Natural Treatment for Shingles

Treatment for shingles

Treatment for shingles is generally a combination of antiviral medications, painkillers, and soothing lotions. The most commonly prescribed antiviral treatment for herpes zoster is aciclovir, as it reduces the length of the virus and, therefore, the probability of complications.

Generic painkillers such as paracetamol can help manage the pain associated with the virus, and calamine lotion is used to reduce the itching. In more severe cases, painkillers are prescribed, or, in the case of those with compromised immune systems, injections of antiviral antibodies.  However, some of these drugs for the treatment of herpes have side effects; this is why most people are seeking natural treatment for shingles.

Shingles: traditional treatment

Additionally, the affected area is kept as clean and dry as possible, usually by covering it with a dressing. Shingles generally resolve themselves without serious complications; however, if they appear near the eyes, forehead, or nose, the patient should seek a GP or ophthalmologist, as shingles in this area can cause blindness.

What are shingles?

Shingles reactivate the immune system for the varicella-zoster virus (chickenpox). Many individuals who contract the infection wonder what causes shingles, what the cures are, and how long they will last. Depending on how you contract it, there may be different forms of treatment.

Herpes Zoster, or shingles, is a skin rash caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox: varicella zoster.

After a child has chickenpox, the virus lays dormant in the body and can manifest itself years later as shingles. It is unclear what triggers the outbreak of shingles, but it seems to be more prevalent in people with compromised immune systems. This includes the elderly and those with other illnesses.

Herpes zoster

People ask the most frequent question: “When are shingles contagious?” or “Are shingles contagious?” In this article, we will discuss everything about shingles, including the pathology of the disease, prevention, and treatment of shingles. Usually affecting people in their 50s or 60s, stress can sometimes cause shingles. The shingles rash area develops blisters that will begin to ooze fluid and crust over. When new blisters are still developing, shingles are contagious, but as soon as they begin to crust up, the shingles virus is no longer contagious. Because the blisters can be in various stages, ensure they are healed before being near children who may not have had chickenpox.

Causes of Shingles

There is a range of causes associated with shingles. However, there is no surety as to what causes shingles. It’s not about what causes shingles but the factors that activate the shingles virus lying dormant in the person’s body.

Shingles: what causes shingles?

Listed below are some of the causes of shingles

Stress

This is one of the primary causes of reactivation. Stress, especially of the emotional variety, triggers a process of reactivation.

Fatigue

A virus causes shingles—the same virus that causes chickenpox, known as varicella zoster. In the case of those previously exposed to chickenpox, the virus remains dormant in their nervous system even after they recover.

When the virus is re-activated by factors including disease, stress, aging, or some combination of the three, it travels up the nerve to affect the area of skin related to that nerve. Anyone who has had chickenpox can get shingles, even if infected and recovered years ago.

Additionally, the blisters caused by shingles are full of the chickenpox virus and can transmit to other people. While most adults are immune to chickenpox, those who have never had chickenpox or those with weakened immune systems are at risk of catching chickenpox from those with shingles.

Note: Shingles are also a result of an HIV infection.

Shingles symptoms

The symptoms of shingles vary widely from patient to patient. 

Shingles phases

Most patients report a burning feeling or tingling of the skin before there is any evidence of a rash. The pain is often severe, yet there may not be any rash to see or feel, which can be frustrating.

The rash will usually appear first as a few small blisters on red skin, then new blisters will form three to five days later. The blisters usually appear in areas that correspond to nerves in a ray-like pattern on the skin. An entire nerve may or may not be affected.

Some people have just one nerve affected, while others have several nerves or several layers of nerves. Some people experience intense pain that lasts for weeks, and others experience only mild discomfort. The pain is usually more significant for those with more nerve space involved, although it is possible to have the pain without any blisters developing.

Shingles symptoms often show a distinct stage. The symptoms occur in the following sequence:

The Rash stage

Initially, a patient may feel like they have a common viral infection. The symptoms are as common as those of the flu. These are headaches, nausea, and fevers with chills. These symptoms were the primary ones before the outbreak of skin rashes. If the disease is diagnosed at this stage and treated correctly, the chances of further progress are lowered to a greater extent. This stage is the right time to boost the immune system. Normal treatment includes antiviral medicines. Then, the rash appears about 3–5 days after this stage. This is accompanied by specific other symptoms like burning and tingling sensations, itching, numbness, and burning pain.

The eruptive stage

The outbreak of blisters and pain characterizes this stage. Blisters are often filled with clear fluid. The common sites of such blisters are on the buttocks, arms, legs, and face. These usually occur on one side of the body. This stage may continue for about two weeks. The clear fluid in the blisters slowly gets converted into pus during this stage, which leads to scabbing. This is a highly contagious stage. Also, the patient may suffer from pain and itchiness. So, he or she may like to wear loose clothes to avoid contact with anything during the eruptions.

The post-neuralgia stage

Sometimes, the patients may feel continuous pain along the nerve pathway where earlier blisters were present. This pain even persists after the complete healing of blisters. This is post-neuralgia. Anti-inflammatory creams and oils can be helpful in such conditions.

