurring headache that is not alleviated by over-the-counter pain meds or massage.
The usual shingles rash will be band-like. Usually it will appear on the torso (front, back or sides) but can occur on face or lower body, although this is more rare.. The rash then develops fluid filled, very painful blisters. (This is the contagious stage)
Sensitivity to Touch
Extreme sensitivity to touch is a common complaint usually affecting the forehead and chest. Sensitivity will normally appear over the area of the body that the rash will occur on.
Is Shingles Contagious?
Some studies state that the shingles virus is not contagious, while other studies say that it is. Here’s what we definitely know for sure…
Shingles is not contagious, however, an adult who’s never had chickenpox can contract chickenpox after being exposed to someone with shingles.
The virus can only be spread while it’s in the blister phase, if direct contact is made with the blisters.
Once the rash has developed crusts, the person is no longer contagious.
A person is also not contagious before blisters appear or once the rash is gone, even though they may still have postherpetic neuralgia (nerve pain). Fortunately, the virus is not spread through sneezing, coughing, or casual contact.
The Perfect Storm
What causes the shingles virus (VCV) to suddenly activate or ‘wake-up’? The chances of activating shingles largely depends on the strength of our immune system. If you are experiencing the ‘Perfect Storm’ leading to a chronically weakened immune system…then, you’re risk is raised.
This is what the ‘Perfect Storm’ can look like:
- Intense stress or chronic, unremitting stress
- Habitual lack of sleep or poor quality of sleep
- Battling cancer or going through cancer treatments
- HIV infected
- Have suffered a spinal injury
- Certain medications that suppress the immune system
- Mineral deficiency (calcium, magnesium, zinc, trace minerals)
If you experience one or more of these factors (especially on a chronic basis), then your chances of developing a shingles outbreak are higher. However, you don’t need to be ill in order to activate the virus. Simply enduring intense physical or emotional stress, or even a mild cold or injury can lead to an outbreak in an otherwise healthy person.
The Best Natural Remedies to Eliminate Shingles Symptoms
Most people diagnosed with shingles are prescribed Acyclovir to help with the infection and the pain. Sometimes it works but not always. There is a shingles vaccine on the market currently which has shown promise, however with less than 10 years in the market place, it’s impossible to predict potential backlash side-effects. It’s important to understand that ALL VACCINES come with risks.
But, what if there were home remedies that can help eliminate shingles and its symptoms, naturally?
These are useful supplements that will help eliminate shingles quicker while offering some relief.
(Unless otherwise specified, the remedies below are adult dosages. For shingles in children ages 12-17, reduce the dose by 1/4. For shingles in children ages 6-12, reduce the dose by 1/2 and for shingles in children under 6, reduce the dose by 3/4.)
Must Have Supplements for Shingles
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the amino acid L-Lysine is extremely beneficial for treating the virus. According to the studies, Lysine speeds the recovery time from shingles, as well as reduces the chance of recurrence. The University of Michigan Health System also notes Lysine’s effectiveness for treating shingles.
Recommended doses of L-Lysine as noted by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
- Maintenance dose of Lysine is 1 gm/day to prevent outbreaks.
- Therapeutic dosage during an outbreak is 1 gm taken 3 times daily
Lysine is best taken on an empty stomach. Do not take with any dairy products.
The company Nutrabio carries a very pure and high quality L-Lysine in both powder and capsules (www.nutrabio.com)
Cautions: Although lysine can be very helpful, too much L-lysine could increase your cholesterol levels or cause gallstones, warns the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. You should also exercise caution when taking Lysine, if you suffer from kidney stones, kidney disease or liver disease. Do not take Lysine with certain antibiotics (gentamicin, neomycin, streptomycin or others from the Aminoglycoside family) as it can increase nephrotoxicity. Not all doctors are knowledgeable on this topic. Always speak to a doctor that understands how to use Lysine.
If you have taken Lysine for 6 months, it’s a good idea to go off for 1 month. If you are prone to gallstones or kidney stones, you can avoid developing stones by doing a Lemon Juice Flush.
LEMON JUICE FLUSH:
This is a 12 hour protocol.
Purchase 20 whole lemons and squeeze the juice from them (do not use lemon juice from a bottle).
Upon waking up (no later than 7 am) drink 8 oz of undiluted lemon juice (do not dilute). Wait 10 minutes before consuming any water.
