Alternative Herpes Treatments

Alternative Herpes Treatments

Herpes is caused by the virus herpes simplex and an estimated one in six people suffer from this disease worldwide.

There are two common types of this virus: herpes simplex 1, which is milder and usually occurs around the mouth and lips and herpes simplex 2, which is more severe and usually occurs around the genitals.

Both are characterized by painful blisters and are highly infectious. Outbreaks can last up to four weeks if not controlled by some sort of treatment. There is no cure for this virus only management which focuses on reducing the frequency, duration and severity of the outbreak. Alternative medicine has gained ground in recent years as an effective treatment for herpes in all its forms. Herbs, diet and effective stress management techniques are all in the forefront of this research and it has been concluded that synthetic drugs are not necessarily the best course of action when looking for relief of symptoms.

The herpes virus lays dormant until it is triggered by factors which include stress, illness, menstruation, compromised or weak immune system and extreme temperature fluctuations. Different people respond to different triggers, so often several outbreaks of the virus are required before individual triggers are recognized. There are drug treatments available but alternative treatments have also been found to be extremely effective in helping the three important areas of herpes treatment which are boosting immunity, topical relief for symptoms and reducing stress.

Diet Related Herpes Treatments

There are many alternative herpes treatments which are very effective. They focus mainly on diet, herbal remedies and stress relief techniques. Diet is crucial to help manage herpes; a bad diet can severely compromise the immune system. Many foods have been found to both suppress and trigger the virus. Foods high in the amino acid lysine suppress the outbreaks so incorporating these in the diet is a great preventative measure. High lysine foods include many fruits and vegetables, fish, chicken, brewer’s yeast, whole grain products and many other foods usually associated with a healthy balanced diet. Foods to avoid are ones high in the amino acid arganine and they include chocolate, coffee, peanuts, sodas and anything fatty or sweetened with refined products.

Some well established herbal remedies for herpes which can be taken as supplements, teas, or used topically include echinacea (immune), St John’s Wort (stress and topically to dry lesions), aloe vera (topically), lemon balm (in tea or use essential oil), peppermint (antiviral) and Siberian ginseng (stress relief). Stress relieving alternative treatments impact lifestyle and are geared towards a better mind/body connection. Herpes outbreaks occur much less often in individuals practicing yoga or mediation and people having acupuncture treatments and regular soothing massages. These few lifestyle changes, which are very beneficial to the body anyway, can have a huge positive effect on the discomforts of herpes.

Alternative Herpes Treatments

There are many potential alternative treatments for herpes that are currently in the study stages now. These treatments have shown encouraging results in clinical trials but more research is required to make sure. However, including these products in a treatment plan or diet will cause no ill effects and the perceived benefits could help in herpes management. Some of these potential treatments include:

  • Broccoli, which contains indole-3-carbinaol, which is successful in limiting herpes reproduction.
  • Tea (green or white) has antiviral and antioxidant components which help boost the immune system and can actually kill bacteria in the mouth. Tea supplements can be taken if a cup of tea isn’t an option.
  • Enzyme therapy also shows some potential for boosting the immune system. The naturally occurring enzymes in food are destroyed when it is cooked over 118 degrees F so eating a diet of raw foods and vegetable juices can be beneficial to treatment.
  • Cranberries also have been found to suppress herpes 2 outbreaks in clinical trials, so juice and capsules can be included in the diet for positive effects.

Most of these potential alternative treatments for herpes all circle around diet related solutions.

Many people think that herb based alternative treatments are healthy and safe because they are natural. Herbs can cause very serious and powerful side effects when combined with other treatment agents, each other or in the wrong quantity. Always consult an expert when undertaking a treatment plan and follow any recommendations.

  • Hill, John W. Natural Treatments for Gentil Herpes, Cold Sores and Shingles. Yelm, WA: Clear Springs Press, 2008.
  • "How to Control Herpes with Diet." 2007. Health.InfoNIAC. 29 October 2009 .
  • Sara L Thomas, Jeremy G Wheeler, Andrew J Hall. "Micronutrient intake and the risk of herpes zoster: a case–control study ." International Journal of Epidemiology (2006): 307-314.

Written by Mark Riegel, MD

Latest Stories

Here’s what we've been up to recently.

Concerned about an STD?

Help stop the spread of STDs by knowing your status. Get tested today!