List of Herbs That Treat HERPES
Here is a great list I am compiling for those of you fellow herpes sufferers who are looking for natural or herbal alternatives to acyclovir (Valtrex, Famivir, etc.) for preventing herpes outbreaks as well as treating sores that have already emerged.
*These methods do not necessarily work for everyone, and there is skepticism among some medical personnel regarding the safety or effectiveness of these treatments. You may want to consult an herbalist or naturopath before beginning treatment. This being said, I have tried nearly every herbal remedy listed here on my own risk and have not experienced side effects*
Coconut oil- if you’re not already an advocate for Coconut oil in general, i HIGHLY recommend you include this magic substance in your life! Coconut oil has anti-viral and anti-fungal properties, and alongside promoting healthy teeth, skin, organs and hair when taken orally, it is also an analgesic and anti-inflammatory when applied topically to wounds. The Lauric acid in coconut oil is thought to ward off, fight and prevent replication of the Herpes simplex Virus. I recommend using it daily in cooking, as a moisturizer, and of course, topically to cold sores and genital OBs to soothe the area and promote healing.
Olive Leaf Extract- One of the first herbal treatments I tried. Research suggests that olive leaf may be a true antiviral compound because it appears to selectively block an entire virus-specific system in the infected host. It then appears to offer healing effects not addressed by pharmaceutical antibiotics. Olive leaf’s broad killing power includes an ability to interfere with critical amino acid production for viruses; an ability to contain viral infection and/or spread by inactivating viruses by preventing virus shredding, budding or assembly at the cell membrane; and the ability to directly penetrate infected cells and stop viral replication. I usually take 30-60 drops daily during the onset of an OB (prodrome phase) and it can prevent the sore from even surfacing. I continue this treatment for the duration of a cold sore, should one appear.
Essential Oils- Many people believe in the healing powers of essential oils for different purposes. They are commonly used for aromatherapy, to promote relaxation and improve sinus congestion. For herpes, peppermint, eucalyptus, and tea tree oil have been said to be effective in soothing the sores for pain relief, as well as promoting faster healing.
CAUTION: POTENT. NOT FOR INTERNAL USE! Essential oils can be TOXIC when ingested orally! DO NOT USE FOR GENITAL OUTBREAKS.
Raw Honey- Some studies have shown that the microbial activity in RAW, unprocessed, unfiltered honey, can have antiviral properties and fight off herpes simplex from replicating when applied topically. These studies show that participants who applied raw honey topically several times daily had improvement in their outbreak as fast, or faster, than the prescription treatment acyclovir or the OTC treatment Abreva! I recommend Manuka honey, as it has hundreds of strains of beneficial bacteria. Raw honey can also draw fluid away from the sore, reducing swelling, redness, chafing and potential discomfort or pain.
Echinacea and Goldenseal- These herbs are commonly paired in herbal supplements because they work wonders together to prevent sickness. Echinacea boosts your immune system, helping your body fight off the herpes virus, while goldenseal is a powerful anti-fungal, anti-viral herb. These can be taken orally as tablets, pills or tinctures, but also come in some topical products. These are great to use at the first symptom. Echinacea also comes in tea, which is delicious with a spoonful of raw honey.
CAUTION: Echinacea can increase the effects of stimulant medications (such as those used to treat ADHD, CFS or Narcolepsy) and other CNS stimulants including caffeine. Consult a doctor if you take stimulants. Goldenseal should not be taken an excess of 1-2 weeks at a time and may cause upset stomach. Take with food or find topical ointment.
Green tea: Green tea can boost your immune system and help your body fight off herpes virus if your body contains enough of the active compounds (You must drink a LOT of green tea each day for this method to work). Drink your tea strong, with raw honey. The iced green tea they sell that contains mostly water, citric acid and high fructose corn syrup will NOT cut it here. Always brew your own tea so you know how concentrated it is. Using tea bags is also effective, as some tea including black tea, contains tannins which are anti-viral and anti-inflammatory.
L-Lysine: If you’ve had herpes for a bit, you should already know the theories behind Lysine and arginine, two compounds found in varieties of food. Arganine has been linked to increase in risk for OBs, being a trigger for many people. Arganine rich foods include nuts and legumes. Lysine works to possibly prevent OBs and speed up the healing process if the sores have already emerged. Usually taken as an herbal supplement orally, but can also be found in topical treatments.
Beeswax: Going along with the raw honey idea, Propolis is a compound made by honeybees which is contained in beeswax. Clinical studies have shown that propolis healed herpes sores faster than acyclovir! Thanks bees! We love you! Many lip creams/ointments use beeswax as a primary ingredient.
Lemon Balm- One of the most effective herbal remedies for herpes. It has flavonoids, phenolic acid, and rosmarinic acid, which helps in healing the sores or blisters. You can make tea and apply it using cotton swabs, take a tincture daily, or purchase it in the form of topical creams and ointments.
Corn Starch- Simple right? It seems that applying corn starch to a herpes sore helps keep it dry, drawing fluid away from the wound. This can reduce inflammation, swelling and redness, and prevent chafing. This promotes faster healing as well as soothing discomfort or pain.
Vitamin C: Everybody knows Vitamin C boosts the immune system and promotes a healthy body. It’s found in citrus fruit such as oranges but often taken as a supplement in tablet or tincture form, or as a drink mix (emergen- C). Taking vitamin C regularly can prevent Herpes outbreaks as well as help fight them when they emerge
CAUTION: Vitamin C may cause upset stomach if taken without food. Though unlikely, In extremely high doses, vitamin C has shown to be an abortifacient by promoting uterine contractions and preventing embryonic implantation (pregnancy). Consult your doctor before taking vitamin C supplements if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
Ultimately, I recommend a combination of these herbal treatments. You should certainly do more research before going out and buying these products, just to see what will work for you. Some herbs can interact with certain medications or substances, so please be aware of this before beginning treatment. See a naturopath or herbal specialist at your local supplement shop or health food store. Most people employed in the store sections with herbal supplements know at least a bit about their properties and uses.
Send me an inbox, as well, if you’re interested in knowing how these treatments worked for me personally. I do not take acyclovir for my oral outbreaks anymore!