The herpes family of viruses includes more than seventy known members. The most common ones that humans encounter include herpes simplex 1 and 2, Epstein-Barr virus, varicella zoster, and cytomegalovirus. This section contains information on her- pes simplex 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex 2 (HSV-2).
Both of the herpes simplex viruses cause small, irritating, ﬂuid-ﬁlled blisters or erup- tions on the skin and the mucous membranes. Herpes simplex virus 1 is often at the root of cold sores, also known as fever blisters, since sun exposure can bring on an outbreak.
The initial symptoms of a cold sore include burning and tingling sensations around the edges of the lips and the nose, where itchy, painful blisters and/or small, red pimples will form within a few hours and last a few days. They usually dry up and crust over in eight to twelve days after onset, although natural and conventional ther- apy can often greatly reduce the healing time. A person may complain of localized pain, as well as have a mild fever and swollen lymph nodes in the neck.
Herpes simplex virus 2 causes blisters on the genitals and is typically spread through sexual contact (although herpes simplex virus 1 can also cause genital her- pes and vice versa). The burning and tingling sensations surrounding the genital areas are its initial symptoms. The moist linings surrounding the sex organs will soon become the sites of blisters that later turn into sores or lesions that can easily become infected and irritating. It should be noted that a pregnant woman carrying the herpes simplex virus 2 may pass it along to her baby during birth, allowing the baby to form lesions from contact, as well as problems with its nervous systems, such as seizures and mental retardation. Women are screened for this infection during their pregnancy, and cesarean section birthing can prevent the transfer of herpes simplex 2.
Herpes simplex virus 1 and 2 are extremely common. Once they enter the body, herpes viruses can remain dormant in the nervous system for several years or life. Their outbreak is more likely when the immune system is under stress, such as dur- ing infectious illness (common cold), when under physical or emotional stress, from excessive exposure to sunlight, and from nutritional deﬁciencies and allergies to food or drugs.
Conventional treatment for a cold sore is to let it run its course, apply antiviral top- ical solutions, or use pain-relieving medications. The antiviral drug acyclovir (Zovi- rax) is used to suppress outbreaks of oral and genital herpes. Antibiotics may be given for secondary skin infections.
Natural therapy focuses on enhancing the immune system so that one is not as sus- ceptible to a herpes outbreak. In addition, this section discusses some natural reme- dies that have direct antiviral effects. It has been estimated that 90 percent of the population has one or both herpes viruses. The key is to have a resilient immune sys- tem that can ﬁght off and contain the herpes virus. In the case of genital herpes, the best approach is prevention through avoidance of casual sexual contact. However, nat- ural therapies can make a dramatic impact in reducing outbreak recurrence and sever- ity for people with genital herpes.
• A burning, tingling sensation on reddened skin, accompanied by one or more clusters of small, ﬂuid-ﬁlled vesicles
• Sexual contact
• Immune system suppression
• Nutritional deﬁciencies
Consume foods that are rich in the amino acid L-lysine, as they may inhibit herpes virus replication. These includes legumes, ﬁsh, turkey, chicken, and most vegetables.
Bell peppers, brussels sprouts, broccoli, potatoes, and other brightly colored veg- etables and fruits provide vitamin C and bioﬂavonoids that help heal the skin.
Fish such as salmon, nuts like walnuts, and seeds such as ﬂaxseeds provide essen- tial fatty acids that are necessary for tissue repair.
Food to Avoid
Avoid foods that are high in the amino acid L-arginine, as it may stimulate HSV repli- cation. These foods include peanuts, almonds, and other nuts, as well as whole wheat and chocolate.
Reduce or eliminate sugars, as they interrupt the healing of tissue and suppress immune function.
Acidic foods, such as grapefruit, tomatoes, oranges, and other citrus fruits, may aggravate cold sores and should be avoided during an outbreak.
The following tests help assess possible reasons for repeated herpes outbreaks: Immune system imbalance or disease—blood
Hormone testing (thyroid, DHEA, cortisol, testosterone, IGF-1, estrogen, progesterone)—saliva, blood, or urine
Vitamin and mineral analysis (especially iron)—blood
Digestive function and microbe/parasite/candida testing—stool analysis
Food and environmental allergies/sensitivities—blood, electrodermal
Amino acid imbalance—blood or urine
In one double- blind trial, topical
application of an extract of lemon- balm cream, applied four times daily for ﬁve days, led to signiﬁcantly fewer symptoms
and fewer cold sore blisters than experi- enced by people using a placebo cream. Lemon
balm has also been shown to help pre- vent recurrence of cold sores.
Super Seven Prescriptions—Herpes
Super Prescription #1 L-lysine
Take 1,000 mg three times daily between meals for an acute outbreak. For preven- tative purposes, take 500 mg two to three times daily between meals. This supple- ment has been shown in some studies to help treat acute outbreaks and may reduce recurrence.
Super Prescription #2 Lemon balm extract (Melissa ofﬁcinalis)
Apply a lemon balm topical cream four times daily to the affected area. It has mainly been studied for healing cold sores.
