Herbs for Herpes

Before anyone use herbs to treat body and skin diseases, they must remember that herbs contain active substances that can trigger side effects and interact with other herbs, supplements or medications. As such, herbs should be consumed and used under the supervision of a practitioner knowledgeable in herbal medicine.

At Health and Age, there is a list of 6 common herbs used to improve herpes conditions. I have extracted some of the more commons ones here:

1. Aloe (Aloe vera)
Preliminary evidence suggests that aloe gel used topically may improve the symptoms of genital herpes. Whether this same use of aloe will apply to oral herpes lesions is not known, but it may be worth trying in order to reduce the length and severity of your symptoms. Talk to your doctor about the possibility of using topical aloe vera for herpes lesions.

3. Lemon Balm (Melissa officianalis)
Some studies suggest that topical ointments containing lemon balm may help heal herpes cold sores. In one study of 116 people with HSV, for example, those who applied lemon balm cream to their lip sores experienced significant improvement in redness and swelling after only two days. Although other symptoms (such as pain and scabbing) did not improve, both the participants and their physicians reported that the lemon balm ointment was highly effective. Several animal studies also support the value of topical lemon balm for oral herpes lesions.

3. Peppermint Oil (Mentha x piperita)
In test tubes, peppermint oil has exhibited antiviral properties against a number of infectious agents, including herpes. Whether this would translate into help for relieving herpes lesions is not known at this point.

4. Sage-Rhubarb Cream
In one Swiss study, a cream made from sage (Salvia officinialis) and rhubarb (Rheum palmatum) lessened the length of time that herpes lesions were present to the same extent as the medication acyclovir. More research on this topic would be helpful.

5. Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus/Acanthopanax senticosus)
Although not all studies agree, one 6-month study of 93 people with HSV-2 (which, again, generally causes genital herpes lesions) found that Siberian ginseng reduced the frequency, severity, and duration of outbreaks. This herb should not be given to children and should not be taken if you have high blood pressure, obstructive sleep apnea (repeated, prolonged periods when breathing stops while sleeping), narcolepsy (frequent day time sleeping), are pregnant or breastfeeding.

6. Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)
Use of tea tree oil, applied topically in gel form, has some popularity for herpes lesions on the lips. Although more research is needed before definitive conclusions can be drawn, there is some scientific basis for this use. First, in test tubes, tea tree oil has the ability to fight both strains of herpes viruses (HSV 1 and HSV 2). Secondly, there has been one small study comparing use of tea tree oil gel to placebo in those with recurrent oral herpes. The herpes lesions of those who used the tea tree oil healed more quickly than those who used placebo. Studies of larger numbers of people are necessary, however, along with studies that compare tea tree oil to medications used for herpes.

To try to prevent herpes outbreaks, herbalists may also consider remedies that help strengthen your immune system or act as adaptogens (substances that help relieve stress).

There are lots of online communities where members support each other in their struggle with this disease. Herpes sufferers may want like to exchange notes with fellow sufferers to have a better understanding of using herbs on herpes skin.

Additional Reading:

Stop Herpes Now & From Coming Back for Good by Dr David Hogg

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