Shingles (herpes zoster) is on the rise. Shingles pain can be severe, unrelenting, persistent, and recurrent. The same virus that causes chickenpox triggers shingles. It can lie dormant in your nerves for decades, and then flare up suddenly. While the number of cases of chickenpox has declined due to the vaccine, the rate of shingles has been increasing. Some correlate this trend with proximity to children having received the chicken pox vaccine—perhaps a shedding phenomenon.
The conventional treatment of choice for shingles is antiviral drugs such as Acyclovir. Nearly half of patients still report pain two months after onset, 20% after six months, and sometimes pain can go on for years after the rash has gone away. A shingles vaccine, approved by the FDA in 2006, cuts the chance of getting shingles by half, and is often recommended if you are over 60. As homeopaths, we recommend carefully considering the benefits and risks of each vaccine. We have found, often, that homeopathy is a great answer for shingles. Read on!
Here is a case of one of our friends in Chile, Doug, whom we helped this month homeopathy. His relief was quite rapid. This being his first foray into homeopathy, he was positively impressed.
Doug, a 58-year-old, sincere, hardworking, problem-solving, biodynamic gardener was really suffering. The intense pain, which had begun two weeks earlier, came on after a very disappointing harvest. It extended from his mid back down to the ribs. It was very uncomfortable to take a deep breath. “Super-sensitized” was how Doug described what he felt. So sensitized that he was acutely aware of his tee shirt next to his skin. He complained of some itching, but mainly the rib pain. His normal high energy had plummeted to the point where he needed to take naps. Doug’s upper chest and ribcage felt very tight, causing him to slouch. Doug’s pain hit him in waves. Sleep was tough and lying on his back was impossible and changing positions in bed was rough. Doug noted that he had experienced chicken pox as a child. Acupuncture helped partially.
We prescribed for Doug one of best-known homeopathic remedies for shingles: Ranunculus bulbosa (buttercup). It happens to be a stubborn weed here in our Chilean flower gardens. But it sure didn’t feel like a weed to Doug! We gave him one dose of a1M potency.
Within four days all of the blisters had dried up and the old skin was flaking off. The skin was now rosy rather than red. The discomfort was diminishing. Doug’s report two weeks after taking the Ranunculus: “The blisters are gone. All scabbed over. 95% of the scabs have fallen off. I have no discomfort at all.” It is too early to say whether Doug will have a recurrence, but hopefully not, given his rapid recovery.
The other common remedy for shingles is Rhus tox (poison ivy). Those needing this remedy typically complain of intense, incessant itching. They may also feel joint stiffness, which is better from stretching and moving around.
Heads up: if you hear of someone suffering from shingles, let them know right away about homeopathy!