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How to Use Lemon Balm for Herpes

author image Sue Sierralupe
Sue Sierralupe has been a freelance writer for more than 15 years. She teaches classes in sustainability, herbal medicine and native plants all over Oregon. Sierralupe is a certified medical herbalist, master gardener and sustainable landscaper. She writes about these subjects on her website at
How to Use Lemon Balm for Herpes
Close up of a woman's lips as she applies lip balm. Photo Credit: Manuel Faba Ortega/iStock/Getty Images

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a effective herbal remedy for herpes. The herpes virus belongs to a large family that includes chicken pox, shingles and keratitis as well as oral and genital herpes. All herpes infections display painful blisters and are highly infectious.

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Lemon balm contains a host of antiviral constituents including rosmarinic acid, flavonoids and phenolic acid, according to PeaceHealth. This herb also is used to reduce symptoms of stress associated with herpes outbreaks. Lemon balm "reduces time needed to heal cold sores by roughly half," according to certified nutritional consultant Phyllis Balch in her book "Prescription for Herbal Healing."

Step 1

Steep lemon balm in a covered cup to retain the healing oils.
Steep lemon balm in a covered cup to retain the healing oils.

Lemon balm tea is a tasty choice for those seeking the medicinal assistance of this herb. The flavor is both lemony and minty. The Commission E monograph recommends drinking a cup of lemon balm tea several times daily. Allow the tea to steep in a covered teacup for 10 minutes to guarantee maximum effectiveness. You can also apply the tea directly to cold sores with a cotton ball, notes the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Step 2

Lemon balm tincture, an alcohol-based liquid extract, is one of the best ways to treat a herpes outbreak. The alcohol draws out and preserves the flavonoids and phenolic acids that fight viruses. Take 2 or 3 ml of lemon balm tincture in water three times daily as soon as the herpes symptoms appear. Continue the dosage for a day or two after symptoms disappear to limit recurrence.

Step 3

If topical treatment is preferred, lemon balm is available in concentrated ointments or creams. The extract can be applied directly to lesions to reduce itching and inflammation. This medicine often strengthened with L-lysine amino acids to increase recovery time.

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