SHINGLES the Herpes Virus Strikes Again


A diagnosis of shingles is not something to take lightly. Your doctor will tell you that this stubborn virus can cause illness for several weeks to months and can cause blindness, if it affects the eyes. Shingles are caused by the herpes varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. When we get chickenpox as a child all of the virus may not be destroyed by our immune system and it may lie dormant in the nerves of the skin for decades, only to emerge as shingles when we get older. It is generally seen in people who are immune-compromised, under too much stress or those who have been exposed to the chickenpox virus again.

This infection of the central nervous system begins with fatigue, fever and the affected skin may be very sensitive to touch. Blisters on the skin begin to form around the fourth or fifth day of infection and run along a nerve path generally in patches that look like a branch of a tree. It most often occurs on the trunk area and chest but can also be found on the face. It is an extremely painful condition. Often the elderly will experience chronic pain for months to years. Patients diagnosed with shingles are prescribed a narcotic for pain relief and the antiviral drug aclovir and sent home to endure the virus for six weeks. Good solid research into alternative treatments for shingles shows that complete recovery in less than one week can be obtained with the blisters and pain disappearing in three days.

Remember that shingles is a serious illness and requires a physician's care along with the following recommendations. If the eyes are involved, this is an emergency situation and an ophthalmologist should be consulted immediately. It is shameful that people have to suffer needlessly because they do not have access to some of the important research in alternative treatments. Any treatment regimen for shingles or other herpes viruses should include an excellent diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables and homemade soup. No sugar should be consumed because it stops one's natural killer cells from fighting the virus. Four nutrients from the following recommendations are key to fighting the herpes virus. Plenty of solid research has evaluated their effectiveness at fighting shingles; they include vitamin E, vitamin B12, vitamin C and plant sterols and sterolins.

Vitamin B12
Dr. Melvyne Werbach, in his book Nutritional Influences on Illness, reports that in a research study 21 patients suffering with herpes zoster showed a dramatic improvement in symptoms. By the second or third day of treatment, using 1 mg injection of B 12 per day, their pain was relieved and blisters rapidly disappeared. In a paper published in the journal Geriatrics researchers recommended using 1 mg of vitamin B12 injected daily for six days and weekly for six weeks to treat the pain associated with herpes zoster. Pain reduction occurred in two days, even in post-pain syndrome that had continued for months to years. Vitamin B 12 taken in sublingual form has been found to shorten the duration of herpes outbreaks and reduce pain.

Vitamin E
In another experimental study published in the Archives of Dermatology, 13 patients with chronic pain caused by shingles received 1200-1600 IU of vitamin E daily before meals. Nine of the 13 experienced complete or almost complete control of pain. Two were moderately improved and two were slightly improved. Two of the patients who gained complete pain remission had been suffering with post-pain syndrome from shingles for 13 to 19 years respectively. This is amazing. If you have been putting up with post-pain from the herpes zoster virus, adopt the protocol immediately and suggest to your doctor that he/she become familiar with this landmark study.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C is so effective at halting herpes viruses that on initial diagnosis of shingles or outbreak of cold sores patients should immediately start taking it. Most of the published research behind vitamin C and herpes involves intravenous treatment and dates back as early as 1950. In one early study 327 patients suffering with herpes zoster were all cured following three days of intravenous vitamin C, seven reported complete cessation of pain within two hours of the first treatment and they also showed drying of the blisters within one day and complete clearing within three days of treatment. Intravenous vitamin c is much more effective than oral vitamin C to treat an acute or new outbreak of shingles but if you don't have a doctor willing to perform the treatment, take vitamin c in gram doses until relief is obtained. Vitamin c is a potent virus fighter and only 18 percent of North Americans actually get adequate vitamin c in their daily diet. We are deficient in this important vitamin.

The Immune Arsenal Should Destroy Herpes
All natural treatments to date have looked at ways of dealing with the virus once it becomes active or finding ways to keep the virus dormant. Effective treatment should focus on repairing immune dysfunction to destroy herpes. If our immune system is doing its job, the herpes virus would not be able to get inside our cells and wreak havoc. Under normal conditions a healthy immune system would destroy the virus before it had a chance to cause symptoms. Our front line defense warriors should eliminate the virus, halting it from getting inside our cells. If herpes is victorious and has made it inside our cells, then the cytotoxic T cells, the most voracious killers, are supposed to destroy those virus-infected cells. Also, our immune system makes immune factors that halt the virus from replicating so that more virus cannot be produced. If the immune system's army is in perfect working order, we should not get herpes in the first place and if we do succumb, our immune system should destroy herpes so we do not have to suffer the virus again. Exciting research using sterols and sterolins has found that these simple plant nutrients are effective at enhancing our cytotoxic T cells and immune factors to destroy the virus forever.

