If you already have shingles, or if you want to avoid getting it, you might want to turn to natural remedies. But which ones should you choose, and can they play an effective role?
Below are some natural remedies you might find useful. Some support your body in either avoiding the virus entirely or helping eliminate it if already present. And others aid in nerve recovery and repair after your body clears the virus.
First, a short review. Shingles occurs when the chicken pox virus erupts along the surface of your trunk, resulting in skin blisters. It customarily follows a peripheral nerve that passes information from your skin back through your central nervous system and spinal cord. The virus causes pain in the area of your skin supplied by the affected nerve and also pain due to inflammatory nerve alterations. It is this second condition that can continue to cause pain even after your body has cleared the virus.
The following are herbal and nutritional supplements that can first support your body in clearing the virus, followed by those that can assist the nerve to recover.
Support for Clearing the Virus
The effectiveness of the aerial part of the herb Echinacea (rather than the root) has been shown to be effective in warding off viruses, including this one. Apparently it blocks virus receptors on the surface of cells and also supports the body in killing the virus through the production and release of interferon, which can block viral RNA.
This common food has antiviral actions due to its ability to stimulate and support the immune system. It can kill viruses and can protect from invading viruses.
This herb has demonstrated antiviral activities, including that of inhibiting the varicella virus.
This herb restores and enhances immune system activity. Used in Chinese medicine for centuries, it also has the additional advantage of supporting adrenal and cardiovascular functioning.
St. John’s Wort
This herb promotes optimal immune responses, and has the additional advantage of acting to calm nerves and restore nervous system balance, thus it has the potential to reduce nerve pain associated with an outbreak.
B12 Allan Spreen, M.D. recommends 500 mcg per day of B12 as a prevention. He used B12 shots in higher dosages for 3 days when he had an outbreak and that took care of it, he said.
Tai Chi Practice A UCLA study demonstrated that the practice of Tai Chi by older adults doubled their immunity to shingles.
Support for Repairing the Nerves
After clearing the virus, the following are among the remedies for nerve repair:
This is a B vitamin with a somewhat sweet taste; it is the fuel nerves use to fire.
Flax Seed Oil
This is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. The lining, or insulation of the nerves is made from this type of fatty acid.
Schizandra fruit May be helpful in nerve repair and relief from neuralgia.
California Poppy An herb specific for addressing nerve pain.
Damiana leaf is a central nervous system tonic.
Skullcappromotes a tranquilizing effect on the central nervous system.
St. John’s Wort (see above.)
Minerals Nerves Use Nerves use minerals to do their work and also to repair themselves. Those minerals found in kelp and alfalfa are especially effective for these functions.