Herpes is a highly contagious virus and sexually transmitted disease. Cold sores are caused by herpes simplex type 1 and genital herpes is caused by herpes simplex type 2.
There's no cure for herpes, but antiviral medications can help suppress the virus, which is dormant in nerve cells. Once the immune system is run down or stressed, the virus comes out of hiding.
For those who don't want to take medication, there are natural ways to help with herpes.
A healthy diet is the most natural way to combat herpes and lessen your chance of outbreaks. Eat a diet that is full of fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products and lean protein. Aim to eat foods high in lysine, since they will help inhibit the virus. Foods high in lysine include beef, chicken, cheese and yogurt. Alcohol and caffeine should be limited or avoided.
Proper rest is very important for herpes sufferers. They should aim for seven to nine hours of sleep per night and keep their stress levels to a minimum.
There are many herbs that can help herpes naturally. They include red marine algae, astragalus, cat's claw, licorice root, spirulina, myrhh, red clover, St. John's wort, echinacea and burdock. Some herbs have side effects or shouldn't be used by pregnant women. Please seek the advice of a health-care practitioner.
Gel from the aloe vera plant can be used on herpes lesions to soothe and calm the area. It can also help heal the skin. You can grow your own plant or use gel bought from the store.
Cornstarch and Baking Soda
Cornstarch and baking soda can be used as powders to help soothe and control itching. They can be sprinkled into the underwear or dabbed on with a moist cottonball or Q-Tip.
Use black tea bags to help control inflammation. They also have anti-viral properties. Use the tea bags as a compress a few times a day.
Some people with herpes can tell when an outbreak is going to occur. They may feel a tingling or itching sensation. They can apply an ice pack or bag of frozen vegetables to help numb the area and inhibit the virus.
Essential oils such as vitamin E and calendula can help repair damaged skin. Tea tree oil can also kill germs and help dry up the outbreak.
Magnesium sulfate, commonly known as Epsom salts, can be used in a warm bath for those with genital herpes. Epsom salts help soothe and control itching and inflammation.
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Herpes
- "Prescription for Nutritional Healing; Fourth Edition"; Phyllis Balch; 2006