Holistic Treatment for Shingles and Shingles Rash in Encino, CA
Chickenpox is one of the most recognizable diseases around, and unless you’ve been vaccinated, there’s a good chance you’ve already had it. Though you only have a 2% chance of getting the disease again, it doesn’t mean that the chickenpox virus can’t bite twice.
Shingles —also called herpes zoster—is a disease caused by the chickenpox (varicella-zoster) virus. When you get chickenpox, the virus can hibernate in your body and reappear as shingles years later. A stressed, aging or weakened immune system may activate shingles.
Patients often ask “Can I go to work with shingles?” or “How long does it take for shingles to go away?”
People heal at different rates depending on their age, genetics and the immune system. You can spread the varicella-zoster virus from the time that your symptoms start until your tell-tale rash and blisters have crusted dry – after which you can go to work. Holistic treatments can non-invasively address symptoms while targeting the virus replication that causes them.
Certain holistic treatments can help stop the spread and replication of shingles and treat:
- sharp tingling or burning pain on one side of your body
- itching or sensitive skin
- pink skin patches that turn into blisters that dry into scabs
- anxiety or restlessness
- a headache
If you’re wondering about how long shingles are contagious, the virus can be spread through oozing blisters (which last about a week) and infect those who have never had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine.
How does holistic treatment relieve symptoms and/or target shingles and shingles rash?
There are many different holistic treatments—such as aromatherapy, nutritional supplements, and IV vitamin C therapy—that can help you handle shingles and shingles symptoms like its skin rash.
As with any medical procedure, results of holistic shingles treatments will vary from patient to patient depending on age, genetics, general health, condition severity, follow-up care, and environmental factors. The following regenerative, nutritional, and herbal treatments may present contraindications with one another, and/or with other medical conditions. Children, those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or those who have recently had surgery may experience adverse effects from these said treatments. Always consult your healthcare professional before deciding which treatment to try first.
If you’ve ever wondered, “Does stress cause shingles,” the answer may be yes. As stress can affect your immune system, it’s believed that stress could trigger shingles. Ways that you can reduce stress include:
- deep breathing exercises
- taking walks
- talk to friends
- read a book
- listen to relaxing music
- watch your favorite movie
- get plenty of sleep
Compresses, bathing, and itching relief
One of the easiest ways to treat skin rashes is with cool water. By holding cool cloths or compresses against your rash, it can reduce inflammation and relieve itchiness. Do not use hot or icy water, as this could slow your healing or increase your skin’s sensitivity, respectively.
Taking a cool bath or shower can also have the same effect, as well as keep your blisters clean to reduce the risk of infection. Colloidal oatmeal baths are an FDA-approved treatment for soothing skin inflammation. A mixture of baking soda and cornstarch paste can also relieve itching, as can a cream and lotion with capsaicin in it. Found in chili peppers, side effects of capsaicin cream and lotion include red, swelling, sore, or dry skin.
This therapy uses essential oils to improve your health. They can either be inhaled or rubbed into your skin.
Essential oils that have anti-inflammatory properties and are used to treat shingles include:
- chamomile: can help promote skin-cell regeneration for skin ulcers; may cause skin irritation
- eucalyptus: can increase the speed at which cancer patients' sores heal; no known side effects
- tea tree: this can promote wound healing; may cause skin irritation and swelling
- oregano: this has antioxidant, antibiotic, and painkiller properties; no known side effects
- geranium: this can reduce pain; may cause a rash or burning feeling
- lavender: this can reduce emotional stress, improve sleep, relieve pain, and reduce headaches; may irritate your skin
- bergamot:1 this can reduce infections, especially those that affect the skin; it may make your skin sensitive to sunlight
The first step is to avoid foods that weaken your immune system – those that are rich in:
- trans-fat: cakes, cookies, margarine, and doughnuts
- saturated fat: butter, cheese, fatty meats
- sugar: cake, candy, cookies, fruit juice
- refined carbohydrates: spinach, tomatoes, whole wheat, kidney beans, and peanuts
- arginine: chocolate, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, and gelatin
Omega fatty acids have important anti-inflammatory properties. Foods rich in this fat include salmon, walnuts, soybean oil, cashews, olive oil, almonds, anchovies, and sardines. Drinking plenty of water can also flush the virus from your body.
