Homeopathy For Herpes

Words: Dr Julian JONAS

Herpes, or shingles, can be one of the most painful illnesses. It begins somewhat innocuously with a general malaise of fever, headache and fatigue, but is soon followed by intense stinging and burning pains arising on the skin. This is usually accompanied by local itching, skin hypersensitivity, or tingling. The outbreak is localised to a specific belt-like strip of skin on one side of the body. It can be on the torso, chest, or back, on the head, or face, even extending into the eyes, or else the arms, or legs.

Sometime between a few days to a few weeks later, along with the continuing pains, a rash appears. There may be small fluid-filled blisters that over time will dry up, crust over and fall off.


Formally known as ‘herpes zoster’ [‘zoster’ meaning a belt, or girdle], this affliction is caused by the varicella zoster virus, VZV], which is the same virus that causes chicken pox. Although in the same family, it is distinct from the herpes simplex virus that causes oral and genital herpes.

Chicken pox is actually the result of the initial infection of VZV.  After this phase has resolved, the virus doesn’t leave the body but goes dormant, residing in nerve cells along the spine. When reactivated, it appears as shingles travelling down the axon of the nerve into the area of the body [or ‘dermatone’] that the nerve covers. This accounts for the belt-like appearance as well as the one-sidedness. The virus can also spread from one nerve to others, causing corresponding symptoms in other dermatones.

While shingles is quite painful, it is usually a self-limiting illness, typically running its course in about a month.  But, for some people, estimates run at about 15 per cent of those who develop shingles, the symptoms do not fully resolve after the initial rash disappears, instead they may evolve into a chronic syndrome of pain known as ‘post herpetic neuralgia’ that can last for months, or years, afterwards.

While the cause for the reactivation of the VZV into shingles is not fully known, the single most important correlation is advancing age. About 1-3 persons per 1,000 develop shingles yearly, but this figure rises to somewhere between 4-11 per 1,000 for people over the age of 65.  It is thought that deteriorating immunity against the virus is the chief reason that it reappears later in life as zoster. Exposure to toxins and mechanical injury, along with significant stress — all of which also affect the immune system, can be a factor. Shingles cannot be ‘caught’ by being exposed to someone suffering from it [although one can catch chicken pox from contact with shingles eruptions].

Increased Incidence

Interestingly, since the late 1990s, there has been a 90 per cent increase in the occurrence of shingles in adults. Not coincidentally, since 1995 a massive chicken pox vaccination campaign was initiated nationwide [in the US]. It is logical to surmise that the resulting suppression of active chicken pox in children has deprived the adult population with the exposure to the virus that kept the immunity against it strong [This is similar to the idea that widespread overuse of antibacterial soaps and hand wipes deprives children from developing strong immunity against various bacteria].

Since that point in time, there has also been an increase in children developing shingles — a phenomenon that almost unknown previously. Of course, the pharmaceutical industry is copasetic with these developments because it allows them to roll out yet another saleable product — the shingles vaccine. It is also worthwhile to mention that the chicken pox vaccination itself does not proffer immunity against shingles.

Conventional treatment of shingles is quite limited and certainly not curative, especially when it comes to post-herpetic neuralgia. In the acute phase, anti-viral drugs such as acyclovir are prescribed with the goal of reducing the length of the illness. They generally have little effect in terms of either preventing, or treating the chronic neuralgia. Once the illness has entered that phase, various topical and pain medications, including narcotics, anti-depressants and even nerve-block surgery are the standard, but not very successful treatment.

Healing With Homeopathy

Fortunately, homeopathic remedies provide a consistently effective approach in the treatment of shingles. There are nearly 100 remedies that have been successfully prescribed for both the acute phase and post-herpetic neuralgia — and, they are just the ones found in the standard literature.

The selection of a particular remedy is based on what are called the ‘characteristic,’ or individualistic symptoms experienced by the patient.  For instance, on what side of the body the rash appears, what time of the day are the pains better, or worse, or whether heat, or cold, in the form of a shower, or room temperature increases, or decreases, the pain. The appearance of the rash itself as well as the emotional state also provides important information for choosing the remedy.

As an example, Ranunculus bulbosa — the bulbous Buttercup, so common to our woods, is one of the most commonly prescribed homeopathic remedies for acute and chronic neuralgia.  Ranunculus has a strong affinity for the nerves. It is indicated when the zoster appears on the torso, or chest, especially when it is preceded, or followed, by pain between the ribs. The Ranunculus rash is characterised by blister-like vesicles with a dark bluish appearance. There is great itching and burning. These patients tend to be chilly and feel better with warm applications and rest. They also can be quite irritable, easily to start a quarrel, but yet they generally do not like to be alone.

Each case of shingles, when carefully diagnosed, will yield similar specific details that allows for the successful selection of a homeopathic remedy individualised to the symptoms — and, more importantly, to the person.

Dr JULIAN JONAS, CCH, LicAc, a graduate of Cornell University, with a degree in Asian languages and philosophy, lived in Asia for ten years, where he studied and practiced Oriental Medicine. He graduated from the Meiji College of Oriental Medicine in Osaka, Japan, and maintained his own clinic in Japan before running a village healthcare project in Sri Lanka. He was introduced to and captivated by the profound healing power of homeopathic medicine, early on in his career, but his formal homeopathic studies began only after he returned to the United States and established a practice in Vermont in the late-1980s. A graduate of the New England School of Homeopathy and the North American Homeopathic Master Clinician Course, Dr Jonas has studied with some of homeopathy’s foremost practitioners and teachers around the world. He has over 35 years of experience as a healthcare practitioner. Website: http://www.centerforhomeopathy.com. This article is ©Dr Julian Jonas.

1 thoughts on “Homeopathy For Herpes

  1. Alvin says:

    It’s obvious that people with HIV/AIDS are being enslaved to antiviral and other supplementary medicines, just to help suppress the virus, and not cure it. I’d lived with the virus for four years, when I was introduced by a blogger, who also narrated her story online, on how she was ‘cured’ by using Dr Okosun Herbal Medicine. I took the same step. After taking the medicine for four weeks, I was confirmed ‘HIV-free’ [with a test result].

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