Herbal remedies have been used since the beginning of recorded history. All ancient civilizations have records of herbal cures and their effectiveness against disease.
There are certain herbs that have been found to be helpful for herpes and cold sores. People turn to natural options for various reasons including cost, safety, effectiveness, and because many people would prefer not to take suppressive medication. Some herbs or supplements can interact with medications and may not agree with a particular person, so it is always recommended to first consult your physician before beginning any treatment program.
Every day more and more studies are being conducted that provide consistent data evidencing specific natural compounds can reduce the activity of the herpes virus and viral shedding. A simple supplement regime has helped many to successfully eliminate their herpes symptoms. Medicinal herbs may help to increase the body’s immune response against herpes viruses, prevent future outbreaks, and provide some resistance to infection.
The most notable of the herbal supplements are Andrographis combined with Echinacea, Olive Leaf, St John’s Wort, and Lemon Balm. The following is information on some of the herbs and oils that have been found to work well for many.
Andrographis (Andrographis paniculata)
Andrographis is a bitter herb. It is commonly used in Asia as an effective remedy for fighting infections and strengthening the immune system.
Strengthening the body’s immune system is the most effective way to prevent outbreaks. Once exposed to the herpes virus, outbreaks are typically related to times when the immune system is weakened or under pressure, such as from stress, illness, fatigue, diet, surgery, over exposure to sunlight, medications, etc. This is why Andrographis is indicated for the treatment and management of herpes. The effectiveness of this herb has been found to be enhanced when it is combined with immune stimulators, such as Echinacea, zinc and vitamin C.
Andrographis interferes with viral reproduction and stimulates the production of antibodies and large white blood cells (macrophages) that kill invading viruses.
Andrographis is considered a safe herb with very low toxicity. It is not recommended during pregnancy and should not be used if there is a known allergy to the daisy plant family.
Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea)
Echinacea is an immune stimulant. It is recommended to be taken along with Andrographis to improve its effectiveness. These two herbs taken together have been shown to be a powerful immune system booster and also specifically targets and destroys viral infected cells.
Echinacea is one of the most well known and researched herbs in the world. There have been almost 400 research papers about Echinacea appearing in scientific literature in the last 70 years. It has been shown to have strong antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. Some case studies have shown promising results with Echinacea reducing the frequency and intensity of herpes outbreaks when taken consistently.
This herb also appears to prevent infection and assist the body in repairing tissue damaged by infection.
Echinacea, especially when combined with Andrographis, is a powerful antiviral immune stimulant and may be effective in helping to prevent HSV-1 and HSV-2 recurrences. Due to the herbs response to restoring the skin after infection and reducing inflammation, it may also assist healing during active outbreaks.
Echinacea is considered a very safe herb. It is also generally safe and effective for use in people who have auto-immune diseases, such as HIV, Lupus and Crohn’s Disease, but should not be taken by individuals who are taking immunosuppressant medication.
Olive Leaf (Olea europaea)
The medicinal properties of the Olive leaf have been known by people in the Middle East for centuries. Tea was made from the leaves and it was believed to fight coughs, sore throat, fever and gout. Poultices were also made from the leaves for skin problems such as rashes and boils.
Olive leaf is showing impressive results against the herpes viruses, including HSV-1, HSV-2 and Herpes zoster, in anecdotal and clinical trials. It has demonstrated antibacterial and antiviral properties. The olive leaf contains a natural compound called oleuropein, which has been found to be lethal to the Herpes simplex viruses Type 1 and 2 in clinical studies performed by Upjohn Pharmaceuticals. These trials found it inactivated the herpes virus and prevented it from entering cells.
Olive leaf extract has the ability to interfere with critical amino acid production essential for viruses. Olive leaf extract has been demonstrated to have antiviral properties against both HSV Type 1 and 2, and has been proven in comprehensive clinical trials to reduce herpes viral shedding and stop viral replication. It has also been shown to have the ability to directly penetrate viral infected cells, to neutralize the function of the herpes virus at a cell level.
As well as being a powerful antiviral herb, Olive Leaf can also be helpful for yeast and fungal infections, boosting the immune system, protecting the heart, raising energy levels and helping to cure infections.
Olive Leaf Extract is nontoxic, but because it kills many germs very quickly, it can cause flulike reactions in some people. It should never be used along with antibiotics as it can inactivate them. It should also not be used by individuals taking insulin or oral hypoglycaemic agents. If taking any prescription medication consult your physician before taking Olive Leaf.
St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)
Studies have found that an extract of the plant was effective in reducing the frequency and severity of recurrent episodes of oral and genital herpes. St John’s Wort is also known to have potent antiviral and antibacterial properties. One of the components in St John’s Wort, hypericin, has been shown in studies to have antiviral activity against several viruses including herpes.
