The herpes simplex virus can infect the mouth area, where it’s called cold sores or fever blisters, or the pelvic area, where it’s called genital herpes. The disease itself cannot be cured, but there are numerous measures you can take to keep the symptoms at bay. The keys are boosting your immunity, controlling stress and treating the sores.
Herpes, either oral or genital, causes outbreaks of sores. Blisters form and remain a few days before breaking open and turning into sores. The sores dry up three or four days later and symptoms disappear until the next outbreak. Some people may have only one outbreak in a lifetime, but others have periodic recurrences–anywhere from once a month to once every few years. Usually, the herpes simplex 1 subtype causes cold sores and herpes simplex 2 causes genital herpes, but sometimes the opposite is true.
Herbal medicine practitioners recommend echinacea to pump up the immune system and ward off herpes outbreaks. Take it every day for three months at first. After that, take it any time you feel an outbreak of herpes is likely, such as during periods of high stress. It is highly recommended as a preventive measure for those prone to herpes. Suggested dosage if you’re taking it in tincture form is a quarter of a teaspoon three times per day. If you’re drinking it as a tea, three or four cups should do. Echinacea is also available in capsules, in which case you should take two, three times a day.
Stress busters can include anything you enjoy, from a good book to a long jog to a good meal. Here’s a recipe for a tea that some herbalists feel can decrease stress levels:
4 parts nettle
3 parts chamomile
3 parts oat straw
1 part passion flower
1 part skullcap
1 part St. John’s wort
Make an infusion with four to six tablespoons of the herbal mixture per quart of water.
Drink it whenever you feel tense.
Herpes sores can be painful and itchy. A variety of ointments and salves can be helpful. Aloe vera can be soothing, as can warm baths.
Here’s a recipe for a homemade paste you can apply:
1 part echinacea root powder
1 part goldenseal powder
1 part black walnut hull powder
Mix them all together. Add a bit of a lemon balm and St. John’s wort tincture to the mix for moisture.
Keep in mind, some people find that keeping the sores clean and dry and avoiding ointments and salves, is the best way to promote healing.
Also keep in mind, the natural remedies for promoting immunity and healing and relieving stress have little or not scientific backing, so it’s hard to pinpoint whether they really work and, if so, how well. If you need stronger treatment a physician can prescribe effective antiviral medications to suppress your symptoms.