While under stress a few years ago, I developed an odd rash, a thin line from the left side of my rib cage at the back, then up to the shoulder and along the arm. I was mystified.
My doctor diagnosed shingles (herpes zoster) and said that, unusually, he had that day seen another patient with shingles.
He said he could do nothing except prescribe strong pain killers if they became necessary. The rash, he warned, would end in blisters, eventually weep, and be a mess before clearing up, possibly in a week or so (he also said there could be a lot of pain, possibly for years).
I consulted WDDTY panel member Melvyn Werbach's book Nutritional Influences on Illness, and found that vitamin E might help. I already was taking it, but increased my intake to about 3000 IU a day.
My intuition told me to put pure tea tree oil on the rash about three times a day; in between I put on genuine (not a cheap watered down version) aloe vera.
When I next saw my doctor, he said his other shingles patient suffered so much that he was prescribed pain killers every two hours. In contrast, I had no pain at all; my only problem had been some mild itchiness. The doctor was surprised to see that my blisters had almost vanished, with no weeping or mess at all.
While I could have had a mild episode that would have been trivial even if I had done nothing, I feel topical applications of tea tree oil and aloe vera were important factors in my unusually quick recovery and lack of pain.
To date there has been no recurrence of the problem Don Eldridge, Brisbane, Australia........
Don Eldridge is a staff member of the World Research Foundation in California and writes a nutrition/ health column for the Australian magazine Silver Cord.