RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—The herpes simplex viruses (HSV), which can strike in the form of cold sores and fever blisters or genital ulcers, can cause breakouts of painful lesions. But a review of herbal methods dealing with suppressing the virus finds that several inexpensive, natural methods can be effective for managing HSV. The review, written by herbalists and a medical doctor, was recently published in the journal Alternative and Complementary Therapies.
THE DETAILS: The analysis, reprinted from the newly printed second edition of the book Clinical Botanical Medicine (Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., 2009), states that creams containing mint, particularly Melissa officinalis (lemon balm), offer a safe, natural, and cheap alternative to pharmaceutical drugs for treating cold sores. Other studies found that prolonged use can lengthen the gap between outbreaks. Another clinical trial found that a cream containing a combination of Salvia officinalis (sage) leaf and Rheum palmatum (Chinese rhubarb) root was nearly as effective as the prescription drug acyclovir, with no side effects. The authors say that extracts of mint, basil, peppermint, heal all (Prunella vulgaris), rosemary, sage, and thyme could also fight cold sores, while tannin-rich herbs and tea tree oil may help prevent transmission.
The effects of herbal preparations on genital herpes are not as well documented. Ointments containing propolis, a mixture of compounds harvested by bees from the resin of willow trees, have shown promise in treating genital herpes lesions more effectively than the drug acyclovir, but the authors say more research is needed in this area.
Published on: May 27, 2009
Updated on: March 25, 2010