If you experienced shingles, you know the rash is not fun to go through with the burning pains around the trunk of your body. The rash can be so intense that, in some cases, you don’t even want to wear a shirt. You may even suffer for weeks on end with nerve pain after the rash has disappeared.
Have You Ever Had a Case of Shingles Like My Client Did?
My 63-year-old client called me, stating that she was just diagnosed with shingles. She said last week she started with a burning sensation along the right side of her rib cage. She said, “I never experienced anything like it.” Now she has blisters on her rib cage oozing with a burning discharge.
I selected the homeopathic remedy Mezereum 30c to be taken in a Remedy Solution Bottle with 10 succussions several times a day. I told her to repeat Mezereum when the intensity of her skin symptoms increased. I also had her spray Hypericum Tincture water solution on her rib cage to help soothe the rash. A few days later, my client reported that she is not getting any new eruptions, and the eruptions she has are improving. The intensity of the burning and itching is 75% improved. Several days later, my client called back to say all of her shingles eruptions were gone.
What is Shingles?
Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a viral infection that causes a painful rash or blisters on the skin (i.e., the trunk of the body, face), caused by the reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus (VZV). Varicella-zoster is the same virus that causes chickenpox (varicella). When you had chickenpox as a child, your body fights off the varicella-zoster virus (VZV), and the physical signs of chickenpox fade away, but the virus always remains in your body. In adulthood, sometimes the virus becomes active again. This time, the varicella-zoster virus makes its second appearance in the form of shingles. I have seen those who did not have a good bout of chickenpox are more than likely to have shingles later on in life.
What Does the Shingles Rash Look Like?
The shingles rash most often appears as a single stripe of blisters that wraps on either the left or the right side of your torso (one side of the body) relating to one or more sensory nerves, usually around the rib cage (intercostals). The shingles rash can occur around one eye or on one side of the neck, face (i.e., forehead), scalp, abdomen, and shoulder. Occasionally the blisters can be inside the mouth or ears and affect the genital area. Sometimes you can have shingle pain without rash or rash without pain, most often in children.
Listed below is the natural progression of shingles:
- 2-4 days before shingles start, you may feel quite unwell with fever, headache, and tiredness. Your lymph nodes may be enlarged and tender.
- Before the rash appears, you will have intense pain, burning, numbness, tingling, or itching in the area where the rash (blisters) will develop. The pain may be just in one spot, or it may spread out.
- 1-3 days later, after the onset of pain, a red rash with blisters, starts to appear in the painful area of your skin. You will continue getting new blisters for several days within the area where you are experiencing intense pain of the affected nerve.
- In the next 5-6 days, your blisters break open and discharge a clear fluid, and then dry up and form a crusty scab. The scabs leave a scar that is sensitive to touch.
- The pain and your general symptoms subside gradually as the eruption disappears. In uncomplicated cases, the recovery is complete within 2–3 weeks in children and young adults and 3–4 weeks in older people.
Do Your Shingles Eruptions Have a Blue Tinge?
My 75-year-old client called to tell me he has large shingle blisters all around the trunk of his body. I asked him what color are the blisters. He stated the blisters have a slight bluish tinge, burn and are worse with anything touching his back; they are that sensitive. He can’t even put a shirt on; they are that painful. I had him take the homeopathic remedy Ranunculus Bulbus 30c in a Remedy Solution Bottle. I told him to take a dose of Ranunculus Bulbus 30c with 10 succussions and repeat the remedy when the intensity of the symptoms increases again approximately every 3-5 hours. He called back several days later, stating the trunk of his body was feeling better. The eruptions have almost disappeared. He is finally able to wear a shirt again.
How Common is Shingles?
Herpes zoster (shingles) is the most painful herpes, especially in older people whom are weak and frail. More than 1 million cases are diagnosed as shingles every year. The risk of shingles increases the older you get, with about half the cases occurring in people over 50.
Have You Ever had Shingles in Your Eye?