Red Marine Algae
Red marine algae has been included in the diet of Asians for thousands of years because of its highly nutritious qualities. It has also been found to be very effective in fighting herpes infections. Current research on Red Marine Algae has shown promising results in the control and reduction of the Herpes simplex virus. Clinical trials have shown that sulfated polysaccharides, rich in Red Marine Algae, can suppress HIV, herpes, and influenza viruses.
Studies also show that the carbohydrates extracted from red marine algae (carrageenans) do not permit binding of unfriendly proteins to a cell’s surface, which effectively blocks the virus from attacking the cell. The carrageenans have been shown to be effective for treating patients with herpes infections.
Red marine algae can be used both orally and topically to provide relief from symptoms of herpes infections. Red Marine Algae is considered very safe and there have been no side effects or toxicity reported from its use.
Prunella vulgaris is a perennial plant found in China, the British Isles, Europe, and North America. This herbal remedy looks promising for treatment of herpes infections. Recently, research has shown that a cream made from constituents in Prunella Vulgaris are useful in lessening or stopping outbreaks. Studies on animals infected with HSV 1 and HSV 2 developed fewer lesions when treated with a topical cream was created containing a derivative from Prunella vulgaris than those who did not receive the treatment.
Prunella can be used safely internally (used in salads, soups, stews, or boiled as a pot herb) and externally in a wash or salve.
Lemon Balm (Melissa extract and Melissa oil)
In research Lemon balm has been shown to have antiviral effects against the herpes virus. It has natural properties that inhibit the virus. Applying strong lemon balm extracts to initial herpes outbreaks can prevent recurrence, or can speed healing.
Melissa extracts and Melissa essential oils are now available in creams and capsule forms. It can also be consumed internally as tea, made from the dried herb.
Lemon Balm can be taken long term without side effects.
Recent anecdotal accounts suggest that application of coconut oil, especially in the prodromal stage, provides some symptom relief to patients with outbreaks of herpes infections. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which has a broad spectrum of antiviral and antifungal action.
Oil of Oregano
Oil of Oregano has been shown to be beneficial in many areas. It is an immune system stimulant, an anti-inflammatory as well as an analgesic. Studies have confirmed that Oil of Oregano, an extract from the herb, also has antiviral, antifungal, and antiparasitic properties. A study published in 1996 in Medical Sciences Research, showed that this potent herb killed RNA and DNA viruses (like HSV1, HSV 2 and Herpes Zoster).
Applied topically, Oil of Oregano has been found to stop the progression of cold sores very effectively. A thin coating of the oil applied during the prodromal stage often prevents the outbreak altogether.
Do not use Oil of Oregano in combination with other medication, especially blood thinners. Do not use if you have a liver or kidney condition. Keep the oil from getting into the eyes as it can cause severe burning and itching sensation. Do not use in high doses, please note that essential oils in large doses are known to be toxic to the nervous system.
Jojoba oil helps encourage healing of the skin. Due to its antimicrobial properties it is able to prevent the growth of some bacterial and fungal microbes that attack the skin. Jojoba oil contains nutrients, like vitamin E, B complex vitamins and the minerals silicon, chromium, copper and zinc, so it can be helpful in healing cold sores. In addition, the chemical composition of jojoba closely resembles that of the skin’s natural sebum, so it is easily absorbed and rarely causes allergic reactions, even in the most sensitive individuals.
Tea Tree (Melaleuca) and Eucalyptus oils are natural antibacterials that are effective against the symptoms of herpes infections and also seem to speed healing. The antiviral properties of the oils may fight many common infectious diseases such as herpes.
Palmarosa Oil has antimicrobial, antiseptic, bactericidal properties among others, which makes it an excellent choice for the treatment of herpes. It can be used topically and taken internally.
Ravensara Oil has been in use for centuries as a tonic and for fighting infections. Modern studies on this oil have revealed many other medicinal values. Ravensara Oil has analgesic, antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral, antifungal, and antiseptic properties. Can be used internally or applied externally.
Lavender is beneficial against the cold sore/herpes virus. A blend of peppermint and lavender oils is often recommended for herpes. It can sometimes halt an outbreak if applied during the prodormal stage, before the blisters appear.
Myrrh is an herb that has three main constituents, the resin, the gum, and the volatile oil. All are thought to be important in herbal medicine. The therapeutic resin has reportedly been shown to kill various microbes and to stimulate macrophages (a type of white blood cell) in test tube studies. It also has astringent properties and fights inflammation.
Sage is an antiseptic that will kill most bacteria and viruses that it comes in contact with.