Herpes Simplex

silhouette of a man

Herpes simplex is a common viral infection of the mucous membranes of the skin.  Although there are at least seven types of herpes viruses, the main two are herpes simplex type 1 (HSV-1) and type 2 (HSV-2) which cause cold sores and genital herpes. Often the lesions caused by this infection are painful, and cause burning or itching.  These painful clusters of vesicles can occur on the lips, oral mucous membranes, genital region, and other areas of the body. The symptoms tend to return time and again, especially during periods of stress and a lower immune state of health.

After a primary infection, the virus travels to a nerve cell ganglion where it persists in a dormant phase for weeks, months, or sometimes years.  Various “stressor” factors can exacerbate the virus and cause an outbreak. Factors such as sun exposure, fever, infections, stress, fatigue, or menstruation, can reactivate the virus.  Recurrences are more common in the case of genital herpes. People with cancer, HIV, and other diseases with impaired immune systems are especially prone to infection and recurrence.

Genital herpes is the most prevalent sexually transmitted disease in the United States. More than 45 million Americans have it, though more than half never develop serious symptoms.  The viral infection can range from silent to a serious inflammation of the liver with fever. The first attack of genital herpes usually comes within twenty days after exposure. Pus may erupt from the blisters, and they may become painful sores that last a week or more.  

Short-term treatment by physicians has been to prescribe acyclovir (topical salve) that can help to accelerate the healing of the outbreak. The oral form of the medication is prescribed continuously for people with frequent recurrences. While acyclovir can reduce recurrences by 60-90 percent, it can cause a wide variety of side effects, including kidney and renal complications, hepatitis, and allergic shock (anaphylaxis).  

DIET

Ingestion of large amounts of refined carbohydrates (simple sugars such as colas, white flour, processed foods) appears to impair certain parameters of immune function.  Although not clearly establish by science, intake of refined carbohydrates may cause an increased recurrence. Elimination of refined sugars will also minimize “candida,” which can also exacerbate the herpes virus.  In fact, both herpes and candida should be treated concomitantly in present.  

Drinking plenty of (distilled) water, eating a more vegetarian diet (full of vegetables, fibrous fruits, legumes and whole grains), soups, herbal teas, and certain nuts, can help to assure maximum antioxidant effect, minimize mucous, and enable antibiotic drugs or herbals work more effectively when they are needed.

The Elimination Diet is a helpful tool in identifying certain food allergens that may be a concomitant cause of certain bacterial infections.

Remember that diet, nutrition, exercise, stress management, and environment play an important role in any type of infection. In addition to eating a healthier diet of natural, whole foods, and supplementing with appropriate vitamins and minerals. 