When are shingles contagious?

The same virus that causes chickenpox, varicella-zoster virus (VZV), is the cause of shingles. After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus remains dormant (inactive) in the body. The virus can reactivate later, causing shingles.

Shingles: When shingles are contagious?

Most people who develop shingles have only one episode in their lives. However, you can have shingles more than once.

If you have shingles, direct contact with skin blister fluid can spread VZV to people who have never had chickenpox or received the vaccine. If they get infected, they will develop chickenpox, not shingles. They could then develop shingles later in life.

The risk of spreading VZV to others is low if the shingles rash is covered. People with shingles cannot spread the virus before blisters or scabs appear.

People with chickenpox are more likely to spread VZV than people with shingles.

Between the time the blisters appear and when they dry out and scab, another person can catch the virus if they come in contact with the pus in the blisters.

To prevent the spread of VZV to others:

  • Cover the rash.
  • Avoid touching or scratching the rash.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Avoid contact with the following people until the skin forms scabs:
  • Pregnant women who have never been vaccinated against chickenpox or chickenpox;
  • Premature or low-birth-weight babies; and
  • People with weakened immune systems, such as people receiving immunosuppressive drugs or undergoing chemotherapy, organ transplant recipients, and people with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.

Some people are at greater risk of getting herpes. This includes people who

  • Are over 50 years old. Shingles are most common in people over 50. The risk increases with age.
  • Have certain medical conditions. Diseases that weaken your immune system, such as HIV / AIDS and cancer, can increase your risk of shingles.
  • Are undergoing cancer treatment. Radiation therapy or chemotherapy can lower your resistance to disease and cause shingles.
  • Are you taking certain medications? Medicines designed to prevent organ transplant rejection can increase the risk of shingles, as can the long-term use of steroids such as prednisone.
  • Have medical problems that prevent the immune system from functioning correctly, such as certain types of cancer, such as leukemia and lymphoma, and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • Receive drugs that impede the proper functioning of the immune system, such as steroids and drugs administered after organ transplantation.

How to prevent shingles?

A shingles vaccine can help prevent shingles.

People seeking the shingles vaccine have two options: Shingrix and Zostavax.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States approved Shingrix in 2017 and recommends it over Zostavax. Studies suggest that Shingrix protects shingles for more than five years. Shingrix is a non-live vaccine made up of a viral component. It is prescribed in two shots, with a two- to six-month gap between them.

Shingrix is approved and recommended for people 50 years of age and older, including those who have received Zostavax in the past or have had shingles.

Zostavax has been shown to protect shingles for about five years. It is a live vaccine given as a single injection, usually in the upper arm. Zostavax is recommended for people aged 60 and over. Although it is no longer sold in the United States as of July 2020, other countries can still use it.

The most common side effects of either shingles vaccine are redness, pain, tenderness, swelling and itching at the injection site, and headache.

Natural Treatment for Shingles                             

Natural treatments for shingles do not have any side effects on a person’s body, even when done frequently, for immediate relief of the symptoms.

Herpes: Herbs for herpes

Listed below are different approaches to natural treatment for shingles:

Diet for shingles—an essential part of any natural treatment for shingles.

Foods and drinks to help with recovery from shingles include:

Vitamin B-rich foods

B-vitamins help support the body’s nervous system. Considering that the nervous system is under the attack of shingles, it is essential to eat foods high in vitamin B. Foods include brewer’s yeast, sweet potatoes, bananas, grass-fed beef, cultured dairy products, eggs, organic chicken, whole grains, and vegetables.

Water:

Adequate hydration is vital to help eliminate the virus from your system. Try drinking 2 liters of purified water every day.

Garlic and onions

Both raw garlic and onion contain allicin, which can help boost immune function.

Vitamin C-rich foods

Vitamin C helps boost your immunity and also accelerates skin healing. Incorporate oranges, lemons, tomatoes, peppers, kiwis, and berries into your diet.

Green Leafy Vegetables

These vegetables are rich in antioxidants and magnesium, boosting immune function and supporting the nervous system.

Foods and drinks to avoid for faster healing include:

Sugar

Consuming sugar reduces the number of white blood cells in the body. White blood cells are vital in helping fight infections.

Caffeine

Caffeine can be overly stimulating for the nervous system and dehydrating, so avoiding it in all its forms (e.g., coffee, tea, chocolate, and energy drinks) is best.

Fried Foods

Fried Foods They promote an acidic environment that is not conducive to healing, so it is best to avoid these foods during a shingles attack.

Alcohol

It is best to avoid alcohol during a shingles attack, as it stresses the liver and the body’s healing process.

