Approximately 1 in 5 people has had a genital herpes infection caused by the herpes simplex 2 virus, which is transmitted through sexual intercourse, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). With some 45 million people infected with HSV-2, Internet marketers hawking false hope for a herpes cure have a huge potential customer base on which to prey. The Yang herpes cure is one such product that claims to cure both genital herpes caused by HSV-2 virus as well as the oral herpes (cold sores) caused by herpes simplex 1.
The Yang Zhi Herbal’s Herpes Cure
Yang Zhi Herbal Products are sold through a website, the content of which is power-packed with keywords designed to ratchet the site up to the top of your search engine. The concept of Zang Zhi products is appealing to naive consumers and those who wish to treat herpes in a holistic manner, using herbs, nutritional supplements and Chinese medicine. Zang Zhi Herbals sells a topical “balm,” which purportedly can be used to treat HSV infections of the mouth and genitals. The website points out that gold standard treatment for herpes (anti-virals) is expensive and sold in small amounts, whereas the Zang Zhi products are a “mere” $16.95, plus shipping and handling, and are only available if consumers pay through money order. While the site promises a 90-day money back guarantee, consider that it is easier to contest a charge to a credit or debit card than it is to receive reimbursement when a product is paid for in cash. This should send up a red flag to consumers.
Yang Zhi Claims
Those suffering from genital herpes want to believe that there is a cure for painful outbreaks that does not involve an embarrassing trip to the doctor and expensive prescription medications. Yang Zhi makes a variety of impossible claims about its “herpes cure” products. The marketers of this product also claim that those infected with the virus can use the product before and after sex to avoid transmitting the virus to a sexual partner, that using the cream daily results in fewer herpes outbreaks, and that Zang Zhi products are “superior to some prescription creams.” However, given the fact that physicians do not advocate using topical applications on herpes outbreaks, it is unclear to which prescription creams the marketers of Zang Zhi are referring.
No Herpes Cure
The unfortunate fact is that there is no herpes cure. Once the herpes virus passes into the body through small breaks in the skin (e.g., the vagina, in the case or genital herpes), it finds refuge in certain nerve centers of the body, where it lays dormant until it is activated. Genital herpes can be passed from one person to another even in the absence of active lesions through asymptomatic shedding of the virus. According to the Mayo Clinic, the way to prevent genital herpes from spreading is to use (or have your partner use) a latex condom during sex, limit your number of sexual partners and avoid intercourse when one partner has an active herpes outbreak.
According to Lois McGuire, a women’s health nurse practitioner at the Mayo Clinic, there is no consumer product or over-the counter medication that is effective in treating herpes (even L-lysine, a frequently discussed OTC herpes treatment, has only anecdotal support). Applying a topical cream, such as that offered by Yang Zhi, might exacerbate herpes symptoms, as lesions resolve more quickly when the infected area is kept clean and dry. McGuire suggests wearing loose clothing and cotton underwear and use a drying agent, such as cornstarch, when taking baths. Ice packs applied to herpes lesions can reduce irritation, and those who search for a more holistic approach to treating herpes symptoms can apply moist tea bags to the area (tannic acid in black tea has soothing properties). Use of prescription oral medication is never mandatory; however, products such as Yang Zhi herbal cream will not protect your partner against herpes. The best way to prevent herpes from spreading is through suppressive (daily) oral drug therapy.
FDA-Approved Herpes Treatment
Before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves a prescription medication, the drug goes through extensive laboratory study and clinical evaluation to make sure that it does what it claims to do. Anything not approved by the FDA, therefore, should be suspect. FDA-approved anti-virals work systemically by inhibiting DNA synthesis that causes the herpes virus to reproduce. There are three oral anti-virals approved by the FDA for herpes treatment–acyclovir, famciclovir and valacyclovir–which go by the trade names Zovirax, Famvir and Valtrex, respectively. It is important to note at the bottom of the Yang Zhi website this disclaimer: “The United States Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated this product and consequently is (sic) not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”
Yang Zhi and Consumer Responsibility
You may wonder how Internet marketers promoting products such as Yang Zhi can get away with making herpes cure claims in its advertising. Consumers should be educated in the concept of “puffery,” which legally protects even the most unethical marketer. Puffery is a statement or claim that no reasonable person would believe to be true–such as Yang Zhi’s claim to sell a cure for an incurable disease. Before you invest in snake oil products, get the facts–and get them from a medical professional experienced in treating herpes.