SUPPLEMENT PROTOCOL

  1. LYSINE (VERSUS ARGININE)
    The proteins synthesized by herpes simplex virus contain more arginine and less lysine than proteins synthesized by host cells.  Lysine appears to anatomize arginine by several mechanisms. It competes with arginine for intestinal absorption. Lysine supplementation is of value for the prevention and treatment of herpes infections. There are creams available mad from lysine and zinc and are extremely affected topical treatments.  Dosage: 500-3, 000 mg daily.
  2. VITAMIN C with BIOFLAVONOIDS (QUERCETIN)
    These potent antioxidant vitamins have been shown to inactivate a wide range of viruses, including
    herpes simplex. Vitamin C also shows antibiotic and antiviral activity and is needed to prevent sores and inhibit the growth of the virus.  Dosage: 500-3,000 mg daily as a maintenance dose. For treatment of acute episodes, up to 10,000 mg per day, or until bowel tolerance, for 5-10 days might be considered, lower dosages for children. Bioflavonoids 30-100 mg daily.
  3. ZINC
    Zinc ions have been shown to boost the immune system and inhibit the replication of the herpes virus. Topical application of various zinc preparations has been reported effective in the treatment of topical herpes infections in humans.  Topical zinc solutions should be used in low concentration so that they do not irritate the skin. Dosage: Oral Zinc 50-100 mg daily; Topical or solution, as directed.
  4. VITAMIN E and VITAMIN A
    Vitamin E is important in healing and may prevent the spread of the infection. Topical applications of vitamin E oil relieved pain and aided in the healing of oral herpes lesions.  In some cases vitamin E capsules have been cut opened and the oil has been applied topically to the lesions with success. Vitamin A with mixed carotenoids are also important in healing and may prevent the spread of the infection. Dosage: Vitamin E, Up to 600 IU daily; Vitamin A, 10.000-25,000 IU daily, or as directed by practitioner.                                                                                                  
  5. BETA 1,3 D-GLUCAN
    Beta-glucan is a complex polysaccharide composed of glucose molecules extracted and purified from the cell wall of common baker’s yeast. Beta-glucan is useful in treating any bacterial, viral, or fungal infection or disease.  Beta-glucan stimulates macrophages – immune cells that surround and digest invading microorganisms. Dosage: As directed on package. 
  6. LEMON BALM
    The extract from this herb have been used as a topical treatment for the herpes virus for hundreds of years. Dosage: the cream should be applied 3 or 4 times a day for at least a five day period.  
  7. HOMEOPATHY
    Although it is not widely used in the United States, homeopathy is popular in many other countries and gives a viable alternative to antibiotics. Three of the common homeopathic remedies used are
    Belladonna, Capsicum and Kalium bichromicum. Dosage: As directed on package. 
  8. ELDERBERRY (SAMBUCUS NIGRA)
    A study was done on the effects of an elderberry preparation (Sambucol) on four strains of herpes simplex, and two strains that were resistant to acyclovir treatment.  Viral replication was inhibited ion all four strains. Dosage: As directed on package.
  9. PROBIOTICS
    Probiotics are collections of “good” bacteria that help to balance the flora of the intestines, thus reducing the risk of infection. Probiotics are especially needed with and after use the use of an antibiotic since in addition to killing harmful bacteria, they also kill the beneficial bacteria. The most common and safe probiotics used in children and infants are
    Lactobacillus acidophlilus and Lactobacillus bifudis. Use live probiotics when possible, keep in the refrigerator. Dosage: As directed on package. 
  10. COLLOIDAL SILVER
    A natural antibiotic that destroys bacteria, viruses and fungi. Colloidal silver also promotes healing and some regeneration of tissues. Dosage: Usual dose is one teaspoon initially, followed by one teaspoon 4 times a day for adults. Use as directed on individual package. Do not use for extended periods. 
  11. ASTRAGALUS
    This is an immune-boosting herb from China. Astragalus increases the body’s natural killer cell activity, increases gamma and alpha interferon, the body’s own antiviral compounds. Astragalus can act like an herbal antibiotic. Dosage: As directed on package or by a qualified practitioner.
  12. OTHER HERBAL TREATMENTS
    There are various herbs that support the immune system and therefore may be used for treatment of herpes. PEPPERMINT, ECHINACEA, LICORICE, and CREOSOTE BUSH.  In some instances, topical application of high concentrations of licorice root, has been shown to irreversibly inactivate HSV
    in vitro. Dosage: As directed on package. 
  13. LITHIUM
    There have been studies suggesting that oral or topical lithium is beneficial in inhibiting the replication of the herpes simplex virus.  There have been reports that patients prescribed lithium carbonate for depression or other psychiatric problems experienced a reduction in outbreaks of oral or genital herpes.  Dosage: As prescribed by a physician or qualified health practitioner. 
  14. DRAGON’S BLOOD
    This Amazonian herb also known as
    Sangre de drago has anti-viral and wound healing properties. It is especially useful against viral sores caused by herpes. Also Dragon’s blood is used to heal infections that may arise from cuts and abrasions. Dosage: Only under the supervision of a practitioner familiar with this herb. 
  15. GOLDENSEAL (BERBERINE)
    Goldenseal has a superior antibiotic action (due to its high content of the alkaloid berberine), rivaling prescription antibiotics in activity. Goldenseal has been successfully used against a wide variety of pathogens. Dosage: Use only as directed on the bottle, and nor for extended periods. 
  16. TEA TREE OIL
    The essential oil from various species of melaleuca, tea tree oil is active against most forms of fungus that cause skin infections. Dosage: As directed. 

 

Ames, M. Herpes: Comprehensive Treatment Strategy. Int’l Journal of Integrative Medicine, Sept/October 2000. 2(5): 6-11.

Balach, PA, Balch, JF. Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Third edition. Penguin-Putman, 2000.

Duke, JA. The Green Pharmacy, Rodale Press, Emmaus, PA. 1997.

Gaby, AR., Wright, J. Notes at Nutritional Conference, 1996, Seattle, WA.

Gaby, AR. Natural Remedies for Herpes simplex. Alternative Medicine Review, June 2006. 11(2): 93-101.

Jones, CL. Fight Fungus with Five Topical Herbs. Nutrition Science News, December 1998. 3(12): 630-634.

Sambucus Nigra (Elderberry)- Monograph. Alternative Medicine Review, March 2005. 10(1): 51-56.

Singh, BB, Udani, J. Safety and Effectiveness of an L-Lysine, Zinc and Herbal-Based Product on The Treatment of Facial and Circumoral Herpes. Alternative Medicine Review, June 2006. 10(2): 123-126.

Up Next: Endometriosis

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *