Male 82, with herpes zoster (shingles) successfully treated with 2 weeks of herbal medicine

About the Author

Dr Shu Wang

Trained in both Western and Chinese medicine, Shu Wang is a renowned clinician with over 46 years experience. He has worked in China for over 20 years and has practiced in Australia for the last 25 years. Dr Wang's preference for clinical treatment is Sun Herbal's Black Pearl range.

Main Signs and Symptoms

After returning from a holiday two weeks previously, he visited a doctor and was diagnosed with shingles and treated with oral medications which did not provide any relief. He has been unable to sleep and eat due to the pain which is worsened by touch, pressure or movement and he feels exhausted.

Feels alternating hot and cold and has a slightly elevated temperature, severely painful areas on scalp and behind ears, affected areas are covered with small vesicles. The scalp is so painful that he cannot touch it, nor can he take a shower or lie down flat.

Other signs and symptoms: Appears tired and dull, with a drained and painful expression. Feels severe fatigue. 

Tongue: Red with tooth marks and a thin coat.

Pulse: Wiry.

Diagnosis and Treatment

TCM Diagnosis:

Retention of Damp-Heat; Qi stagnation and Blood stasis. Damp-Heat in the Liver channel transformed into Fire, which rises to the head and causes stagnation of the Qi and Blood


Long Dan Xie Gan Wan (Gentiana Formula) for 7 days plus Huo Luo Xiao Ling Dan (Salvia & Boswellia Formula) for 7 days (taken together with the Long Dan Xie Gan Wan morning and evening doses).

Second consultation (after one week): The affected areas had shrunk, vesicles dried up and the pain much reduced. Patient reported feeling better in himself. Treatment Principle: Strengthen the health Qi and consolidate the constitution (fu zheng gu ben). Treatment: Yu Ping Feng San (Jade Screen Formula) for 7 days.

Third consultation (after another week): The pain has resolved completely, energy level returned to normal. Patient was advised to continue taking  Yu Ping Feng San (Jade Screen Formula)  for several more weeks to consolidate the treatment and prevent recurrence.


In TCM shingles (herpes zoster) is referred to as ‘pellets of fire spreading around the waist’ or ‘cluster of snake sores’. When the health Qi is deficient the body becomes susceptible to invasion by exogenous Damp, which may then develop into Damp-Heat and lodge in the Liver where it transforms into Fire. The pathogenic Fire ascends along the pathway of the Liver channel to affect the upper parts of the body.

The treatment for the early stages of shingles must focus on clearing Damp-Heat from the Liver-Gallbladder to resolve Fire in the Liver channel. The main herbal formula for this is Long Dan Xie Gan Wan (Gentiana Formula) as it has the best efficacy. This condition should be treated with the same treatment principle, regardless of the location of the lesions (abdomen, chest, scalp, etc.). I have found in my clinical practice over several decades that once the clinical manifestations have begun to improve, the treatment should focus on strengthening the health Qi and consolidating the constitution (fu zheng gu ben), using Yu Ping Feng San (Jade Screen Formula). This will continue to provide further clinical results and allow a shorter treatment period.

However, if you are treating a patient who has had pain due to shingles for several months or years then the treatment should begin with Long Dan Xie Gan Wan (Gentiana Formula) combined with Huo Luo Xiao Ling Dan (Salvia & Boswellia Formula) to resolve Blood stasis and alleviate pain. Once the condition has begun to improve continue with large doses of Yu Ping Feng San (Jade Screen Formula) to strengthen the health Qi and consolidate the constitution. Even stubborn conditions can be treated in this way and good clinical results achieved within a short time.