Other foods that can keep your immune system strong and promote healing include:
- red pepper
- red meat or chicken
- whole grains
- beans and legumes
Nutritional supplements that can improve your immune system include:
- vitamin D: research shows that blood vitamin D levels are linked to varicella-zoster virus immunity;2 overdose can cause a headache, fatigue, confusion, nausea, and dry mouth
- zinc: fights off bacteria; stops viruses from replicating; makes DNA; overdose can cause vomiting, diarrhea or headaches
- selenium: fights free radical damage and infection; prevents spread of viruses; makes DNA; long-term use can cause nausea, fatigue, tremors, hair loss, brittle nails, and easy bleeding
- lysine: this essential amino acid helps maintain nitrogen balance and prevents cold sores; overdose can cause diarrhea, renal failure, and kidney inflammation
- vitamin B12: high doses of oral or injected vitamin B12 have consistently prevented virus replication; overdose can cause headaches, itching, swelling and uncontrollable movements
These herbs have been shown to biochemically reverse shingles:
- gentian: reduces inflammation and pain while decreasing your chances of postherpetic neuralgia (a complication that causes severe nerve pain); may upset the stomach
- St. John’s wort: protects nerves to ease pain; overdose can cause insomnia, nervousness, stomachache or a headache
- echinacea: this restorative tonic assists the body’s adaptive responses to stress and enhances immune system function while managing pain during the acute phase of shingles; overdoes can cause fever, nausea, numb tongue, sore throat, dry mouth, dizziness, and joint or muscle aches
- licorice root: oral doses can support your immune system, while cream can soothe your rash; overdose can cause hypertension , paralysis, and brain damage
- belalai gajah: studies show that this herb can increase healing time and reduce symptoms3 without side effects4
- witch hazel: this herbal cream can relieve itching and rash in small amounts
There are numerous homeopathic remedies that can treat shingles, such as:
- rhus toxicodendron: relieves intense itching, blisters, and nerve pain; overdose can cause digestive tract irritation, nausea, diarrhea, fever, and bloody urine
- arsenicum album: this can treat exhaustion, chills, and anxiety; too-high doses can cause arsenic poisoning
- mezereum: this can treat very painful and itchy rashes; side effects include painful skin swelling, blisters, and permanent skin damage
- ranunculus bulbosus: used for severe nerve pain and bluish rashes on the left side of the chest; side effects include an upset stomach or skin burns
- sulfur: alleviates intense, burning and itching
High-dose IV vitamin C
High-dose intravenous (IV) vitamin C can also help treat shingles. An eight-week study showed that those who received IV vitamin C had less postherpetic neuralgia (nerve) pain compared to a control group. Vitamin C eliminates the free radicals that cause postherpetic neuralgia.5 Side effects include pain and swelling at the injection site and nausea.
Reserve your appointment
Holistic treatments target the root causes of shingles, eradicating the virus itself while also alleviating pain and itchy rash – with minimal side effects. Always work with an experience holistic practitioner. To discover which shingles treatment is best for you, call (424) 365-1800 or contact Vitality Integrative Medicine online.
1. Orchard, Ané, and Sandy Van Vuuren. “Commercial Essential Oils as Potential Antimicrobials to Treat Skin Diseases.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2017, 2017, pp. 1–92., doi:10.1155/2017/4517971.
2. Chao, Chia-Ter, et al. “Serum Vitamin D Levels Are Positively Associated with Varicella Zoster Immunity in Chronic Dialysis Patients.” Scientific Reports, vol. 4, no. 1, 2014, doi:10.1038/srep07371.
3. Yarnell, Eric, and Kathy Abascal. “Herbs for Treating Herpes Zoster Infections.” Alternative and Complementary Therapies, vol. 11, no. 3, 2005, pp. 131–134., doi:10.1089/act.2005.11.131.
4. Alam, Ariful, et al. “Clinacanthus Nutans: A Review of the Medicinal Uses, Pharmacology and Phytochemistry.” Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine, vol. 9, no. 4, 2016, pp. 402–409., doi: 10.1016/j.apjtm.2016.03.011.
5. Kim, Min Sung, et al. “A Study of Intravenous Administration of Vitamin C in the Treatment of Acute Herpetic Pain and Postherpetic Neuralgia.” Annals of Dermatology, vol. 28, no. 6, 2016, p. 677., doi:10.5021/ad.2016.28.6.677.
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