Shingles is an acute skin rash from herpes zoster virus. It often occurs when one’s immune system is low. It usually happens on one side of the body, following the location of nerve, forming a belt shape red rash. In Chinese medicine, it is also called “Chan Yao Huo Dan,” or “She Dan.” It means “red belt around the waist,” or “Red Snake”. Shingles can happen on the waist, chest, back, arm, face, neck, arm or neck. It can be extremely painful and itchy with blisters and pus. There are vaccines available, but Shingles might still come back in the future.
The following are some Chinese herbal external wash formulas to try. It will lessen the pain, itch and speed up the recovery.
1. Jing Yin Hua 30g, Huang Lian 4 g, Fang Feng 9g, Gan Cao 6g, Bing Pian 3g, Qing Dai 3 g.
Soak the herbs, except “Qing Dai” and “Bing Pian,” in 50ml water for 24 hours. Grind up Bing Pian and Qing Dai into powders and add 20 ml of 75% alcohol. Mix the above water and alcohol, and apply with clean cotton gauze or towel three times a day.
2. Da Huang, Huang Bai (Bo), Huang Qin, Ku Shen. 10 to 15 g each.
This formula is based on the famous 3 yellow herbs for detox and clear heat. Cook in a pot with enough water covering herbs plus 1 inch or so, until water is reduced to about ½ to 1/3. Let it cool and apply the decoction to the affected area, 4-5 times a day.
3. Qing Hao 30g
Qing Hao is very good at clearing the heat and stop bleeding. If you have fresh Qing Hao instead of dried herb, use larger quantity to cook. Same as the Formula 2, add water and herb in a big pot and cook until the liquid is reduced to at least half the amount. Wash the rash several times a day for 5-7 days.
4. Bao Hua She She Cao 30g
Bai Hua She She Cao is a herb that clears heat, dries the damp, and strongly neutralize fire toxins. Cook the same way as the above two formulas. Apply to the rash area several times a day for 5-7 days.
Since this is as an external wash, the exact dosage is not that critical. If some herbs are not available, just omit that one and the formula should be still effective.
All these formulas can be made into alcohol soak like described in the first formula (grind into powder and add alcohol) or cook with water on the stove. Cooking is easier and fast acting.
All the dosage above are for dry herbs that are usually available from Chinese herbal store. If you can find fresh herbs from the supermarket or local market, us a lot more quantity to achieve a similar concentration.
Apply the herbal wash several times throughout the days. You should see improvements in the first 2-3 days. Usually, one week is a treatment course, but it depends on individual condition.
Chinese medicine always evaluates the lifestyle as part of the picture. What is the cause of lowered immune system? Is there any major event or stress recently? Can we find a way to manage the root problem?
Get plenty of rest, drink more water, avoid stress, and change cloth frequently. For diet, avoid spicy, high caffeine, greasy or sweet food.
It is always a good idea to consult experienced herbalist for your condition first. If you have tried similar treatments, please leave a comment.