Shingles is an acute inflammation of the nerves caused by the Varicella-Zoster virus, accompanied by pain and burning over small or large parts of the body.

Fever and chills precede the attack. Then blisters develop around the upper part of the body, after which painful nerves remain irritated for several weeks. Areas affected include hands, neck, face, chest, limbs, and especially the rib area.

Initially, there is an itching or sensitivity in the area of attack, followed by a rash with small raised spots that turn into blisters. These blisters are filled with viral organisms. They are very itchy and extremely painful,often feeling like severe burns. The blisters dry out and leave scabs that eventually fall off, leaving behind scars. Unfortunately, this is not the end of the attack. The pain that lingers can be severe and last for months or even years because it is caused by nerve damage. Shingles that occur on the face or eye area are far more serious because of the possibility of blindness or facial paralysis.

Chronic or prolonged periods of stress compromise immunity, thus allowing the Varicella-Zoster virus (which causes chicken pox) to reemerge as shingles. Other triggers include physical stress to the point of exhaustion, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, and anticancer drugs.

Dietary considerations
Consider a juicing program for three to five days, followed by eating plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit. Avoid immune-suppressing substances, such as sugar, caffeine, alcohol, white flour, nicotine, and animal fats. Add fiber to your diet, and drink plenty of water.

Supplement support for shingles
• L-lysine, to inhibit the spread of the disease
• Vitamin B 12 , to promote healing
• St. John’s wort, an antiviral
• Beta-carotene, to enhance immunity
• Vitamin E, to promote healing
• Echinacea, to boosts immunity; also includes antiviral properties
• Pau d’arco, to cleanse the blood and strengthen the liver
• Glucosamine cream
• Reishi, maitake, and shiitake mushrooms, to boost immunity
• Passionflower, which calms the nerves
• Hops, which calms the nerves
• Valerian root, which calms the nerves
• A daily green drink

Lifestyle choices
• Apply ice packs to cool and soothe an infected area.
• Avoid further stress.
• Listen to peaceful music.
• Practice deep breathing.
• Take long walks in the early morning.
• Get plenty of rest.
• Have weekly or monthly massage therapy.