A Natural Approach to Shingles

Shingles, caused by herpes zoster, the same virus that causes Chicken Pox, typically

shows up in older patients with compromised immune systems. This painful

outbreak of blisters can often be accompanied by chills, headache and fever. It’s

reported that one in three people will experience shingles in their lifetime. Shingles

is more dangerous than Chicken Pox as it can lead to serious conditions such as

blindness, hearing loss and neuropathy. Besides traditional medicine’s protocols,

there are natural ways to approach prevention and treatment of shingles.

Keeping a healthy immune system is key to shingles prevention. Eating a

healthy whole foods diet and avoiding stress are some simple (and yet, not always

easy) ways to start. For years, herbalists and naturopaths have suggested a protocol

of L-lysine to prevent shingles outbreaks. High doses of L-lysine have also been used

as a natural preventive for herpes simplex. The agarikon mushroom is another

natural supplement that has shown promise in the prevention of shingles. This

mushroom has been used for thousands of years as a medicine treating various

ailments such as Tuberculosis and Small Pox.

It’s important to remember that shingles shows up when our immune

systems are weak, either because of poor nutrition, other health concerns or use of

some prescription medications. One interesting study published in the journal

Clinical Infectious Diseases found that statins (prescription medications that lower

the levels of fat and cholesterol in the blood) increase the risk of the herpes zoster

virus. In Ontario, St. Michael’s Hospital announced that, “The rate of herpes zoster

was higher among users of statins.” Some natural treatments for shingles are

Vitamin C injection therapy administered by a health practitioner, peppermint oil

applied to pain sites and UVB light therapy. There have also been studies that show

capsaicin cream helped with postherpetic neuralgia associated with shingles.

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