Super Prescription #3 Homeopathic Herpes Nosode
Take a 30C potency three times daily for three days. This remedy stimulates an immune response to the herpes virus. It can be used for both oral and genital her- pes and is also used to prevent recurrences.
Super Prescription #4 Lomatium root (Lomatium dissectum)
Take 1 ml or 500 mg four times daily for acute outbreaks. Lomatium root has immune-enhancing and antiviral properties.
Super Prescription #5 Propolis
Apply propolis tincture or ointment four times daily to the affected area. Propolis has been shown to heal genital herpes and most likely helps cold sores.
Super Prescription #6 Vitamin C
Take 1,000 mg, along with 500 mg of bioﬂavonoids, three times daily. Vitamin C
improves immune function and reduces the duration of the infection.
Super Prescription #7 Zinc
Take 30 mg twice daily, along with 3 mg of copper. Zinc supports immune func- tion and has been shown in studies to reduce the frequency, the severity, and the duration of a herpes outbreak. Topical application of zinc sulfate has been shown to reduce the recurrence of herpes outbreaks.
Licorice root extract (glycyrrhetinic acid) cream has been shown to be effective for herpes outbreaks. Apply to lesions four times daily.
B-complex is important for people who are prone to cold sore out- breaks. Take a 50 mg complex one to two times daily.
Take a probiotic product containing at least 4 billion active organ- isms twice daily, thirty minutes after meals. It supplies friendly bac- teria, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidus, that are important for immune function.
Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea) supports immune function and has antiviral properties. Take 500 mg or 2 to 4 ml of a tincture three times daily.
A high-potency multivitamin provides a base of nutrients required for a healthy immune system. Take as directed on the container.
A super green food supplement, such as chlorella or spirulina, or a mixture of super green foods, supports immune function. Take as directed on the container.
Thymus (Thymus vulgaris) extract supports the activity of the thy- mus gland, an important component of the immune system. The dosage is 1 to 2 tablets/capsules twice daily between meals or as directed on the container.
Pick the remedy that best matches your symptoms in this section. For acute herpes outbreaks, take a 30C potency four times daily. For
Research on the herpes virus shows that in a culture dish, the amino acid arginine stimulated growth of the virus, while the addi- tion of lysine inhibited growth. In a study, forty-ﬁve patients who experi- enced frequent herpes outbreaks received 312 to 500 mg of L-lysine for two months to three years. The dosage was increased to 800 to
1,000 mg for acute outbreaks, and foods that are high in the amino acid arginine were restricted (chocolate, seeds, nuts). This therapy reduced the frequency of outbreaks and greatly accelerated the recovery from acute outbreaks. Another double-blind study found that 1,200 mg of L-lysine signiﬁcantly reduced the recurrence of herpes simplex outbreaks.
chronic herpes infections, take a 6x, 12x, 6C, 12C, or 30C twice daily for two weeks to see if there are any positive results. After you notice improvement, stop taking the rem- edy, unless symptoms return. Consultation with a homeopathic practitioner is advised.
Arsenicum Album is for people with cold sores who have symptoms of burning herpetic lesions that feel better with warm applications and warm drinks. They tend to feel anxious and restless.
Hepar Sulphuris is for very painful and sensitive mouth sores. The lesions feel very sensitive and are aggravated from cold drinks and cold air. The person feels chilly and irritable.
Mercurius Solubilis or Vivus is helpful when bleeding gums, a thickly coated tongue, heavy salivation and drooling, and offensive breath accompany the cold sores. The lesions burn and are worse at night.
Natrum Muriaticum is a speciﬁc remedy for cold sores that break out from sun exposure, fever, or emotional stress. The lesions are often near the lips. The corners of the mouth are often cracked as well. There is often a strong craving for salty foods. This remedy is also used for cases of chronic genital herpes. The person has a ten- dency toward depression and avoids the sun.
Rhus Toxicodendron is helpful for painful, swollen, itchy vesicles that burn and break out quickly. The person feels restless. Symptoms are worse from the cold or the damp.
Sulphur is a useful remedy for red, inﬂamed, itchy, and burning herpetic lesions. Symptoms are better from cold applications or ice-cold drinks. People requiring this remedy are very warm, with a great thirst for cold drinks.
Mix 1 drop of lemon and 1 drop of myrrh in a carrier oil, and with a Q-tip, dab the oil onto the herpes lesion.
In one study involv- ing ninety men and women with genital herpes, investigators compared propolis ointment to the phar- maceutical acyclovir. The participants were examined during their course of treatment. The authors of the study concluded that propolis ointment appeared to be more effective than acy- clovir and a placebo in healing genital her- pes lesions.
Acupuncture is helpful for some people with recurrent herpes. See a qualiﬁed prac- titioner for treatment.
Magnet therapy can be effective in reducing pain and stimulating skin healing. Use under the guidance of a knowledgeable practitioner.
Applying ice to a cold sore at the ﬁrst signs of symptoms can help prevent a full- blown outbreak. Apply for ten minutes and then stop. Repeat every hour. An adult should apply it to the lesion of a young child to prevent damaging the skin.