My client called up, stating she has pain on the right side of her head (face, nose, eyebrow, and mouth). Her skin burns from a rash, and her right eye is hurting and is red, puffy, and bloodshot. The doctor said she has shingles, even in the right eye. The burning pains feel raw and move around to various spots on her head. The head kind of feels like she got sunburn on it. She has chills, and is exhausted. She stated her burning pains feel better when she applies cold water on them. I asked her if her pain feels worse with drafts. Yes, she replied. I put her on the homeopathic remedy Cantharis 30c in a Remedy Solution Bottle to take once a day with 10 succussions for her shingles. I also had her take the homeopathic remedy Apis 200c in a Remedy Solution Bottle with 10 succussions 3 times a day for her puffy eye.
A couple of days later, she called to tell me that her burning skin was not as raw, and her puffy eye was back to normal. I had her stop the Apis since her eye is not swollen anymore and continue taking Cantharis 200c with 10 succussions once a day. If her burning sensation does not improve anymore in the next couple of days, increase her succussions on the Cantharis to 12 succussions.
What Causes Shingles?
After primary infection (chickenpox), the Varicella Zoster Virus remains dormant in the dorsal root ganglia nerve cells in your spine for years until something triggers the virus and travels down your sensory nerves to the skin to cause shingles (herpes zoster). Your immune system becomes weakened from a trigger, and you will develop the shingle rash in time.
- Stress – Emotional such as a sudden shock, death of a loved one, chronic work or life stress
- Pressure on your nerve roots (spinal)
- Spinal surgery
- An infection
- An injury (not necessarily to the spine)
- Contact with someone with varicella or herpes zoster
- Radiation or chemotherapy
- After exposure to small pox or from suppressed chickenpox
Is Shingles Contagious?
You can’t spread shingles to another person, but they can spread chickenpox before your shingles blisters develop and after they have dried and crusted. The varicella-zoster virus is spread through direct skin-to-skin contact with the fluid that oozes from the blisters.
Preventing Shingles Virus from Spreading
- Do not touch or scratch the rash, especially before it has dried and crusted
- Cover the rash with a loose dressing
- Wash hands frequently
Should You Avoid Contact with Shingles?
You want to stay away from the following people:
- Those (i.e., children) who haven’t had chickenpox when your rash is in the blister stage
- Pregnant people who have never had chickenpox – getting chickenpox develops during pregnancy and before birth; it can be dangerous for the fetus
- Someone with a weakened immune system, such as
- Infants born early or with a low birth weight
- Someone with HIV, leukemia, lymphoma, or other health issues that have this immune effect
- Those that take immunosuppressant medications, such as chemotherapy
- Someone who has had any organ transplants
Complications from Shingles (Postherpetic Neuralgia)
Do You Suffer from Postherpetic Neuralgia?
A woman called me to ask me if I could help her with a homeopathic remedy for the postherpetic neuralgia she has had for the past 5 months; since her shingles outbreak. Yes, a homeopathic remedy can help your postherpetic neuralgia. I said I need to ask you some questions to help me select a homeopathic remedy. I asked her to describe what she was experiencing. She stated she doesn’t have any eruptions anymore. I have an intense numb and tingling sensation on the left side of my ribs, where I had the shingles. I had her take the homeopathic remedy Zincum Metallicum 30c in a Remedy Solution Bottle with 10 succussions once a day. She called me a week later to tell me her numb and tingling sensation is over 50% better. I told her to continue taking Zincum Metallicum until she no longer had the sensations.
You can have Complications from Shingles After the Rash is Gone, Such as:
- Pain where you had the shingles outbreak
- Brain inflammation or facial paralysis if the rash affected certain nerves
- Eye problems and vision loss if your rash was in or around your eye
Pain that lasts long after the outbreak is called Postherpetic Neuralgia (PHN), and it affects 1 in 5 people who get shingles. Postherpetic neuralgia occurs if your nerve fibers are damaged during an outbreak of shingles, and the damaged fibers can’t send messages from your skin to your brain. The condition ends up sending confused and exaggerated messages to your nerve fibers and skin, causing a burning, numbness, or tingling pain that lasts long after your rash and blisters of shingles disappear. The postherpetic neuralgic pain usually occurs on your skin where the shingles outbreak occurred.
Postherpetic neuralgia can last for weeks, months, or in some people, years after the shingles rash goes away. In most cases, postherpetic neuralgia pain goes away in 1 to 3 months.
Postherpetic Neuralgia Symptoms
- Pain that lasts three months or longer after the shingles rash has healed, such as burning, sharp, jabbing, or deep aching.
