Shingles are small, fluid-filled blisters similar to chickenpox. An attack of shingles comes from a reactivation of the same varicella-zoster virus that causes chickenpox. The virus usually lies dormant in the nervous system of the body for several decades. No one knows why it suddenly becomes active, but 10 to 20 percent of those who have had chickenpox as children will someday develop shingles. The risk increases with age. Of the one million cases that occur in the United States every year, about half are in people over 60.
What are the symptoms of shingles?
Shingles usually begins with an itch, a tingling sensation, or a stabbing pain, usually in the skin of the torso or the face on one side of the body. A few days later, a rash develops along the affected area as fluid-filled blisters similar to chickenpox that then dry out and crust. In its early stages, the condition can cause intense pain without any blisters, which means it is often misdiagnosed as a pulled muscle or some other painful condition. Shingles usually runs its course in three to five weeks.
Although it is possible to get shingles more than once, this happens in only one to five percent of patients, usually those whose immune systems are compromised. These cases can occur many years after the first episode and tend not to develop in the same area of the body as the first bout. Most people who appear to experience multiple episodes of shingles are probably experiencing infections with a related virus, which cause sores similar to shingles.
Postherpetic neuralgia is a complication of shingles that affects the nerve fibers and skin and can be extremely painful. It typically occurs after the rash has resolved. The symptoms are typically confined to the area where the shingles occurred and may include a sharp, burning or deep, aching pain; extreme sensitivity to touch and temperature change; itching and numbness. These problems can go on for months, in some cases years, and are most likely to occur among older people. In fact, the older you are when you develop shingles, the more likely you are to develop postherpetic neuralgia. This complication rarely occurs before the age of 50, but develops in at least 50 percent of shingles patients over 60 and in almost 75 percent of those 70 or older.
What are the causes?
Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, from the family of herpes viruses that also causes cold sores and genital lesions. Many of these viruses can reside in dormant states in the nervous system. If the body's immune response does not completely destroy the virus, the right conditions can allow them to travel along the path of the nerves up to the skin's surface.
It is uncertain what causes the reactivation, but more than likely, having a decreased immunity is one of the predisposing factors. Shingles is much more common in older adults (whose immune systems become weaker with age) and in those whose immunity is suppressed. Heightened emotional or physical stress can also play a part in increasing the incidence of shingles.
The incubation period is from 7-21 days. The total duration from onset to complete recovery varies from 10 days to 5 weeks. If all the vesicles appear within 24 hours, the total duration is usually short. It lasts longer in adults than in children.
The following products may be useful tp prevent shingles
It is essential to support one's immune AND nervous systems
Immune System Support
Super ORAC Antioxidant or Trigger Immune TCM or Immune Stimulator
If subjected to fungal infections
Pau D'Arco - Silver Shield (Colloidal Silver) - Bifidophilus (take all three products)
Nervous System Support
Nutri-Calm or Nerve Eight
If affected by the disease
1. Send us an e-mail with your telephone number and best time to reach you.
Describe your symptoms, area affected etc.
We shall then get in touch with you to help you select which products might be best for you.
2. The following products may bring you support and relief
VS-C tcm (read complete description below) 1 capsule 3 times a day (4 times more powerful than VS-C)
L-Lysine, in the initial infection using 3 capsules 3-4 times per day.
Nutri-Calm (To calm the nerves) up to 8 a day.
For itching and irritated skin
Ezyme Spray will help with the itching (It has been working wonderfully for our clients and is really helping the healing process.)
Yellow Dock: 2 caps every hour.
Homeopathic Support (Essential... works very fast on symptoms)
1. Kali Phosphoricum (Potassium phosphate) also known as Kali Phos is a constituent of nerve and brain cells and may be useful in nerve related illnesses such as emotional irritability, menopausal mood swings, depression, nervousness, children’s tantrums, mental exhaustion and tiredness. It may also be useful for cases of insomnia where sleeplessness is due to the inability of the brain to ‘slow down’ and in cases of extreme stress. This cell salt might also be useful for the temporary relief of tension headaches and assisting the treatment of shingles. This makes Kali Phos a great homeopathic stress relief remedy.
