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Herpes Zoster (Shingles)

Herpes zoster (commonly known as shingles) is a viral infection that causes extremely painful blisterlike eruptions to break out along the course of nerves. After a period of fever and malaise, the eruptions appear on parts of the ribcage area (back, sides, or abdomen) or sometimes on the face. Homeopathic remedies are often very helpful for pain relief and recovery. Outbreaks near the eyes require medical attention.

For dosage information, please read the information at the end of this section. See also “Using Homeopathy With Professional Guidance” in What Is Homeopathy?

Arsenicum album: If a person feels chilly, anxious, restless, and exhausted during fever—and the burning pain of the eruptions is relieved by heat—this remedy may be indicated. Discomfort is often worse around midnight.

Apis mellifica: Swollen, tender eruptions with burning, stinging pain and itching suggest a need for this remedy. Symptoms are aggravated by warmth, and relieved by cold applications or exposure to cool air. The person may be irritable and very sensitive to touch.

Clematix: Red, burning, blisterlike eruptions with terrible itching, worse from washing or contact with cold water, may indicate a need for this remedy. The person feels worse at night and from the warmth of bed—being better in open air. People who need this remedy may also have a tendency toward genito-urinary conditions.

Iris versicolor: This remedy is often helpful for herpes zoster infection that is accompanied by stomach problems with burning sensations and nausea. Eruptions may appear especially on the right side of the abdomen.

Mezereum: When this remedy is indicated, intense burning is followed by bright red eruptions that itch intolerably. The local pain of the eruptions is worse from heat and relieved by cold applications, and cool fresh air is soothing—although the person is chilly in general and worse from getting cold.

Ranunculus bulbosus: This remedy is indicated for intensely itching shingles on the ribcage (either on the back or chest), which are also very sore, and worse from contact with clothing or any kind of touch. The blisters may look bluish. The person may feel worse from alcoholic beverages, and from exposure to cold air.

Rhus toxicodendron: This remedy may be indicated for a rash that begins with many small blisters, is red and intensely itchy, and is relieved by hot baths or hot wet compresses. Restlessness makes the person want to pace the room or constantly move around.

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Homeopathy Dosage Directions

Select the remedy that most closely matches the symptoms. In conditions where self-treatment is appropriate, unless otherwise directed by a physician, a lower potency (6X, 6C, 12X, 12C, 30X, or 30C) should be used. In addition, instructions for use are usually printed on the label.

Many homeopathic physicians suggest that remedies be used as follows: Take one dose and wait for a response. If improvement is seen, continue to wait and let the remedy work. If improvement lags significantly or has clearly stopped, another dose may be taken. The frequency of dosage varies with the condition and the individual. Sometimes a dose may be required several times an hour; other times a dose may be indicated several times a day; and in some situations, one dose per day (or less) can be sufficient.

If no response is seen within a reasonable amount of time, select a different remedy.

For more information, including references, see What is Homeopathy? and Understanding Homeopathic Potencies.

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The information presented in Healthnotes Online is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over-the-counter medication is also available. Consult your physician, nutritionally oriented healthcare practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications.

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