Sterols and sterolins are the missing key. Research performed over the last several decades has found that sterols and sterolins increase natural killer cells, the first warriors to attack herpes. As well, sterols and sterolins increase cytotoxic T cell activity, gamma interferon and interleukin-2, important for destroying the virus if it manages to get inside our cells. Cytotoxic T cell enhancement is especially important when fighting herpes because we want these cells to seek out and destroy the cells that contain herpes so we are no longer affected by this annoying virus. Sterols and sterolins are able to improve immune function and kill the virus. It only takes sterols and sterolins a matter of weeks to several months to totally destroy the virus and normalize immune function.

Plant Sterols the Missing Key in the Battle of Herpes Viruses
If you are like most people who have herpes outbreaks, commonly called cold sores, you have tried every treatment available with varying degrees of success. Your repertoire of virus fighters may-include lysine, licorice root, homeopathic medicines, mega doses of vitamins, avoiding the sun, stress reduction techniques and more. While all of these treatments help to keep herpes under control, none of them eliminate the virus. New research has shown that a simple plant nutrient has the ability to enhance the cells of our immune system that seek and destroy herpes virus-infected cells, thereby eliminating the virus completely.

There are several types of herpes virus. Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is responsible for a recurrent viral infection that causes outbreaks on any area of the body, particularly the mouth or genitals. Herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) usually causes cold sores while herpes simplex type 2 (HSV-2) causes genital herpes. Herpes zoster causes chickenpox and shingles. Herpes outbreaks appear as single or multiple clusters of small fluid-filled blisters. These blisters then burst, leaving painful ulcers that can take weeks to heal. After the first outbreak the virus becomes dormant, hiding from our immune system waiting for another opportunity to erupt. Emotional, physical, environmental or nutritional stress can reactivate the virus, causing another outbreak. Over 60 percent of those infected with herpes virus will have reoccurring outbreaks of herpes. While one person may only have one or two outbreaks per year, others are plagued by his infectious, painful and sometimes dangerous virus several times per month.

Vitamin C to bowel tolerance
How much is too much vitamin C? Robert Cathcart, M.D. states that each individual has his or her own vitamin C limit, which is determined by stress, nutritional status and current state of health. To determine your personal vitamin C requirements, start taking gram doses of vitamin C (as mineral ascorbates) until your bowels become loose, then cut back until your bowel movements are normal. This is your personal vitamin C requirement. Depending on your health and lifestyle choices, this level may fluctuate from day to day or week to week.

The following three-day program is recommended for anyone who has just been diagnosed with shingles or if you have post-pain from shingles or if you have just developed a cold sore or an outbreak of genital herpes:

200 mg of buffered vitamin C every hour for three days then 1000-3000 mg per day for maintenance.
1000 mcg injection of B12 (or 500 mcg sublingual B12 every hour) for three days then 100 mcg sublingual per day thereafter.
2 capsules plant sterols and sterolins three times per day for one week and one capsule three times per day thereafter to ensure your immune army destroys all viruses.
400 IU vitamin E three times per day for three days and then 400 IU per day for optimal health.
40 drops echinacea tincture three times per day for three days then stop.
Homeopathic Rhus Tox 12C, three pellets three times per day for one week.
Topical tea tree oil ointment (not the undiluted oil) or licorice root gel applied to the blisters as needed.
Topical tea tree oil ointment and licorice root gel are very soothing to the skin. Shingles are so painful that the pressure of a person's clothing or the sheets on the bed cause extreme discomfort. Topical relief of pain and itching is also found when using these ointments for cold sores or genital herpes.

By day three a general feeling of well-being should have returned, lymph gland swelling decreased, the blisters will only be a red rash with no crusting and most importantly, the pain will have diminished. If you do not have a naturopath or a medical doctor that can give you the injections of vitamin B12, then take 500 mcg of vitamin B12 every hour during the day for three days. Many research studies have shown complete remission of the virus in a matter of days following the regimen mentioned above.

Tell everyone you know about this treatment. Shingles are very painful and can last many months to years. Halting or reducing someone's suffering is at our fingertips.


Werbach, Melvyn R., Nutritional Influences on Illness, A sourcebook of clinical research. Third Line Press, 1987.

Burton Goldberg Group. Alternative Medicine. Future Medicine Publishing, 1993.

Bouic, Ph.D. Patrick J. D. and Vanderhaeghe, L. R. The Immune System Cure. Prentice Hall, Canada, 1999.


By Lorna Vanderhaeghe

Lorna Vanderhaeghe has been researching and writing on the subject of nutritional medicine for 17 years. Lorna worked under the direction of Dr. Abram Hoffer at the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine for five years. She is the former editor-in-chief of Healthy Living Guide and Alive magazine and the author of the award-winning book, The Immune System Cure, published by Kensington Books.


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