Every year, a million new cases of herpes zoster, better known as shingles, are diagnosed in the U.S. This condition, which will affect roughly one in three Americans during their lifetimes, typically begins with numbness, tingling or itching on one side of the head or body along the nerve lines and eventually progresses into a blistering, oozing, painful rash.
Many folks are also plagued with postherpetic neuralgia (PHN)—unrelenting nerve pain that can linger for years after an initial shingles attack. PHN symptoms vary in severity from tenderness in the affected area to shooting, stabbing, throbbing pain or numbness and tingling along the nerve lines. Other serious shingles complications include skin infections, vision and hearing problems, facial paralysis and muscle weakness.
If you look to your conventional doctor for treating shingles, don’t be surprised if you get a prescription for an antiviral, anti-seizure, antidepressant or opiate medication. These are the go-to drugs for treating shingles and PHN. But these prescription meds are rife with dangerous side effects and contraindications, which makes it difficult for many patients to take them. And because they only mask pain and other symptoms, they aren’t a viable long-term solution for treating shingles.
Instead of conventional therapies, I recommend the following safe, natural, and effective methods for treating shingles instead.
IV Vitamin C and Microcurrent Therapy
Several lab studies have shown that vitamin C inhibits viral replication, so it makes sense that this therapy could ease an episode of shingles. It’s also been noted that patients suffering with PHN have reduced blood levels of vitamin C. (Any time the immune system is stressed, levels of this protective vitamin plummet.) Furthermore, case studies demonstrate that treating shingles with IV vitamin C significantly reduces postherpetic pain and improves patients’ quality of life.
Microcurrent therapy is another option. This safe and simple treatment utilizes extremely low-level electrical currents (microcurrents) to treat nerve and muscle pain, inflammation and other health challenges. Patients with shingles and PHN report significant improvements with microcurrent therapy.
Over-the-Counter Therapies for Treating Shingles
Though I firmly believe that IV vitamin C and microcurrent therapy should be the first-line therapies for treating shingles and PHN, a number of over-the-counter remedies are also helpful.
- High-dose vitamin B12 is a time-honored treatment for shingles.
- The amino acid L-lysine, like vitamin C, inhibits the replication of the herpes zoster virus.
- Another option is a product called Shing-RELEEV (formerly Shingle-EEZE), a blend of antimicrobial and botanical agents that is applied topically to relieve shingles pain.
The suggested daily doses are: 1,000–2,000 mcg of vitamin B12 and 1,500–3,000 mg of L-lysine. Take these supplements in divided doses as soon as symptoms occur; continue until symptoms subside. Shing-RELEEV is sold in drugstores or may be purchased at releev.com. Use as directed.