The EclecticPhysician

The Eclectic Physician
Natural Health Care
by Beth Burch N.D.


Herpes simplex is a very common viral disease that causes cold sores and genital lesions. It is estimated that anywhere from 40-100% of the US population has had herpes at some time. About 30% of the population suffers from recurrent herpes infection. An initial infection of herpes causes fever, along with painful ulcers in the mouth, on the lips or the genitals. Subsequents recurrances begin with a tingling or itching sensation in the affected area, followed by the appearance of a pimple-like bump surrounded by reddened tissue. The pimple(s) progress to a painful blister, that ruptures and exudes blood and yellowish fluid. The lesions then crust over and healing begins. Herpes is very contagious. Contact with the lesions will result in infection ~75% of the time. Serious complications of herpes include eye infection and infection of the brain, called herpes encephalitis. Impaired immune function will increase the chances of recurrance and serious complications. Current conventional treatment is th e use of topical and oral antiviral medications. Serious complications must be treated with intravenous antivirals.

Natural treatment for herpes involves enhancing immune function (see immune enhancement). Decreasing the amino acid arginine and increasing the amino acid lysine has been found to be helpful in inhibiting the herpes virus. Herpes virus requires arginine for replication, low levels of arginine and high levels of lysine inhibit the virus from reproducing. Foods high in arginine are chocolate, peanuts, seeds and nuts. Foods high in lysine are vegetables, fish, turkey and chicken. Lysine can be taken as a supplement (1000 mg three times a day) and has been found to be effective in decreasing outbreaks, especially if combined with a low arginine-high lysine diet. Supplements of zinc and vitamin C are helpful in speeding the healing of herpes. Of course, prevention of infection is important, both to unaffected people and to other areas of your own body. Avoid contact with lesions and with affected areas in the tingling prodromal stage when the virus is being shed.

Herbal treatment-
Echinacea(internal)- an effective herb to enhance immune function, it also has specific antiviral activity.
Liquid extract- 1/2- 1 teaspoon three times a day
Dry herb in capsules- 500-1000 mg three times a day
Standardized extract (3.5% echinacoside)-150-300 mg three times a day

Lemon Balm(external)- has specific anti-herpes action due to constituents called polyphenols. These attach to receptor sites on the virus preventing it from attaching to the body's cells. Several studies have shown it speads healing of herpes sores, decreases recurrance and if used in initial herpes infections, no recurrances occurred.
Apply the cream containing the concentrated extract (70:1) of lemon balm liberally two- four times a day.

Other herbs- Licorice (topically as glycyrrhetinic acid), St. John's wort, Garlic, Tea Tree Oil (topically)

* The information presented in this web site is intended to inform and educate. It is not intended replace a qualified medical practitioner to diagnose or treat medical conditions.

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