According to Wikipedia, Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a viral disease characterised by a painful skin rash with blisters in a localised area.
Two to four days before the rash occurs there may be tingling or local pain in the area. Otherwise, there are typically few symptoms though some patients may have fever or headache, or feel tired.
The rash usually heals within two to four weeks; however, some people develop ongoing nerve pain which can last for months or years.
Shingles should be medically diagnosed and treated, but…
What can you do naturally as well?
As with all viruses we want to support the immune system and reduce inflammation, but specifically with Shingles, we want to also support the nerves.
St John’s Wort, hypericum perforatum, is our first consideration.
St John’s Wort has the following medicinal actions:
- Nervine tonic
It’s great herb for supporting nerve function.
Siberian Ginseng – Eleutherococcus senticosus
Another herb to consider is Siberian Ginseng. It has the following medicinal actions:
- Adaptogen & general tonic
- immuno-modulator & stimulant,
For more actions click here.
Turmeric – Curcuma longa
Our third consideration is turmeric, part of the ginger family, it has the following medicinal actions which also may be helpful in supporting the body through Shingles:
- Liver trophorestorative
For more actions click here.
For good immune health, it’s essential to eat adequate protein, to be able to digest it well and to ensure a broad range of amino acids are included by eating a range of protein-containing foods.
Ideally, a variety and meat, organ meats, fish and seafood should be eaten for the full spectrum of amino acids. This also ensures you consume adequate vitamin D and vitamin A as these are naturally sourced from animal foods.
Vitmin D and Vitamin A
These essential nutrients are found in animal fats such as butter, liver and dairy products. A small amount of cod liver oil daily is an excellent supplement for supporting the nervous and immune systems.
Antioxidant Rich Foods
Foods found in a whole food diet such as vibrantly coloured fruits and vegetables help to support a healthy immune system. Antioxidant rich foods contain phytochemicals that are an important part of the body’s defence against infection.
For a vital and flourishing immune system it’s best to avoid sugar (but you knew that already!), excessive or chronic use of caffeine and, most importantly, preservatives, colouring and additives.
As the immune system is so important to our health and wellbeing and indeed, our survival, it makes sense that we need to be focusing on the nutrient density of our food.
Key vitamins for helping the body deal with viruses like Shingles include:
- As already mentioned, vitamin A & D
- All of the B vitamins
- Vitamin C because we know of its important role in immunity
- Vitamin E
I prefer them all in food form where possible so, gain, a nutrient-dense whole food traditional diet is best.
Other considerations include selenium and zinc, both essential elements that are highly important in immunity.
ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS
EFAs found in fish oil regulate immune cell function. That’s why I’m a big fan of cod liver oil as it includes EFAs, vitamin A and vitamin D in one beautiful package, all in the right ratios.
MY FINAL COMMENT
The last thing I’d like to mention is the importance of adequate hydration. Even though it’s so simple, it’s essential for a healthy body so keep up the water!
Brenda Rogers is a naturopath, nutritionist and herbalist based in Sydney, Australia.