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New Study Finds Shingles Virus May Cause Significant Cardiovascular Disease, Stroke

New Study Finds Shingles Virus May Cause Significant Cardiovascular Disease, Stroke

Jan 31, 2023 | Herbal Remedies, Research Findings

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links that I may earn a small commission from, at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I use or have used myself. All opinions expressed here are my own.

The Health Impacts of a Varicella Zoster Infection

A fairly common condition that causes a painful rash with fluid-filled blisters, shingles is caused by the same virus responsible for chickenpox — otherwise known as varicella zoster. If you have had a chickenpox infection, the virus remains in the body for a lifetime and can be reactivated years later as a shingles outbreak. Those who are 50 years and older or have a compromised immune system are more prone to developing it. Stress and anxiety can also trigger an attack. One common complication of the condition is the development of postherpetic neuralgia. This is where affected nerve fibers and skin experience intense burning pain long after the blisters have disappeared. And now, researchers have determined a reactivated shingles infection can also have serious health consequences well beyond nerve pain and blisters.

Shingles, Cardiovascular Disease, and Stroke

A new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association has discovered startling, long-term health impacts involving shingles infections: cardiovascular disease and stroke.2 Considering 1 in 3 individuals will develop shingles in their lifetime, this finding is significant.

The researchers tracked more than 200,000 US men and women in the Nurses’ Health Study. None of the participants had a prior history of coronary heart disease or stroke. Spanning the course of sixteen years, the team collected questionnaires every two years and confirmed diagnosis of stroke and heart disease with a medical record review. They found that those who had previously experienced a shingles outbreak had a 30% higher risk of developing a major cardiovascular event (including stroke) compared to those without shingles. Incredibly, this elevated risk may continue for twelve years or more after the initial shingles attack.

“Our findings suggest there are long-term implications of shingles and highlight the importance of public health efforts for prevention,” said lead author Sharon Curhan, MD, ScM, a physician and epidemiologist in the Channing Division of Network Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.1

Nicole with Turkey Tail Mushroom outside hiking PNW

Natural Antivirals and Soothing the Nervous System

If you are experiencing a shingles outbreak, or would like to prevent one from happening, herbal medicines are an excellent option. Each of the following herbal extracts are available in my apothecary.

Lemon Balm — This is my top recommendation for shingles – both internally and externally. Lemon balm is an outstanding antiviral agent for shingles. Apply lemon balm tincture directly on sores and use internally. It is also exceptional for soothing the nervous system and reducing anxiety and stress, which are both triggers for shingles. You can learn more about the additional benefits of lemon balm here (click “tap here” to learn more).

Turkey Tail — This medicinal mushroom is a powerful antibacterial and antiviral, particularly when combined with reishi. For the highest effectiveness, only use dual-extracted tinctures that utilize the fruiting body of this mushroom, like those found in my apothecary.

Reishi — A true healing powerhouse, I personally use reishi mushroom everyday for its potent antimicrobial, anti fungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. It modulates the immune system so that the body can heal. What’s more, it effectively treats not only shingles, but also HIV, urinary tract infections, and influenza. As a mighty adaptogen, reishi helps your body adapt to stress as well.

Cordyceps — Another remarkable medicinal mushroom, cordyceps is antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiprotozoal. It is helpful for treating a range of viral illnesses — including shingles. A powerful remedy against shingles when used internally, it is also helpful for improving immune function, reducing the damaging impact of stress, and fortifying the body to avoid outbreaks.

See my post: Breaking the Cycle of Herpes and Shingles with the Power of Herbal Remedies, for additional methods and natural treatments for shingles — including a DIY antiviral topical oil recipe.

Lastly, to encourage cardiovascular health and avoid potential side effects of a shingles infection, there is no better herbal remedy than our Heart Health Blend. It contains potent extracts of hawthorn, tulsi (holy basil) fenugreek, and bilberry to reduce inflammation, lower LDL cholesterol, regulate blood sugar and blood pressure, and improve circulation. It is also highly effective for supporting vision and the eyes. Our Heart Health Blend is a powerful antioxidant and antiviral as well.

If you would like to learn more about these and other science-backed herbal medicines, visit the apothecary today.

Here’s to your health!

Nicole Apelian

Nicole’s Apothecary Products in this Post

Nicoles Apothecary Heart Blood Sugar Support Bundle

Heart, Blood Pressure & Blood Sugar Bundle

Heart, Blood Pressure & Blood Sugar Bundle + (With Heart Health Blend Tincture)

Heart, Blood Pressure & Blood Sugar Bundle (with Heart Health Blend Tincture)

Nicoles Apothecary Heart Health Blend Tincture

Heart Health Blend Tincture

Nicole's Apothecary Cordyceps Mushroom Tincture

Dual-Extracted Cordyceps Mushroom Tincture

Nicole's Apothecary Lemon Balm Tincture

Lemon Balm Tincture

Nicole's Apothecary Reishi Mushroom Tincture

Dual-Extracted Reishi Mushroom Tincture

Nicole's Apothecary Turkey Tail Mushroom Tincture

Dual-Extracted Turkey Tail Mushroom Tincture

  1. Brigham and Women’s Hospital. (2022, November 22). Shingles associated with increased risk for stroke, heart attack. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2022 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/11/221122125302.htm
  2. Sharon G. Curhan, Kosuke Kawai, Barbara Yawn, Kathryn M. Rexrode, Eric B. Rimm, Gary C. Curhan. Herpes Zoster and Long‐Term Risk of Cardiovascular Disease. Journal of the American Heart Association, 2022; DOI: 10.1161/JAHA.122.027451

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