“Hello, can you help me, please?” said the male voice on the phone. “My nerve endings on my chest are on fire! I have a slight itching rash and, today, blisters erupted. Help, please, if you can!”
His voice sounded desperate with the pain. I asked if he had used any prescription medicines for this.
“No, I have not because I have heard the eruptions can sometimes come back.”
OK, I will need to have you tell me more about why you think you have this skin symptom, in addition to what helps you feel better and what makes you feel worse.
“I have been under a lot of stress. My partner walked out – we are in the process of a very tense divorce. We have 2 kids. I can barely sleep – my mind races with all kinds of concerns and then I dwell on this during the day, too.
The worst time is the early hours of the morning. It is also when the fire in my skin rash is the worst. I am so restless. I get up and pace or find something to do or try sleeping on the sofa.
Finally, I thought a hot shower would relax me and help me sleep. It has been the best thing so far. When there is hot water on the right side of my chest, I feel less pain and I even relax a bit. But I am so exhausted, I put a chair in the shower to sit on.”
OK, thanks for this info. We are on the right track to having me help you with a homeopathic medicine.
Did you have chicken pox as a kid? “Yes, a really full case of it. That’s what makes me think this is shingles for sure.”
Tell me some other more general things about how you are since the outbreak. Are you generally chilly /cold or warm or sweaty?
“I have been cold more or less. It is weird to be cold, chilly and yet have pain that is like fire. I have been working from home, wearing warmer clothing.”
What is your appetite and thirst like?
“I really have had little appetite due to being so anxious. While I work, I sip on hot herbal tea.”
Then he reflected and told me he was lonesome for the family life, a partner and kids. He would have his kids every 5 days, but he missed them and worried about them in between.
I asked him what the blisters, now that he can see some, looked like.
“They are a bit unusual because they are not just blisters with some red skin around them. They almost look bluish- grayish. I thought that discoloration would change in the hot shower, but it didn’t.”
I decided to have him try Arsenicum album 12 c. I asked him to check back with me in 24-48 hours.
ARSENICUM ALBUM is a medicine ‘par excellence’ for those suffering from burning shingles eruptions where other symptoms of the person and the medicine fit well.
- Burning sensations better from hot or warm applications
- Anxiety which is worse 1-3 a.m.
- Thirst for small frequent sips
- Restlessness with anxiety
- Exhaustion can result in spite of the restlessness
- Blistered skin may appear bluish.
This young man did very well after taking Arsenicum album. The shingles outbreak ran its course in a tolerable, manageable way. The best outcome for him was that his anxiety was much less. After taking the medicine and being freed up of the lack of sleep, the pain and the torturous thoughts, he was able to find a therapist who turned out to be an excellent fit for him. Talking about the problem and discovering ways to cope helped him heal.
CAUSATION and COMPLICATIONS
The shingles pox eruption is caused by the herpes zoster virus which lies dormant after chicken pox. It most commonly occurs in individuals who are stressed, have weakened immune systems, are aged or who are taking certain drugs, especially steroids.
Complications are post herpetic neuralgia, vision problems and neurological problems, all of which occur much less frequently when the initial outbreak is healed with the best homeopathic medicine.
There are several homeopathic medicines that are known to help the person with a shingles outbreak. Other than homeopathy, there are drugs that suppress the blisters, but which may not help the pain.
We know that the immune system and vital force do not like to have an eruption, or a discharge suppressed. Healed, yes – but not suppressed. Doing so can cause the dis – ease and imbalance to re-appear on a deeper more insidious level.
Here are a few more suggestions for people suffering from an outbreak of shingles. These medicines, in low potencies of 6c or 12c may help heal the suffering person. A 6c may be taken 1-3 times a day, stopping the medicine and taking no more when improvement is noticed. A 12c can be taken once or once a day, stopping the medicine as soon as improvement on any level is noticed. If you are seeing no improvement in a day or two, consult a professional homeopathic practitioner.
Mezereum is a homeopathic medicine well known to help heal the older person, senior citizen who is suffering from Shingles especially if the fiery red and intensely intolerable itching eruptions are better from cold applications. Generally, the person is chilly and wants to be warm but definitely not the eruptions. There may be a metallic taste in the mouth.
Natrum muriaticum is the medicine from salt which among other dis- eases can heal the person suffering from Shingles if the symptoms fit. The larger blisters are water filled, there is burning pain, the person may feel worse from being warm in the sun. This homeopathic medicine often heals the person whose eruption came on after grief.
This medicine comes from the common buttercup. The rash may look dark bluish and may occur above the eye in addition to the ribs. The stinging burning pain is worse any motion, even taking a deep breath. This remedy is almost specific for a shingles outbreak on the left side.
Kalmia or mountain laurel can heal people who have shooting electric pain on the face or extending
down the limb after eruptions are gone. The pain can be worse at night and, interestingly, better eating. There can be numbness as well. This medicine is more often indicated for eruptions and pain on the right side. Spigelia is a remedy to which it can be compared.
JOHN HENRY CLARKE, MD
Dr Clarke, one of the old masters of homeopathy, describes in his The Prescriber, a few other measures to take to help the pain of shingles eruptions.
He says a lotion of Cantharis 3x may be applied to the area with a cloth, consistently kept damp with it. Or an ointment of Cantharis 3x may be used. Another application would be zinc oxide and castor oil in proportion to make a paste.
When there is pain after the eruption has left or if the eruption never appeared, Plantago mother tincture may be painted on the area. In addition, some herbalists might pulverize broad leaf plantain and place it on the area with a gauze to hold it in place.
These homeopathic medicines are not the only ones known to heal the person suffering from shingles or shingles complications. Consulting a professional homeopathic practitioner can help when needed.
Also refer to the National Center for Homeopathy web site for more information about homeopathy in general and for medicines to help people with shingles. http://www.homeopathycenter.org
In all cases, if the eruptions come with complications or if you are not better after trying one to two remedies, be sure to consult a professional practitioner of homeopathy or another medical provider.
Thank you to Barbara Bason, practitioner of homeopathy and Bowen therapy for her power point presentation and discussion of pox eruptions of various kinds – shingles, monkey pox, chicken pox, at Homeopathy Delaware’s October 2022 meeting at Bear Library.
We look forward to seeing you at our next meeting in the Newark Library, Newark, DE.