Anyone who had chicken pox as a child may develop shingles at some point as an adult. The varicella-zoster virus that causes chicken pox goes into hiding and only reemerges when something, such as stress, weakens the immune system. Shingles can cause extreme tenderness on just one side of the torso or face. The rash or blisters may appear a few days later. Even after the rash clears up, the person may be left with lingering chronic pain. Prescription drugs can treat shingles successfully, but they work best if they are taken in the first few days of the attack. A person who misses that window of opportunity may be interested in home remedies.
My dad has suffered with pain from shingles for almost two years. Yesterday, during a nap on the deck, he got stung on the toe by a bee. Now he’s feeling no shingles pain! Have you heard of such a thing? He’s perplexed but elated, for however long the freedom lasts.
Years ago we received this letter: “While snoozing on the porch I was stung on the finger by a tiny bee. The result: intense pain, and after that a great reduction of arthritis in my arm.” Some prominent doctors used bee venom therapy to treat arthritis in the 1920s and 1930s. Hospital pharmacies even stocked injectable bee venom. Apitherapy fell out of favor due to lack of scientific proof. But people are now trying bee stings again for arthritis and postherpetic neuralgia (pain lingering after shingles), as well as for other conditions. Some people keep honeybees to sting their sore joints. Others get their doctors to inject venom used for bee allergy desensitization. No one who is allergic to bee stings should try this treatment, for one sting could trigger a fatal reaction.
I suddenly developed a severe case of shingles around my waist on the right side. I didn’t want to get involved with strong pain relievers, so I tried applying green tea four times on the small blisters that formed the first day. The next day, after applying green tea again four times, the scabs fell off, and I have had no lasting pain. Perhaps this will help other people suffering from shingles.
Shingles is an extremely painful skin eruption caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox (the varicella-zoster virus). Prompt treatment with prescription antiviral medicines such as acyclovir (Zovirax), famciclovir (Famvir), or valacyclovir (Valtrex) can speed healing. One should never rely on home remedies for such a potentially serious condition as shingles, but your experiment is fascinating. Applying tepid green tea in addition to taking appropriate medical treatment should not pose a risk. Tests on animals have shown that topical use of green tea has anti-inflammatory benefits.
What is the miracle of Listerine? Twenty years ago I got shingles. I had a painful, blistery rash. My doctor told me to rub Listerine on it. The itching stopped, the rash disappeared, and the pain went away. I also had gums that bled every time I brushed my teeth. The dentist told me to dip my toothbrush in Listerine and apply to my gums after brushing. The problem vanished, and I haven’t had trouble since.
Listerine contains a number of herbal extracts (thymol, eucalyptol, menthol, and methyl salicylate) in an alcoholic solution. There are no studies to suggest that such ingredients could help relieve shingles or speed healing from gum disease. Nevertheless, one or more of the oils in Listerine might be beneficial for such conditions.
Source Credits: Joe Graedon & Terry Graedon, The People’s Pharmacy: Quick & Handy Home Remedies, published by National Geographic