by Larry Malerba, DO, DHt (Dynamic Living Magazine) A large percentage of us have contracted chicken pox at some point in our lifetimes. We’ve experienced its infamous itch and other symptomatology to varying degrees, and survived not only unscathed, but immunologically better off, just as Nature intended it. In medical lingo, chicken pox is an exanthem, which is to say, a viral condition that produces a widespread rash. Since the development of such a rash is a natural consequence of chicken pox, we must question whether measures to thwart the skin eruption or its attendant itch are advisable.
Interestingly, in my clinical experience, it’s the children whose rashes fail to adequately manifest that encounter the greatest medical difficulty. As a consequence, I have been counseling patients for more than twenty years to use only the mildest of topical salves (oatmeal baths, bentonite clay, calendula, aloe vera, vitamin E oil) and to avoid stronger options (calamine products, antihistamines like Benadryl, antivirals like acyclovir) that would suppress the itch or the eruption altogether.
With the advent of the chicken pox vaccine (varicella) over the last decade, what was once considered a normal childhood milestone has now been reframed by medical propaganda as a deadly scourge to be avoided at all costs. The fear factor is a very strong motivator and the medical establishment is expert at using it to induce patient compliance. Overriding decades of first-hand experience, which taught us that chicken pox is almost always a mild childhood illness, we are now shown graphic images of the most extreme cases to remind us that our child could be one of those rare and unfortunate victims. By this standard we should all stop driving cars since the likelihood of death by motor vehicle accident is far greater.
Now it is also known that shingles, or herpes zoster, is a manifestation of the same chicken pox virus that previously lay dormant in the nervous system of adults. The virus becomes reactivated for a variety of reasons, usually resulting in a very painful skin condition that follows the course of the nerves that it affects. Although it can take quite a while for shingles to resolve, many are left with nerve sensitivity or a chronic pain syndrome (postherpetic neuralgia) at the site of the original shingles eruption.
There is emerging clinical evidence that those who only had a mild case or never contracted chicken pox in childhood are more likely to develop shingles as adults. This makes perfect medical sense and had already been observed prior to the use of varicella vaccine but, now, since almost all children receive the vaccine, it can be expected that the incidence of shingles will dramatically rise in the near future. Thus, we will have traded a relatively benign childhood condition that served to sharpen and strengthen the immune system for a chronic condition that is typically associated with persons who have compromised immune systems.
As modern medicine has proven to us time and again, it’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature. When we consider the additional factors that adverse vaccine reactions are commonplace and often result in chronic health problems, and that many individuals contract the chicken pox virus in spite of having been vaccinated, it is reasonable to conclude that the greatest benefits accrue not to patients but to big Pharma and the medical system itself.
The good news is that, contrary to what the medical establishment would have us believe, there is a better holistic way. In addition to the aforementioned mild salves designed only to soothe and not to suppress the chicken pox exanthematic itch, a well-chosen homeopathic medicine can hasten the course of and ensure the resolution of most chicken pox cases far more successfully than any available allopathic option. And the homeopathic medicines most commonly indicated for chicken pox are available at many natural food stores and can be found in most homeopathic first-aid kits. In addition, a homeopathic professional can often effectively address the complications of chicken pox, if they do arise, and the short and long-term harm that may result from the varicella vaccine.
Homeopathic prescribing is based upon matching the symptom profile of the patient with a homeopathic medicine made from a substance capable of causing symptoms similar to the ones experienced by that patient. Keep in mind that it is the symptom pattern and unique characteristics that differentiate one case of chicken pox from another, and which also helps us to choose the correct homeopathic medication. Here are the symptom profiles of some of the more commonly indicated homeopathic remedies used in chicken pox treatment:
Pulsatilla is a frequently prescribed homeopathic medicine for chicken pox. The child who needs Pulsatilla can be identified by his or her demeanor. This child is often clingy and weepy and wishes to be gently carried around by the parent. The child will become upset when put down and will be soothed by being held. It will be difficult for the child to sleep alone at night without company. The skin symptoms are made worse from any kind of heat such as a warm room or hot bath. Conversely, the child feels better when exposed to open air and, thus, prefers an open window. Another telling clue is that even with fever the child will tend not to be thirsty.
Rhus toxicodendron, another common homeopathic treatment for chicken pox, is a preparation made from poison ivy. Clearly, we can see the resemblance between the itching, blistering, and oozing of the two conditions. The child who needs Rhus tox has a strong itch and is very restless. In fact, the itch is often lessened by keeping physically active but becomes worse when lying or sitting still. Hence, the restless tendency. An additional clue is that the itching of this person’s rash tends to be made worse from exposure to cold and improves when in contact with very hot water.
Antimonium crudum has a specific mental-emotional state that can be quite striking. The child is very irritable and displeased. Attempts to soothe the child will be fended off since he/she does not want to be touched. The child also does not want to be looked at and will avert its eyes so as to avoid eye contact. There may also be a thick white coating on the tongue.
Belladonna cases are characterized by sudden onset of high fever especially in the afternoon around 3pm. The face turns bright red as the fever spikes and the child may complain of a pounding headache. Here the emphasis is on fever, which is usually red, hot, and dry, and the child can be burning up to the point of glassy-eyed delirium.
Mercurius vivus is indicted in cases where the child has the temperature sensitivity of a thermometer. He/she is hot, then cold, and then hot again. We usually see fever, chills, and sweats, as the child pulls the covers on and then throws them off again. In addition, the mouth symptoms may be striking. There is often increased salivation, drooling on the pillow in sleep, bad breath, and a bad taste in the mouth.
Sulphur types are very warm-blooded and very itchy. All forms of heat will aggravate the itch. They tend to sleep without covers. Unlike Pulsatilla, they are not clingy and dependent. They are more irritable and independent.
Antimonium tartaricum is useful for chicken pox cases in which a cough is the prominent feature. The cough usually sounds wet with rattling in the chest. It seems as if there is much mucus in the chest but very little phlegm is actually expectorated. Antimonium tart may be helpful in cases that are complicated by bronchitis.
From these descriptions you can see that homeopathy doesn’t treat the disease, per se, as much as it treats the person who is manifesting the illness in his or her own unique way. There is no one size fits all and every prescription must be tailored to the individual. Just a few doses of the medicine that most closely matches the case to be taken over the course of a couple of days should be sufficient to turn the illness around toward recovery. As always, it is advisable to seek care from a qualified professional.
Larry Malerba, DO, DHt has been a practitioner, educator, and leader in the field of holistic medicine for more than twenty years. He is the author of Green Medicine: Challenging the Assumptions of Conventional Health Care. Dr. Malerba is a featured author at Natural News and a regular contributor to Huffington Post. He is board certified in Homeotherapeutics, is Clinical Assistant Professor at New York Medical College, and a visiting lecturer at Albany Medical College. He is past president of the Homeopathic Medical Society of the State of New York. He received his undergraduate degree from Michigan State University, his medical degree from Des Moines University, and his residency training at Albany Medical College. Dr. Malerba has a private practice in Upstate New York.