Next, drink 1 oz of lemon juice every hour for 11 more hours. You can dilute this, if desired. You may only sweeten it with liquid stevia.
While doing this Lemon Juice Flush, eat lightly. Stay away from processed food, soda, caffeine and red meat (stop moaning…it’s only one day).
[Note: You Should do the Lemon Juice Flush every six months after being on L-Lysine. This flush is also great to do if you are actively suffering from gallstones or kidney stones. It completely dissolves all stones. If you have excessive stones, do the flush, wait 3 days and repeat.]
Beta D Glucans– Effective against bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. I prefer Beta D Glucans that are not isolated and are extracted from mushrooms. I recommend HealthForce Superfoods Myco-Immunity or Pure encapsulations innate immune support.
To use: Take 250-300 mg/day (maintenance) or 3x/day for active outbreak.
Vitamin B Complex (w/ extra B12)– Supports nerve health and protection against long term post herpetic neuralgia. NUPHORIA Gold is best at repairing damage to nerves caused by the virus.
To use: Take 2 capsules twice daily.
Important Immune Boosters for Shingles
Olive Leaf– Olive leaf is another powerful ally against infection and will help inhibit the virus.
Garlic (in the form of allicin)– An excellent immune stimulant and helps attack viruses.
Elderberry – It reduces symptoms, prevents shingles from spreading, and stimulates the immune system. It’s useful both topically and internally for all types of herpes related viruses.
I recommend Pure Encapsulations ImmuHerbs which incorporate all three of these anti-infectants.
To use: Take 3 capsules per day (maintenance) or 3 capsules three times daily (active outbreak)
Vitamin C (with bioflavonoids)– Boosts the immune system and aids in fighting the virus.
To use: Take 2,000 mg 4 times a day.
Important Minerals To Prevent Shingles And Assist With Recovery
Calcium / Magnesium– enhances nerve function.
To use: Take 1,500 mg of calcium chelate with 750 mg of magnesium chelate daily.
Zinc– Protects the body against infection and enhances immunity. Zinc Picolinate is highly absorbable.
To use: Take 30 mg twice per day (maintenance) or three times per day (active outbreak)
The Best Essential Oils for Shingles
These essential oils have been found in clinical studies to be extremely effective, when applied topically, in dealing with the pain of shingles and fighting against the virus.
Neem – Neem oil is a powerful antiviral that can be used to help control shingles symptoms and soothe itching. Apply topically using a clean cotton swab 3-5 times a day. May also be used in conjunction with castor oil pack.
Tea Tree Oil – This oil is antibacterial and antiviral. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and relieves pain
Peppermint oil – Has antiviral and pain relieving properties. Calms the itch and burning of shingles rash
Helichrysum Oil – Relieves nerve pain and assists in repairing nerve damage. Alleviates itching and inflammation of the rash.
Geranium – studies show it reduces pain due to Post-Herpetic Neuralgia (PHN) following a shingles outbreak.
First and most importantly, bolster your immune system to prevent ever becoming a victim of shingles. Make sure that you are eating a healthy diet and implement ways to de-stress.
If you’ve been unfortunate enough to suffer from shingles, then the immune system support is imperative. Make sure to stock up on the vitamins and minerals I mentioned earlier. Always keep a bottle of NUPHORIA Gold on hand to protect your nerves from the damage that shingles can cause.
To decrease the pain and discomfort of an active outbreak, use this poultice. It’s extremely effective in decreasing the pain and symptoms from shingles. It also helps prevent infections from the blisters developed within the rash.
Castor Oil Poultice for Shingles
Castor oil makes the best carrier oil for a shingles poultice.
Castor oil has impressive anti-inflammatory effects. It also increases circulation to an area speeding the recovery time.
Here’s how to make a castor oil poultice using the most important essential oils for shingles symptoms.
- Organic Castor Oil
- Aura Cacia Peppermint Oil
- Aura Cacia Tea Tree Oil
- Aura Cacia Helichrysum oil*
- Mix 2 drops of each oil into 1 Tablespoon of castor oil
- Apply to the affected area by gently rubbing into the skin
- You may reapply several times throughout the day
Apply to the area of lesions to promote healing, ease pain and decrease inflammation
* Aura Cacia Peppermint and Tea Tree oil can usually be found at health food stores. Aura Cacia Helichrysum essential oil (EO) will need to be purchased from vitacost.com (vitacost also has the other 2 essential oils)
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