Herpes is perhaps the most common and most published sexually transmitted disease (STD). Once infected, the herpes virus will remain dormant into the host’s body. As the immunity of the host drops, the virus turns aggressive and manifests as cold sores, blister or ulcers. Often people are judged on this condition and hence to save themselves from embarrassment, people tend to hide their condition rather than seeking treatment. But the question is how to get rid of herpes naturally?
Herpes has reoccurring symptoms, and one episode can last up to 10-14 days. In this space, we will discuss how to avoid the contraction of herpes and how to cure its symptoms naturally to get rid of this disease permanently.
Some facts and statistics about herpes
Did you know 85% of people who are herpes carriers are unaware of it? This may be because, in some carriers, herpes symptoms may never manifest at all.
Though the number of such carriers is less, herpes manifestations are seen in more than 50% of its carriers. More than 67% of the global population under the age of 50 have been affected by herpes (1).
Female herpes carriers are more in number than males. Genital herpes contraction is seen more in the middle-aged woman.
What exactly is herpes?
Herpes is a viral infection caused by a family of over 70 related viruses. Herpes simplex virus is the leading cause of genital and facial herpes.
Herpes simplex virus is of eight types, amongst these herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) is the most common (2). HSV-1 is the offending cause of cold sores whereas HSV-2 causes genital herpes.
These viruses are contracted through other people with active infection either by touching, kissing or sexual contact.
What are herpes symptoms?
Cold sores or blisters can appear around the lips, inside the mouth. HSV-1 causes herpetic gingivostomatitis and can involve the hard and soft palate of the mouth, the oral mucosa and even the tongue. Lymph nodes can swell up in your pelvic area and throat.
Genital herpes sores in men can appear inside or on the penis, scrotum, groin & thighs, buttocks and around the anus.
In women, the genital herpes blisters can appear on the labia, inside the vagina, groin & thighs, on the buttocks and around the anus.
Fever chills and headache can accompany the episode. Itching, burning, or a tingly feeling is felt where the blisters can occur.
The first episode is considered to be the most painful and can last for up to 2 to 20 days. For some individuals, the manifestation of the first episode can take up to one year (3).
Home remedies for herpes cure
1. Dietary changes for herpes cure
It is important to know that you might get herpes infection but if your immune system is strong enough then you may not face any outbreaks of this disease throughout your lifetime. You just have to get the proper nutrients to boost your immune system.
a. Foods high in zinc
Zinc is an amazing mineral which has numerous health benefits including cell repair and protection from viruses. It is also a great antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. If you are a non-vegetarian then you can include different meats and fish in your diet plan.
Vegetarians can stick to vegetables and dairy products to make up for sufficient zinc levels. There are also a number of supplements available in the market to top up zinc in your body.
b. Include fish for omega-3 intake
Fish are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 has tons of health benefits including healing and repair of tissues.
c. Consume more fruits and vegetables
In general, consume green vegetables and fruits in abundance. Legumes, spinach, orange & red vegetables, etc. have amino acids, anti-oxidant properties, vitamin c, etc. which prevents replication of herpes bacteria.
2. Antiviral herbs
Incorporating anti-viral herbs in our diet will not only treat the symptoms of herpes but in the long run diminish the recurrence rate of the infection.
a. Liquorice root
Liquorice root helps strengthen the immune system. The active ingredient present in liquorice root glycyrrhizin has antiviral properties that have shown to act against the herpes simplex virus.
Elderberry has active antiviral components which prevent the replication of herpes simplex virus. Elderberry also has anti-inflammatory components that help reduce the pain and swelling associated with canker sores.
Echinacea contains chemical compounds that have antibacterial, antiparasitic and antiviral properties. It has been shown to stop the replication of herpes virus by inhibiting the glycol- proteins in the virus (4).
The root of Astragalus contains astragaloside and polysaccharides compounds that strengthen our immune system and reduce the frequency of herpes outbreaks.
Reishi is also known as Ganoderma lucidum which is widely recommended by Chinese medicine for treatment of herpes. It is a type of mushroom which has active ingredients with a strong virucidal effect that can stop the growth and proliferation of virus (5).
Lomatium root has antiviral properties. It also strengthens the immune system of our body which helps decrease the episodes of cold sores.
Daily intake of these supplements will help strengthen the immune system to have a virustatic effect on herpes simplex virus.
L-lysine is an amino acid that has shown results in inhibiting the action of herpes simplex 1 virus. Daily intake of 500-1,000 milligrams of l-lysine on an empty stomach will reduce the severity and frequency of canker sores.
b. Vitamin c
Vitamin C is one of the natural alternatives that has shown effectiveness in preventing herpes simplex virus. A daily intake of 1,000 milligrams will boost immune function preventing the outbreak of herpes.
Beta-carotene and vitamin a are a key for immune support against viral illness. Flavonoids in conjunction with the carotenoids should be incorporated into the diet to provide strength and resistance against possible viral infection.
d. Omega 3 fatty acids
Food rich in omega-3 fatty acid like mussels, sardine, salmon will help reduce the inflammation associated with herpes. They also help heal the skin affected by canker sores.
4. Essential oils
Herpes simplex virus can develop resistance to the common antiviral drug and thus Essential oils can play a vital role in the treatment of herpes as they have antiviral properties.
a. Lemon balm oil
Lemon balm oil, the essential oil of the Melissa officinalis have shown promising results in the treatment of herpes simplex virus (6).
b. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil has shown signs of reducing the infection rate and frequency of cold sores and genital herpes.
c. Myrrh oil
Myrrh oil can cure the blisters in both oral herpes and genital herpes when used under 24 hours of the appearance of sore.
d. Peppermint oil
Peppermint oil has shown results in reducing the severity of herpes outbreaks. It has also shown the virucidal effect on herpes virus.
The component allicin and ajoene found in garlic have shown virucidal properties.Garlic also has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce the inflammation associated with canker sores.
6. Aloe vera
Aloe vera has been used for soothing symptoms associated with herpes. Aloe vera soothes the blisters and sores, helping reduce the itchiness and pain associated with the lesion.
Over to you
A person once infected with herpes may become a lifetime carrier. It is best to prevent herpes by considering the following risk factors that can cause the disease.
- Having multiple sexual partners can increase the chances of getting herpes disease.
- Engaging in unprotected sex.
- Kissing someone with a canker sore.
- Getting in physical contact with a person having an active infection can spread this disease.
- Nutritional deficiency and lower immunity level.