Shingles in Chinese Medicine
Shingles is becoming more and more common among the US population. Herpes zoster, commonly known as shingles is a viral disease that presents as a painful skin rash with blisters in a contained area on one side of the body, often it shows up in a stripe. The initial infection actually occurs many years earlier as the short-lived illness known as chickenpox. This usually affects children and young adults. Once an episode of chickenpox has resolved, the virus is not actually eliminated from the body but remains dormant in the nerve cell bodies without causing any symptoms. Years or decades after the initial infection, the virus may break out of nerve cell bodies and travel down nerve axons to cause a viral infection of the skin in the region of that nerve resulting in a painful rash. In Chinese medicine we look at this as a combination of several patterns: Damp heat, fire, and toxins, with underlying blood yin, and qi deficiency, usually being exacerbated by a period of physical or emotional stress which can worsen the underline deficiency and exacerbate the damp-heat. In addition to major lifestyle changes, Chinese herbs can be very helpful in this situation, when looking for a modern day formula to: Drain damp heat, purge fire, eliminate toxins, and tonify underlying deficiencies look for a formula containing one or more of the herbs below:
Best Chinese Herbs for Shingles
Huang Qin – Clears damp heat and purges fire from the skin through the urine.
Long Dan Cao – Clears damp-heat from the Liver and Gallbladder channels, and purges liver fire.
Jin Yin Hua – Works to clear heat and toxins from the exterior to treat lesions and sores.