I. Physiological Considerations
Shingles (herpes zoster) and chicken pox (varicella) are caused by the same infectious agent, a virus. In shingles the virus attacks the spinal or cranial nerves and has a characteristic distribution (unilateral) reflecting the segments innervated by the involved nerves.
The thoracic section is most commonly involved, followed by the cervical, lumbar, sacral and the ophthalmic division of the trigeminal nerve (i.e., the fifth cranial nerve).
In young, otherwise healthy individuals the skin lesions go through the various stages and heal within two to three weeks, though pain may persist another week or two. In the majority of people over 60 years of age, the illness is usually more protracted, the pain lasting two to three months after the lesions have healed.
According to the readings given on this condition, poor eliminations are invariably at the root of the problem, this being initiated by a variety of mechanisms. Thus in reading 106-4, hyperacidity "is produced by the overtaxation of the body with those properties that create an unbalance [imbalance] in the hydrochloric portion of the system. . ." which in turn affects the circulation (capillaries, emunctories or lymphatics), the gastrointestinal tract, the kidneys, liver, etc., with resulting poor eliminations. Irritation is set up in the skin which leads to the rash (the virus presumably is able to set in and cause problems under these conditions).
Other causes of poor eliminations cited in these readings were:
- Poor diet (527-3),
- Respiratory flu causing congestion in the colon (338-9),
- General debilitation (1944-1),
- Spinal lesions (3139-1),
- Malfunction in the hepatic circulation (322-4).
Nowhere in these readings was specific mention made of a primary infectious etiology for herpes zoster, so it would seem that the basic pathology is disturbed eliminations through a variety of mechanisms which set up toxic irritants in the capillary-lymphatic circulation, thus laying the foundation for the eruption of skin lesions.
The readings make no mention of invasion of the nerves and skin by the virus, so at what point this occurs is left at present to speculation.
II. Rationale of Therapy
This would have to be directed toward enhancing eliminations through proper diet (which is alkaline reacting); laxatives and colonic irrigation; and alleviating pain through local applications.
III. Suggested Therapeutic Regimen
1. Local therapy for alleviating pain:
- Ice packs over lesions or hot packs with soda salt, whichever provides more relief.
- Local application of:
- Oil of sassafras, 1 dram
- Tincture of laudanum, 1/2 ounce
- Spirits of camphor, 1 ounce
- Glycerine, 1 ounce
- Distilled water, 6 ounces
- Shake well and dab with cotton to affected areas twice daily.
- Follow this immediately by dusting with a combination of balsam of Peru, dusting powder of stearate of zinc, and chalk.
2. Diet: An alkaline, easily digestible diet should be followed, keeping away from all acid-producing food during this period. Examples: all fruits except apples, citrus fruit juices, cooked vegetables and their juices, vitamin B, in addition to vitamins from food sources. Avoid sweets, alcohol, meat of any nature. Avoid citrus-cereal combinations.
- To stimulate circulation and blood purification, gold chloride, 10 grains in 20 ounces of distilled water, at five drops daily. (106-5)
- For a resistant condition:
- Extract of cascara sagrada, 1/2 ounce
- Syrup of rhubarb, 2 ounces
- Podophyllum, Y2 grain
- Simple syrup, 2 ounces
- Shake well before use. Take one teaspoon every three hours until good bowel movement ensues, then take enough to maintain movement twice daily (322-5); or Rochelle salts alone, or a combination of Epsom salts, cream of tartar and sulphur in equal amounts thoroughly mixed. (Note: Avoid getting the feet wet while using this, as this makes the system more susceptible to colds.) One-half teaspoon two to three times daily until eliminations begin. (322-4)
- Watermelon seed tea to stimulate eliminations through kidney lymphatics: one-half ounce tea to 20 ounces water steeped or simmered for five minutes, strain and use as beverage (106-4); or sweet spirits of nitre, three to five drops two to three times daily to improve eliminations through kidneys and bladder. (322-4)
- Colonics (irrigation) as frequently as necessary to eliminate mucus from the stools, otherwise once or twice weekly for several weeks (two to four weeks).
- Manipulations, generally the dorsal and cervical spine, sometimes coordinating with the lumbar; from two to six adjustments over several weeks.
- Massages once or twice a week for three to four weeks. A combination of peanut oil and witch hazel in equal parts might be used.
- The wet cell used in a manner similar to the radio-active appliance was recommended in one case (1994-1) in which there was general debilitation.
- Directions: Connect leads in a diagonal fashion to the limbs as with the impedance device (i.e., positive lead to right wrist and negative lead to left ankle) and alternate with the other two limbs; i.e., one does not need to make a complete cycle going from one limb to the next. No solutions need be connected with the cell. However, the feet should be immersed in a small quantity of water at body temperature in a glass container and the hands in a weak solution of copper sulphate (I dram to I pint of water), also in a glass container. The duration of treatment should be 20-25 minutes on a daily basis.
- If used with the other therapies Cayce suggested for this particular case, the lesions could heal within 10 days.
- The head and neck exercise is helpful in improving circulation to the head area when a cranial nerve is involved.
Finally Cayce had this to say to  who asked for spiritual advice:
Much has been given this body as respecting the mental and spiritual attitude, and that the attitude is reflected more in that in which the individual entity meets its problems with itself as well as with others. If there are the worries and aggravations, these worries and aggravations will reflect in the functioning of the organs of the central nerve and blood supply as well as in the sympathetic. Then know in whom ye believe and know He is able to keep that ye may commit unto Him against any experience. (338-9)
[Note: The preceding overview was written by Hezekiah Chinwah, M.D. and is excerpted from the Physician's Reference Notebook, Copyright © 1968 by the Edgar Cayce Foundation, Virginia Beach, VA.]