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"All Your Health Questions Answered Naturally" by Maureen
Adults relieved to have endured chicken pox as a child are dismayed to discover it coming back to haunt them in the form of shingles, an extremely uncomfortable and sometimes painful viral infection. Apparently, adults who have had chicken pox still carry the virus (called varicella-zoster), which cluster together in the spinal nerves (for the scientifically inclined: dorsal-root ganglia). The virus then sits, dormant until the body's immune system is lowered sufficiently for the virus to multiply.
Shingles is a process, not just a result. How bad it gets depends on the extent by which the body's immune system is lowered. Think of your body as the starship Enterprise. (You don't have to be a Trekkie to understand this concept.) When you are at your peak in defense capability, your shields are up, at 100 percent power. If you eat poorly, don't get enough sleep and don't exercise, your shields are at, maybe, 40 percent. When your shields are lowered, dormant viruses like the varicella-zoster can infiltrate your engineering. The first sign of a shingles attack can be isolated pain or numbness in or under the skin, or a "shooting" pain around the hip, arm or leg. Next might come flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache and upset stomach. Shingles is usually diagnosed when the next step occurs: a rash on the skin, characteristically in a band on one side of the body, back or face. The rash then turns into small round fluid-filled blisters which crust, scab and heal within a few weeks. The technical name for shingles is herpes zoster. If you happen to know Greek, you're one step closer to knowing what and why shingles happens. "Zoster" is Greek for girdle, describing how the blisters "girdle" the body; and "herpes" means virus. This type of herpes is not contagious, at least not as shingles. It can however trasmit chicken pox to those who've never had it. If you're lucky, and your shields are at maybe 60 percent, you won't get the worst stage of this disorder, post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN). It sounds serious, but it doesn't have to be. An estimated 9 to 15 percent of people with shingles get this chronic pain syndrome. PHN pain is an epidermal ambiguity. When a pinprick is applied to the affected area, only numbness is described. And yet light pressure can cause severe pain, especially in the case of neuralgia on the face and head. Even a light wind blowing on the face can cause intense pain. Itching can be another symptom. About 50 percent of shingles patients over 60 years of age are at risk for PHN, which experts believe is caused by damage to the nerve endings where the virus begins. In younger patients, PHN generally subsides as the rash goes away. Patients over 40 to 50 years of age, however, are at risk for chronic, long-lasting pain. Over 50 percent of those over age 60 will have pain lasting more than one month after the rash has healed. Watch out for conventional medical therapies that purposely lower your immune system, leaving you susceptible to shingles, like chemotherapy, radiation therapy and certain drugs. Shingles has been found to occur most often in people over the age of 50 and may be activated through surgery or x-ray therapy to the spinal cord and its roots. In those under 50, it is sometimes caused by immunosuppressant drugs given to transplant patients to prevent organ rejection or by cancer treatments.
You have shingles. What do you do now? The first step
is to concentrate on your immune system. To bring your
immune system to 100 percent take Vitamin
C with Bioflavinoids until bowel tolerance. The
New York Journal of Dentistry reported on a study in
which plaque accumulation was measured among subjects
all brushing well, some supplementing with vitamin
C, some not. The findings determined that those
supplementing with vitamin
C actually had less tartar and bacteria than those
only brushing. The study found that when the subjects
took vitamin C inflamation of bacteria was reduced 58
percent! How does vitamin C perform its magic? By
increasing the numbers of the antibody warriors that
come to our defense when infection sets in. Dr. Robert
Cathcart, a California physician, has successfully
treated over 15,000 patients with massive doses of
vitamin C; curing viral pneumonia, mononucleosis,
influenza, colds, hepatitis, shingles, and cold sores
with this method. He has developed a
PEPPERS FOR PAIN
Hot peppers may make your mouth burn, but in a concentrated form their extract, called capsaicin, has the opposite effect on the pain of post herpetic neuralgia - the pain the lingers after the sores have healed. Drs. Wright and Gaby recommend 1,200 IU of capsaicin a day for prevention and/or treatment of post herpetic neuralgia. A cream composed of capsaicin uses as much as 1,000 pounds of peppers to obtain an ounce of capsaicin powder. Capsaicin relieves burning pain because it affects certain types of nerve fibers. According to Joan Hoffman, a researcher at the center, it thwarts a natural body chemical known as substance P that the body uses to send certain pain messages to the brain. When the cream is applied, it stops substance P from sending its impulses.
MAKE YOURSELF COMFORTABLE
In the meantime, here's what you can do to make yourself comfortable, and avoid being one of the nine percent who get herpetic neuralgia. Try this make-it-yourself salve that can bring almont instant relief to the discomfort or pain of shingles. Here is the recipe: to zinc oxide ointment, an over-the-counter product, add an equal amount of aloe vera gel, and the contents of one 1,000 IU capsule of natural vitamin E (d-alpha tocopherol, NOT DL-alpha tocopherol). Mix it together and apply it to the blisters. Since receiving his advice, I've seen this used successfully on a myriad of skin problems ranging from bed sores to chicken pox.
THE B12 BOMBER
When anyone tells me they have shingles I tell them this: take three ccs of vitamin B12, three times a day, three days in a row. It's that simple, and it's that effective. I have seen it work for many of my friends, including actress Kathryn Grayson. Kathryn had shingles for months, and was miserable. I told her about the B12 regimen and three days later she was returning to me with the good news and a hug. She has very fair, beautiful, lineless skin so I recommended the zinc salve to clear up the blister scars that were left. Don't just take my word for it. Many doctors have also found vitamin B12 to be effective against shingles. Researchers A.K. Gupta and H.S. Mital, both medical doctors, revealed in the India Practitioner their successful method of managing herpes zoster. They use a daily injection of 50 micrograms of vitamin B12! By the second or third day of treatment, 21 shingles patients made dramatic gains in relief from pain and saw their rashes drying up. Further, none of the patients developed neuralgia. Vitamin B12 is a nutrient important to healthy nerves, memory, emotional stability and energy. It is absolutely essential to the aging body.
DON'T STRESS IT
However, B12 requires a substance in the stomach to grab onto for it to be assimilated. During times of stress, this factor often is missing, so B12 will not be absorbed. That's why it is usually taken as a shot. Drinking B12 in solution, from my observation, does the same thing. In any event, the injection would be far more potent, because it bypasses the stomach and intestinal tract, which exact their toll from nutrients passing through. One way to tell if you are B12 deficient is if you are Northern European and don't have rosy cheeks. B12 in solution brings the rosiness back in mine.
WHILE YOU WAIT
Following your initial shingles outbreak, there is much
you can do to keep it from getting worse, and to deal
with the symptoms as you get them. First, do what it
takes to boost your body's defense capability. East as
much raw fruits and vegetables as possible, concetrate
on complex carbohydrates such as lentils and beans, eat
only whole grains, and avoid processed foods, especially
white flour and sugar. Molasses and real maple syrup are
good sugar substitutes and also nutritious. Now that
you're confident your body is doing all it can, think
about what you can do for your symptoms. You can treat
shingles sores by applying cool compresses of chamomile,
- it feels so good! Try calamine lotion, cornstarch or
baking soda to hasten the drying of the shingles sores.
Ointments should be avoided, though, and creams
containing corticosteroids should not be used. After the
acute phase, use the zinc oxide, vitamin E and aloe vera
recipe to soften and separate the crusts,
Hanna Kroeger's vibropathic - Shingle