Natural Therapies for Common Viruses

Prevention and Treatment of an HSV Outbreak  

The Herpes virus can commonly affect the oral regions and the genital regions. Both of these types of infections are quite common. Oral herpes is caused by infection with HSV-1 (Herpes simplex type 1).  This virus can affect the mouth, lips, eyes, and oropharynx. Genital herpes affects about 20% of women. Generally HSV-2 (Herpes simplex type 2) affects the genital region, however HSV-1 can also affect the genital regions.

The first outbreak with a genital Herpes virus exposure tends to be the worst, and usually occurs one week after exposure. Symptoms can however occur as soon as 5 days and as late as 30 days after exposure. The initial outbreak after exposure may be painful and severe, the lesions progress to ulcers, several ulcers may appear in the first 3 to 4 weeks. The lesions may heal within 1 to 6 weeks. During the first outbreak, systemic symptoms may be present such as fatigue, malaise, and enlarged lymph nodes. Approximately 50% of women with an initial outbreak will have a second outbreak within 6 months, and 80% will have a second outbreak within 1 year. Some women will have multiple outbreaks of up to 6 to 10 recurrences in the first year. These recurrent outbreaks tend to be milder and shorter in duration. Not everyone however will experience recurrent outbreaks, and some will have no additional outbreaks post the initial one.

Since the virus lays dormant in the body after the initial exposure, maintenance of excellent health, controlling stress and optimization of the immune system is important to controlling recurrent outbreaks.

1.  Nutritional support

The basics of a healthy diet should be followed; concentrating on a plant based diet, avoiding processed foods, eat whole grains, eliminate bad fats, concentrate on reducing arginine in the diet, increase lysine, eat organic. High arginine foods to avoid include chocolate, peanuts, cashews, almonds, and sun flower seeds. High lysine foods to eat include vegetables, beans, fish, turkey and chicken. Sugar should be avoided.

2.  Supplements

Lysine – studies have shown inconsistent results. The dosage is typically 1 gram to be used 3 times per day. Lysine may also be applied topically to lesions.

Vitamin C – may be helpful. 600 mg of vitamin C, combined with 600 mg of bioflavonoids three times a day for 3 days post prodrome may help to lessen the recurrent outbreak.

B complex vitamin – 50 mg each day may be helpful.

Topical Vitamin E

Zinc – 25 mg 2 times per day for 6 weeks may be beneficial to reduce severity and duration of an outbreak. Zinc may also be used in a topical form.

Lemon balm – may be applied topically. The balm can be applied up to 4 times per day.

Herbal support – include licorice, myrrh, goldenseal, and St. Johns Wort. Echinacea, thuja, lomatium, and astragalus may help with immune support.

Essential oils – clove oil, tea tree oil and myrhh topically applied may be beneficial. They can be applied in 1 to 3 drops and placed in a carrier oil to avoid skin irritation. They ca be applied three times a day.

3. Lifestyle

Stress management may be helpful

4. Precautions

Do not touch open ulcers, if you do wash your hands

Do not kiss if you have an open sore on the mouth

Use only natural and mild soaps on affected areas

Do not have sexual contact during a prodrome or an active outbreak. If you have a history of genital Herpes use condoms to limit transmission of the virus.

Speak to you partner.

Get support

Always review with your physician if natural support is appropriate. For immunocompromised and significant HSV infections, physician and medicinal support with appropriate  anti virals is indicated.