2. Herpes related virus infection
HZstat or HZ HP
Antiviral Formula for Herpes and Other Viral Conditions
Dr. Wenwei Xie a traditional Chinese medical doctor from Beijing China came to the United States as part of a research project on Chinese remedies for the herpes simplex virus. He formulated this product and tested it in the lab. It reduced viral counts more than 50% with no toxicity. The researchers were unable to find any -active- compounds in the herbs that could be developed into drugs, so the project was abandoned. As a result, he introduced the formula to Nature's Sunshine, who made it commercially available.
According to traditional Chinese medicine, the combination helps to resolve viral disorders by cooling the blood and regulating the chi. Many of the herbs in this formula are antiviral and anti-inflammatory. They are also detoxifying. VS-C has been clinically successful in resolving a wide variety of viral conditions including cold sores or fever blisters, canker sores, genital herpes, shingles and chicken pox.
It is also useful for weak individuals who have tried unsuccessfully to control infections with antibiotics.
The herbs in this formula work as follows:
Dandelion is an alterative and a tonic that aids the function of the liver, kidneys, stomach and blood. It reduces inflammation and relieves sores. It has been used to treat lymphatic swelling and bacterial infections. It gently detoxifies the body by promoting healthy liver and kidney function.
Scute Root is an antiseptic that reduces inflammation and relieves pain. It is related to the Western herb, skullcap, and has similar nervine effects. A detoxifying herb, it has a fever reducing effect and is antiviral and antibacterial. It also eases allergic reactions.
Purslane is a common garden weed, seldom used in Western herbalism. However, in Oriental medicine it is considered a cooling remedy for fever and inflammation. It is used to cleanse the liver and blood, and has been used to treat warts, sores, boils, stings, and malaria.
Indigo Herb and Root detoxifies the blood, reduces fever and is anti-inflammatory. In Oriental medicine it has been used for eruptions on the skin, including dermatitis, chronic eczema, infected wounds and abscesses. It is also used for canker sores and skin eruptions. VSC
Thlaspi expels pus, purifies the blood, reduces fever and arrests pain. It is a bitter, acrid herb that has been used in Chinese medicine to treat viral disorders like hepatitis and mumps.
Pinellia dissolves phlegm, stimulates digestion and absorbs toxins. It is primarily a decongestant herb that has been used to treat sinus congestion, bronchitis, tuberculosis, croup, sore throat and asthma, but it has also been used in Oriental medicine for blood poisoning. VSC
Bupleurum is a major Chinese herb for the liver. It helps reduce fever and has been used to treat hepatitis and skin eruptive diseases. It has some antibacterial and anti-viral effects, too.
Ginseng is a general tonic that acts as an immune stimulant and improves energy. It balances the cooling effect of the other herbs in this formula.
Cinnamon Twig is an aromatic herb with antiseptic qualities. It acts as a catalyst in this formula to improve digestion and stimulate circulation.
Licorice is included in many Chinese formulas because it is a balancing herb. It is also anti-inflammatory and has some antiviral activity.
The general indications for VS-C tcm formula include fever or inflammation and skin eruptions. It may be helpful for any viral condition that causes skin eruptions. The normal dose of this formula is one capsule daily.
For acute outbreaks, larger doses can be taken, up to 3 capsules daily. Long term use (about six months) has permanently cleared up some cases or herpes and other viral conditions.
Chinese Herbal Medicine: Materia Medica by Dan Bensky and Andrew Gamble (Seattle, Washington: Eastland Press (1993).
An Illustrated Dictionary of Chinese Medicinal Herbs by Wee Yeow and Hsuan Keng (Sebastopol, California: GRCS Publication, 1992).
Nutritional Herbology by Mark Pedersen (Warsaw, IN: Wendell W. Whitman Company, 1994).
Information provided personally from Dr. Wenwei Xie in the files of Steven H. Horne. VSC