Home remedies for shingles—the most popular natural treatment for shingles

Home remedies for shingles are natural and proven effective with no side effects. Listed below are home remedies for shingles:

  • Vitamin C improves the body’s immune system, and the correct dosage should be followed to prevent any Shingles infection from re-occurring.
  • Vitamin E is also a helpful home remedy for shingles. You can use this vitamin by applying it to the affected areas to help treat shingles quickly.
  • Garlic can also be used as a natural treatment for shingles. Consuming garlic 3-5 times daily is a good cure for people suffering from the virus.
  • Hydrogen peroxide is also another common home remedy for shingles. Undiluted hydrogen peroxide should be applied to rashes or blisters.
  • The application of ice is another home remedy for Shingles used to numb the pain felt with the blisters or rashes. Ice placed in a plastic bag can be pressed on the affected areas. The skin will then be relieved of the pain and irritation brought on by the Shingles symptoms.
  • Baking soda can also treat the rash by creating a cold compress of water and baking soda. This mixture is known to treat blisters quickly and relieve pain.
  • Apple cider vinegar is another favorite treatment. Combine a half cup of apple cider vinegar and two cups of water. This mixture is then applied to the rashes and blisters of Shingles. Apply apple cider vinegar in a soft and upward motion.
  • Relaxing in a cool bath doesn’t only give relief to your entire body; it can also help relieve the pain and itching due to the rashes and blisters of Shingles.

Herbs for shingles: an effective home-based natural treatment for shingles

Herbs for shingles help your body fight the virus and treat insomnia and anxiety due to shingles. Listed below are herbs for shingles

Olive Leaf:

  • Olive leaves are herbs for shingles that contain a glucoside named oleuropein, enzymes, and many other essential substances for the human body. They have astringent, antiseptic, and diuretic properties, but their antiviral characteristics are so powerful that they can help you combat many ailments. People with AIDS have used substantial doses of this leaf, and the results have been fantastic. The secret to this is to make strong tea. It can taste unpleasant, but it’s worth it, so don’t let this discourage you.

Lemon Balm:

  • The benefits of this herb go beyond its soothing effects and aromatherapy. All the plants, including the flower, branches, and leaves, can be used for medicinal purposes. Lemon balm is from the mint family and produces a soothing effect on the central nervous system. It treats stomach disorders, insomnia, fever, nausea, irritability, flu, bronchial inflammation, high blood pressure, and PMS syndrome. And for this exact reason, it’s often used to treat herpes topically because it relieves pain. Many studies indicate that lemon balm has antiviral properties. They discovered that this herb prevents the virus from attaching to new cells. This means that by taking this tea orally, the herpes virus will not thrive and will live for a short time in your body.

Other herbs for shingles are peppermint, sage, rosemary, oregano, thyme, and hyssop. You can prepare a highly concentrated infusion of these herbs, let it cool, and then wash the body areas affected by shingles. All the herbs mentioned above have excellent antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral compounds that work wonders on herpetic rashes.

Homeopathy for shingles: the #1 natural treatment for shingles

Homeopathy for shingles activates the body’s natural healing ability by strengthening the immune system with medicine that has undergone progressive dilutions. In the case of a person with shingles, a homeopath will develop a treatment plan based on the root cause of the individual’s complaint, such as burning pain, itchy rash, and pus-filled blisters.

Homeopathy for shingles has no side effects and produces immediate results. Listed below are homeopathic remedies for shingles

Iris versicolor

  • When herpes zoster infection comes with stomach issues like nausea and burning sensations, this homeopathic shingle remedy is frequently helpful. Eruptions may appear, especially on the right side of the abdomen.

Ranunculus bulbosus

  • This homeopathic remedy for shingles is indicated for intense itching on the ribcage (either on the back or chest), which is also very sore and worse from contact with clothing or any touch. The blisters may look bluish. The person may feel worse from alcoholic beverages and exposure to cold air.

Rhus Toxicodendron

  • A rash that starts with numerous tiny blisters, which are red and extremely itchy, and responds to hot baths or hot wet compresses may require this homeopathic shingle treatment. Restlessness makes the person want to pace the room or constantly move around.

Acupuncture for Shingles: An Ancient Chinese Natural Treatment for Shingles

Acupuncture is a branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that employs fine, sterile needles to stimulate different acupuncture points on the body to balance the flow of energy and activate the body’s natural healing abilities.

Energy stagnation or any obstruction in its path can lead to various diseases, including shingles. Improving the flow of energy within the body keeps illnesses at bay.

During acupuncture for shingles, the acupuncturist employs different techniques, including fire needling. This method involves the use of specialized needles that are heat-resistant. Following the principles of TCM, the acupuncturist works on different acupoints on the body that correspond to the affected meridians, which may include those in the large bowel, thyroid, spleen, and kidneys.

Clinical studies show that combining acupuncture for shingles with conventional medications for shingles produces more significant pain reduction, allowing the person suffering from shingles to function normally again.

Conclusion on natural treatment for shingles.

Shingles are no fun, but the good news is that shingles’ natural treatment is not hard to do and not expensive, and the following suggestions can all be made in the comfort of your home. Since shingles are a virus-caused condition, many natural treatments focus on boosting the immune system.

If you need help with shingles natural treatment, contact Philadelphia Acupuncture Clinic and schedule a holistic, comprehensive evaluation with Dr. Tsan. Our clinic employs only the best practitioners in each area, and we have 99% positive reviews from our patients.