Life is crazy! That is my only excuse for taking so long to get this posted. Right now we have a tree company outside cutting up a portion of a huge tree that fell onto our house. Not to worry…it seems to have missed everything vital. God is good!
What are Shingles?
The client that I worked with for this case study was a forty-seven-year-old Female with chronic Shingles spanning seven years. According to the Mayo Clinic,
Shingles is a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox, which causes a painful rash (2017).
After a person has experienced chickenpox, the virus lies dormant in the nerve tissue near the spinal cord and brain and can later be reactivated as Shingles (Shingles, 2017). Shingles is not life threatening but is very painful. The symptoms associated with Shingles include:
- Pain, burning, numbness or tingling
- Sensitivity to touch
- A red rash that begins a few days after the pain
- Fluid-filled blisters that break open and crust over
- Some experience fever, headache, sensitivity to light and fatigue (Shingles, 2017)
My client recently began experiencing all of the symptoms.
Aromatherapy will not cure shingles. I can, however, provide immune support to relieve the symptoms. She is taking a high dosage of Valtrex, a viral suppressant, each day.
A Custom Shingles Support Spray was created to aid the body’s natural ability to repair the cells at the Shingles site. (ratios intentionally not shared)
- ravensara (Cryptocarya agathophylla)
- niaouli (Melaleuca quinquenervia)
- bergamot (Citrus aurantium bergamia)
- peppermint (menthe piperita)
Ravensara, from the Lauraceae family, is used for its topical anesthetic, antiseptic, and antiviral support (Petersen, 2016). Niaouli, from the Myrtaceae family, is added for its analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antiviral, astringent, and sedative properties (Petersen, 2016). Bergamot, of the Rutaceae family, is analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antiviral astringent, cicatrizant, and vulnerary (Battaglia, 2004). Peppermint supplements that blend due to its adaptogenic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antiviral, astringent, hepatic, and sedative properties (Petersen, 2016). The oils were added to a spritzer bottle with one tsp. of 80 proof vodka and four ounces of distilled water.
Ravensara and niaouli are not generally recognized as safe (GRAS) (Petersen, 2016). Bergamot is GRAS but, due to the bergaptene content, it is phototoxic and exposure to the sun should be avoided for at least 12 hours after application (Battaglia, 2004). Peppermint is listed as GRAS, is non-toxic, non-irritating, but may be sensitizing (Battaglia, 2004; Petersen, 2016).
After a skin patch test had been conducted of the spray to ensure there was no sensitivity to the constituents, my client was instructed to spray two to four spritzes on the Shingles site in the morning and at night for ten days while simultaneously decreasing the dosage of Valtrex to 250mg. She was then coached to take a seven-day break from the spray while continuing to take 250mg of Valtrex daily. She was then advised to repeat the protocol without changing the Valtrex dosage. I did not recommend that she cease taking the Valtrex since the medication has had the desired effect of suppressing the Shingles virus. She was instructed to store the blend out of direct sunlight in a cool place and to keep out of reach of children and animals (Petersen, 2016).
Did it work?
With trepidation, my client followed the instructions. She decreased her Valtrex dosage by half and began using the spray. She reports that in the past when she had missed up to two days of her regular dose of Valtrex, all of the Shingles symptoms returned. She informed me that throughout the ten days of using the spray that no symptoms returned; during the seven-day respite from the spray, the only symptom that returned was occasional itching. She says she will continue utilizing the ten and seven-day protocol for the next month and will report back the results at that time. She is going to maintain the protocol of taking 250mg of Valtrex each day as well. She also informed me that an intermittent rash around her mouth has also subsided. Last year, her esthetician told her that the rash was most likely due to her liver having difficulty metabolizing the viral suppressant medication.
Why did it work?
Remember, aromatherapy and other complementary medicines support the body’s natural ability to heal itself. God created our bodies to do amazing things and one of those things is fight viruses. Our bodies want to fight…sometimes they just need help.
As always, please seek the advice of a Registered Aromatherapist if you are trying to help your body function with complementary alternative medicine (CAM).
Battaglia, S. (2004). The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy (2nd ed.). Brisbane, Qld: The International Centre of Holistic Aromatherapy
Petersen, D. (2016). Aroma 101: Introduction to Aromatherapy. Portland, OR: The American College of Healthcare Sciences.
Shingles. (2017). Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/Shingles/basics/definition/con-20019574
Valtrex. (2017). Retrieved July 15, 2017, from https://www.drugs.com/sfx/valtrex-drug-interactions.html