Some people prefer to manage herpes infections at home with over-the-counter painkillers and home remedies to relieve symptoms. Remember the basics are important – take warm showers daily or more often, wash hands frequently and avoid touching the sores, drink plenty of water, use ice packs to alleviate pain and reduce irritation, avoid tight-fitting clothing, and over the counter pain relievers may be used to reduce pain and/or fever. In addition to the above there are several home remedies for relief of herpes symptoms. Below is a list that can be tried at home to relieve pain and itching and help speed healing.
Epsom salt bath – to cleanse, soothe and alleviate itching and tenderness, and dry out the herpes sores. Put in a warm, not hot, bath and soak for 10 – 20 minutes or longer if desired.
Black Tea Bags – Using any common black tea bag make a cup of tea, allow to cool. Apply the warm, not hot, or cooled tea bag directly to the affected area for about 5 minutes. This can be repeated 2-3 times a day for relief of symptoms. Black Tea leaf contains high concentrations of tannins that have both anti-inflammatory and antiviral effects.
Apple cider vinegar is one of the oldest home remedies for cold sores, herpes and wounds. Soak a cotton ball with apple cider vinegar and place on the area as soon as you feel tingling. Some people apply the cotton ball and keep it on the area with a bandaid. Change, or reapply, several times during the day and keep on overnight. When treatment is started during the prodromal stage this may prevent the breakout.
Hydrogen Peroxide is said to be antiviral and will help dry out the sores. Apply several times daily to the affected area with a cotton ball or Q-tip.
Baking soda or Cornstarch can be applied to a herpes infection to help dry out the sores and relieve itching.
Aloe Vera contains numerous vitamins and minerals, enzymes, amino acids, natural sugars and agents which may be anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial. It is used to promote the healing of wounds. It can also be taken internally for its antiviral effect. Aloe juice can be taken daily for chronic viral infections. Recent research has identified several immune stimulating compounds in aloe gel.
Garlic (Allium sativum), has been proven to kill various fungal infections, viruses, bacteria, and intestinal parasites. Fresh garlic extract has been proven to be an effective antiviral agent against HSV1 and 2, when thiosulfinates are the active ingredients. Garlic has been shown to increase the time period between outbreaks and has been recommended both orally and topically to minimize the symptoms of oral and genital herpes.
Manuka Honey is antibacterial and antiviral and known for its healing properties. In clinical trials Manuka Honey was found to accelerate the healing of HSV lesions. It can be applied directly to the affected area several times daily.
Licorice is known to have antiviral properties and it also helps to reduce inflammation and speed healing time. It contains glycyrrhizin, a steroid-like substance that can alleviate pain and speed healing of herpes lesions. A tea can be made by boiling one teaspoon of shredded licorice root per cup of water for 5-10 minutes. It should be applied topically and taken internally for best results. Drink 4 – 5 cups of the tea per day and apply a cloth soaked in the tea to the affected area to help speed healing.