Why on earth would you take a drug with the following side effects?
Dizziness, sleepiness, eyesight problems, blurry vision, weight gain, swelling of hands and feet, unexplained muscle pain, soreness or weakness along with fever or tired feeling; skin sores, trouble concentrating and dry mouth.
It is hard to imagine a pain so bad that you would trade it for a series of side effects that are not just possible but are likely. The answer is nerve pain. In a magazine advertisement seven of these side effects were described as common for a pharmaceutical drug used as a treatment for Postherpetic Neuralgia (PHN) which is a nerve pain that lingers after a bout of shingles.
Postherpetic Neuralgia is described by the Merck Manual as a “constant deep aching or burning, a sharp or intermittent pain or as hypersensitivity to touch or cold. The pain may be debilitating.” This lingering nerve pain is more likely to occur in the elderly and it often diminishes in time.
Here are some natural alternatives to try before submitting yourself to the toxic side effects of a manufactured pharmaceutical.
Red chilli peppers contain two compounds called salicylates and capsaicin. Both of these chemicals are capable of providing pain relief. Salicylates are aspirin-like compounds that have been used for over 100 years to treat inflammation and pain. Capsaicin is a compound that encourages the production endorphins, the body’s own pain killers. So try consuming more chilli pepper in your diet.
Capsaicin is also used in creams such as Zostrix or Capzasin-P. When applied to the skin capsaicin creams inhibit the transmission of pain by depleting your nerves of a chemical called “substance-P”. These creams are available over the counter and can counteract Postherpetic Neuralgia.
Willow bark, another aspirin-like herb also contains salicin or related salicylates. Use Willow Bark to make a tea. You will need to experiment with the strenth of this tea until you get effective pain relief.
The herbs peppermint and rosemary along with the spice ginger contain compounds that reduce pain. Ginger and the related root turmeric also act to reduce inflammation that causes pain. You can combine peppermint, rosemary, ginger and willow bark to make a pain-relieving tea or drink these teas individually. You can also use such teas as a poultice to apply directly to painful areas.
To be effective as a treatment for inflammation, turmeric must be consumed in larger quantities. As much as 10 grams of ground turmeric may be required. In parts of Asia, turmeric juice mixed with honey is consumed as a daily health tonic and current research indicates that its anti-inflammatory properties may be responsible for the low incident of Alzheimer’s disease in India. This author regularly blends a thumb size piece of fresh turmeric root with enough spring water and the juice of a lemon to make one to two 8-ounce glasses of an effective migraine remedy. This is a strong tasting tonic and it may require a touch honey or agave nectar to make it palatable.
The sedative herb passionflower consumed as a tea can also help with Postherpetic Neuralgia.
Lavendar, eucalyptus and peppermint essential oils are also effective pain killers when applied externally. Essential oils must be mixed with a light vegetable oil before application.
In addition to treating the pain of Postherpetic Neuralgia, one should take care to boost the immune system since it is a weakened immunity that enables the dormant zoster virus to replicate and cause shingles in the first place. After the shingles episode is over and the blisters have healed, Postherpetic Neuralgia may persist because your immune system continues to be depressed. Boost your immune system with vitamin B12, B-Complex, high levels of vitamin C along with bioflavonoids (eat brightly colored fruits and vegetables), and calcium. Herbal supplements to boost immune system include astragalus, echinacea, and fresh ginger tea. Turmeric is also known for boosting the immune system.
As with all medicinal remedies use essential oils, spices and herbs with caution. Start with small amounts to test for allergic reactions. Some herbs, spices and oils are not suitable for use by children or pregnant women. And please consult a trained health practitioner.