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Originally published March 4 2008

Treating Herpes Naturally and with Fewer Side Effects

by Akasha Penn

(NaturalNews) The term herpes generally refers to a sexually-transmitted, double-stranded DNA virus, called herpes simplex virus (HSV) type 2 (also known as human herpesvirus 2, or HHV2). This virus is closely related to herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1 or HHV1), which is the cause of common nonsexually-transmitted cold sores. These two viruses are among the eight members of the herpes virus family to infect humans, causing a variety of illnesses ranging from cold sores to brain infection (encephalitis) to chickenpox to various cancers.

A significant number of medical institutions place the incidence of oral herpes (HSV-1), which is commonly called cold sores, between 50 and 80 percent among the American population in the fifth decade of life. Whereas the incidence of genital herpes (HSV-2) in the US is estimated to be between 25 and 30 percent or about one in four adults. African Americans, people with multiple sexual partners, women, and those who become sexually active at a young age are all higher-risk populations for the transmission of HSV-2.

Currently, there is no cure for herpes, or treatment that can eradicate herpes virus from the body at reactivations of the virus. Non-prescription analgesics can reduce pain and fever during initial outbreaks.

There are several prescription antiviral medications for controlling herpes outbreaks, including aciclovir (Zovirax), valaciclovir (Valtrex), famciclovir (Famvir), and penciclovir. Aciclovir was the original and prototypical member of this class and generic brands are now available at a greatly reduced cost. Some prescription drugs to treat herpes can cause diarrhoea several times a day so patients are advised to take non prescribed diarrhoea tablets as required in these cases along with the medication. It has been claimed that the evidence for the effectiveness of topically applied cream for recurrent labial outbreaks is weak. Likewise oral therapy for episodes is inappropriate for most non-immunocompromised patients.

Since there is no current cure for herpes, almost all of the medications available for treating herpes has been geared towards handling outbreaks and trying to maximize the amount of time between them. There are, however, many natural herpes treatment options that have gained popularity over the past few decades. The most important thing to keep is mind is that no matter how long you've been able to go without an outbreak of sores, you are not cured from the herpes virus, although there is a cure that is being tested right now that is in its third trial phase.

A commercially available powder called Wonder Cure is commonly used for any and all skin
problems related to herpes, ringworm and many other diseases. The substance contains only
starch, calcium carbonate, dibasic calcium carbonate, sodium phosphate and calcium
hypochlorite as the active ingredient at just under 2 percent. To use the substance
properly, it is recommended that you clean and dry the areas in which you are showing sores
and make a paste out of the powder and apply it to the infected areas that you have. Leave
the paste on the infected areas for up to 24 hours.

Samento extract. This substance is available in both pill and liquid form. It is
extracted from a plant found in many rain forests around the world and is thought to be a
major immune system booster. Most herpes outbreaks happen when the immune system is at a
low point and the virus is able to cause an outbreak. In the native Peru where it was found
originally, the locals drink it as a tea that is thought to help boost overall health and

Tea Tree Oil: This substance has been hailed as a veritable cure-all when it comes to any
ailment that involves open sores. Most tea tree oil is concentrated and distilled for
maximum potency, so only a small amount is needed for the effects to take place. It is
commonly used to treat canker sores, sore throats (take a small glass of water and add a few drops of the oil in it and then gargle) and with healing herpes sores outbreaks. Simply
use the eye-dropper that comes with the bottle and use a single drop of the oil on the
infected area.

A combination of healing essential oils used directly on the sores is thought to help speed healing during herpes outbreaks. Things like peppermint oil in combination with lavender combined with a small bit of olive oil can be applied directly to the sores. This is an all-natural way to help speed healing in infected areas.

Lemon balm has provided relief for some when applied as a topical ointment. A 1993 study involving 115 people afflicted by fever blisters or genital ulcers applied a cream containing lemon balm extract to their affected areas, five times a day.

Eight days later, the subjects were examined and it was determined that healing of the infected lesions took place in 96 percent of the group. It is believed that the presence of caffeic, rosmarinic, and ferulic acids present in lemon balm lends the herb its antiviral

In a separate study from the same year, the antiviral efficacy of lemon balm extract was
evaluated and its action found to be detectable within a few hours of application, ranging
from three to 24 hours, depending on the strength of the extract used. Without treatment,
recovery from an outbreak typically takes from one to two weeks.

Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra), given as glycyrrhizic acid, has also shown therapeutic
benefit in the treatment of herpes. High levels of glycyrrhizic acid have actually affected
irreversible deactivation of the herpes simplex virus in vitro. It should be noted,
however, that prolonged use of licorice may result in the retention of sodium and a loss of
potassium. Therefore, anyone being treated for high blood pressure should seek professional
advice and care.

Other herbs to consider, according to the book Managing Herpes published by the American
Social Health Association (ASHA), are goldenseal, taken in capsules or teas, which has
antiviral properties, and garlic - an ancient folk remedy for colds that has been shown to
inhibit a number of viruses, including herpes, and bacteria in vitro. In addition, the book
states, "practitioners of homeopathic medicine, naturopathic medicine, and Chinese herbal
medicine also have treatments for people with herpes." The book also notes that a healthy
lifestyle is important in the management of herpes. They remind us to: eat a balanced diet,
get the proper amount of sleep and exercise, avoid excesses of caffeine and alcohol, stay
away from tobacco, and be careful to manage chronic stress.

The natural treatments described above are effective, safe, and without the unpleasant side
effects often experienced with synthetic medications. The standard allopathic treatment for
herpes simplex is, most often, topical applications of the drug, acyclovir (Zovirax), but
the rate of healing is often the same, or even less accelerated, than is experienced with
the herbal therapies discussed above.

If one maintains balance and peace in mind and body herpes will become a relative non-factor in their life. For diet, avoiding caffeine in all forms including chocolate, coffee, green tea and black tea. Avoiding nicotine and excessive alcohol consumption and all nuts and seeds except for hemp seeds and flax seeds. Eating a low-sugar diet with only moderate amounts of whole grain bread and whole grain pasta are also recommended. However one should reach for the foods rich in omega fatty acids such as hemp and flax seeds, salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel, avocados and olives. Also eating organic
yoghurt daily with at least 2.5% milk fat as well as eating lots of garlic or taking a garlic supplement are good ways to maintain overall health.

Taking up a healthy hobby like yoga or tai-chi or qi-gong, playing some tennis, racquetball or squash should help. However, avoid L-lysine. Long-term use of L-lysine can actually impair the immune system. Get your lysine from your diet rather than a pill. Foods rich in lysine: chicken, beef, yeast, milk, eggs, beans, cheese.

About the author

The author is a student of Medicine.

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