Treating shingles with vitamin B-12

This Week In The HSI Healthier Talk Community

“Doctor laughed at my ‘internet cures’.”

And a shame it is. That quote comes from an HSI member named Jmarr who has shingles. His doctor prescribed acyclovir and refused to give him a vitamin B-12 injection. And there’s the shame.

In the e-Alert “Rain on My Parade” (5/12/04), HSI Panelist Allan Spreen, M.D., outlined his shingles regimen, which calls for 1 mg of B-12 by intramuscular injection per day for a week, then once each week until symptoms are completely gone. Dr. Spreen explained: “The key is that the virus inhabits the nerve root, activating during some onset of stress. B-12 goes to the nerve sheath, directly, as a nutrient, and is the best attack I know.”

Less effective, but still very useful, are sub-lingual B-12 supplements. And in spite of being admonished by his doctor, Jmarr is wisely using B-12 along with geranium oil topically, which proved very effective in reducing shingles pain in a 2004 study reported in The American Journal of Medicine. (So much for dismissing “internet cures.”)

In a thread titled “Shingles” in the General Health Topics forum of the HSI Healthier Talk community, Jmarr asks for information about shingles and receives several very useful responses, including this one from a member named Howard:

“I have a case of shingles in the face and right side of my head. It is imbedded, meaning that it just keeps returning on a 4-6 week cycle. It is a lot better, but I’ve dealt with it for about 10 years. I get the sharp head pains as well as headaches. Over the years, the only help I’ve found is d-lenolate. It is the ‘active ingredient’ in olive leaf extract and is a powerful anti-viral medicine. I start taking it when my symptoms start and it controls the episode. I used to take it every day, but I can get along with occasional use now. I’ve taken acyclovir a couple cycles, but it doesn’t work for me.”

A member named Rosezs thinks she knows why the treatment didn’t work: “The medicine the doctor gave you, acyclovir, has to be given within 72 hours of the outbreak I was told. I got it too late for it to help me but my sister did get it in time and hers lasted a week or so. I tried all kinds of lotionsand got the most relief from plain old fashioned calamine lotion.”

Mangoes contain mamgiferin and isomangiferin, according to a member named Feldsher. These substances suppress the varicella virus that causes shingles. Feldsher also recommends Zinc, vitamin C, fish oil and several other supplements.

JoUK offers this: “As an acupuncturist, I have a great success rate when treating shingles.” And a member named Oskari says, “My mother and my sister have had good results with acupuncture.”

Exactly what stressors may prompt an individual case of shingles is often a mystery, but a member named Larry has this advice for avoiding an outbreak: “FACT if someone is older and has had Chicken Pox do not take Cortisone shots it will cause shingles personally know 4 people, includin mother in law shots shingles not a pretty sight.”

Other topics being discussed this week in the Healthier Talk community forums include:

  • Dental: Bruxism prevention?
  • Cancer: Nano cure
  • General Health Topics: Red yeast rice
  • Depression: Sunlight boosts serotonin
  • Diabetes: Neuropathy need help
  • Heart: Arterial gunk removal

To join in with any of these discussions, just go to our web site at, choose “Forum,” and add your own insights and comments about health, nutrition and natural treatments.