- Pain sensitivity to light touch (i.e., clothing)
- Itching, numbness, and tingling
Homeopathic Remedies for Shingles
You want to select a 30c or 200c homeopathic remedy according to what your blisters look like and what makes the sensation feel better or worse (i.e., hot, cold). The selected homeopathic remedy will be administered 1-3 times a day when the intensity of your symptoms becomes worse.
- Arsenicum Album – Selected for chronic cases of shingles and postherpetic neuralgia. The blisters have an intense burning sensation, with the blisters discharging an offensive matter. The burning blister feels better with a heat compress. You will also be very restless from the shingles. It can be used for persistent neuralgic pains after shingles blisters are gone.
- Cantharis – Your blister has a severe burning pain as if they are on fire and feel better with a
- cold compress on them. The blisters are worse from a draft.
- Mezereum – The blister itches and burns when scratched and has pain along the sensory nerves along the rib cage (inter-coastal pains). The skin feels like millions of insects crawling all over it. The eruptions can bleed from scratching and has an intolerable itching. The blister oozes acrid, gluey moisture. That later forms thick crusts, and the scabs have pus underneath the scabs. The blisters are worse from warmth, in bed, a cool draft, and touch. Mezereum can be used for post shingles (postherpetic neuralgia) cases where the neuralgia lasts a long time.
- Ranunculus Bulbous – The large blisters have an intense burning sensation and are filled with serum. The blisters have a burning sensation with intense itching. Blisters are dark blue and form clusters of blisters. The pain is along the rib cage (inter-coastal pains). The blister pain is worse from the inspiration (breathing in) of the chest and is sensitive to touch and contact (clothing). It can be used for persistent neuralgic pains after shingles blisters are gone.
- Rhus Toxicodendron – Rheumatic pains accompany the blisters. The blisters are swollen, itch, burn, and have a red base—the eruption’s sting like insects stinging the skin. The skin feels tight from the eruptions on the rib cage. It can be selected for when you still have neuralgic pains after the eruptions have healed up (postherpetic shingles). The pains are worse at night, with damp weather, and feel better with heat.
- Antimonium Crudum– The eruptions have dark or black crusts worse from cold water. Your tongue has a thickly white coating. Antimonium Crudum is for shingles that are associated with gastric stomach derangements (digestive symptoms).
- Sulphur- The eruptions are worse heat, bathing, from itching, and burning from the heat of bed.
- Prunus Spinosa– This remedy is used for shingles with swelling, and the pain is intolerable. The eruptions are worse touch and motion, and you must walk carefully.
- Iris Versicolor– The shingles are pustular eruptions and have digestive symptoms. The eruptions itch intensely at night. They feel better with gentle continued movement. The pustular eruptions are worse every Spring and Autumn.
- Zincum Metallicum – Used for neuralgic pains after the eruptions are gone (postherpetic neuralgia) with numbness, tingling formication (sensation of bugs crawling on the skin) feeling.
- Variolinum – This is a homeopathic remedy used when well-chosen homeopathic remedies stop working or do not work for shingles. This remedy is selected and administered as a last resort by a qualified homeopath.
Topicals Applied on Shingles
You can also apply castor oil or Hypericum Tincture on your shingles to help soothe the nerve pain in conjunction with taking a homeopathic remedy to address the eruptions.
- Castor Oil Packs – When your shingles feel better with heat, apply a castor oil pack to the area.
- Hypericum Topical (St. John’s Wort Tincture) – Add 5-10 drops of Hypericum tincture to 2-4 ounces of water in a spray bottle. Spray onto shingles rash to soothe nerve endings.
The Bottom Line: There is no need for you to suffer from shingles when you take a homeopathic remedy 1-3 times a day to address your symptoms (i.e., pain, itching, numbness, or tingling). You will see results in your shingle symptoms by the next day and in some cases after 1-2 doses of your remedy.
A homeopathic remedy addresses the herpes zoster virus in your body. I have found shingles blisters gone in half the time as opposed to when you take allopathic medications when taking a homeopathic remedy. In some cases, you may need to address what triggered the shingles outbreak (i.e., emotional stressor) to completely rid of shingles.