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Solutions for Type 1 Herpes

Type 1 herpes apparently happens to almost everyone when they're young. You or may or may not remember an episode of one or more painful herpes blisters around your mouth or sores on your gums. The episode lasts seven to ten days, and if you are lucky, may then be gone for good.

If you are not so lucky, though, you may recall that telltale tingle on your lip when the herpes sores reappear. If you're going on vacation, you worry if the sun will bring on a lesion, or if pulling an all-nighter will show itself on your face in the following days. You don't know if you hate the herpes outbreak more for the pain or the ugliness!

What Is Known About Herpes Simplex Type 1

The herpes virus comes in many forms and the type that usually causes sores in and around the mouth is called HSV-1, or herpes simplex virus type 1.

The initial herpes exposure may be asymptomatic and precede the eruption by months to years. The herpes virus has the unfortunate capacity to live dormant in our system and reappear when it gets a chance as an oral, facial, or genital cold sore. Herpes outbreaks almost always recur in the same location for a given individual.

It has long been thought that oral and facial herpes lesions are caused by type 1 herpes (HSV-1) and genital lesions by type 2 (HSV-2). We now know both types of herpes can visit both areas of the body.

Typically, however, HSV-1 lesions are found somewhere around the mouth. The sores may be anywhere from the nose to the chin, concentrated in and around the mouth.

The severity of herpes eruptions varies tremendously among individuals and often represents a relative weakness of the immune system in the face of an emerging expression of the virus. Alternative treatments, such as those recommended at DrDeborahMD, are aimed at enhancing the immune response rather than disabling the viral expression, and are similar for either type of herpes virus, in any location on the body.

Healthy Steps: Herpes Simplex Type 1—First Steps

For the greatest herpes improvement with the fewest steps, do the following:

  • Thorne Research L-Lysine. Take 500 mg capsules, 2 of them 3 times daily for an acute outbreak. Continue taking 1 capsule daily for at least three months, and possibly for years, to prevent recurrences.
  • Barleans Omega-3's, flavor of your choice! (I like Key Lime Pie, and it's the strongest.)
  • A moistened black tea bag applied for five minutes twice daily has anesthetic and anti-viral properties.

Healthy Steps: Type 1 Herpes—Full Program

A comprehensive program involves many areas in which action steps can be taken, gradually or all at once. Start by following our basic nutrition and healthy lifestyle guidelines, with the following modifications:

Savor Helpful Foods

  • Eat highly nutritious foods during a herpes outbreak as you would for any viral infection: grass-fed meats, wild salmon and other fish, pastured-raised eggs, and dairy from pastured cows.
  • Eat foods rich in lysine. Fish, chicken, beef, lamb, milk, cheese, beans, brewer's yeast, mung bean sprouts, and most fruits and vegetables have more lysine than arginine, except for peas. (Arginine competes with lysine for absorption; herpes virus loves arginine and is thwarted by lysine! Tipping your diet away from arginine and towards lysine helps your body resist or overcome the virus.)

Avoid Problematic Foods

  • Avoid immune stressors. As you would during any viral infection, avoid immune stressors such as alcohol, processed foods, sodas, white flour products, sugar and other refined carbohydrates, and excessive caffeine, all of which can interfere with immune function.
  • Avoid foods rich in arginine: Gelatin, chocolate, carob, coconut, oats, whole wheat, white flour, peanuts, soybeans, wheat germ, walnuts, almonds, cashews, pecans, and sesame seeds. Although not confirmed in humans, arginine strengthens herpes virus in the test tube.
  • Avoid all foods suspected to be allergens. If you crave a certain food question whether it might be an allergen to be avoided.

Note: Coconut is controversial. The helpful extract Monolaurin in coconut oil might act in opposition to the arginine-rich coconut meat. Coconut milk might be made from either meat or oil. If coconut is important to your diet, test it on yourself to see its personal effect on your tendency to herpes.

Supplements can Help

The following can be helpful in shortening an acute herpes attack, or interrupting a pattern of recurring attacks.

  • Barleans Omega 3 Fatty Acid Swirls come in great flavors and are a reliable way to increase your daily intake of these important fatty acids.
  • Thorne Research L-Lysine. Start with 2 capsules (500 mg each) 3 times daily during the outbreak and continue taking 1 capsule daily for 3 months or even years to prevent.
  • Thorne Research Zinc Picolinate. Take 30-60 mg/day to prevent outbreaks. If one does this long term must balance with Copper 2 mg daily to avoid a deficiency. (Thorne Research Copper Picolinate 2 mg. daily)
  • The Synergy Company Pure Radiance Vitamin C. As a superior food-based source of Vitamin C, required doses are much lower than synthetic versions. Take 1-2 capsules 3 times daily.
  • Lauricidin. Monolaurin is the key ingredient sold under the brand name Lauricidin®. Monolaurin found naturally in coconut oil and breast milk, has anti-viral effects against all types of herpes viruses. It is best advised to start with a very small dose: 1.5 grams one to two times daily taken with food or water, but not hot liquids, for one or two weeks. The dose can be increased gradually to 3.0 grams one to three times daily thereafter. A maintenance dose may be 3.0 grams two or three times a day.

Daily Life Activities

  • Mind/Body Medicine for Herpes. Emotional stress may trigger an outbreak of symptoms. To alleviate stress, relaxing therapies such as meditation and guided imageryare recommended. Support groups may also be very useful.

Notes on contagion: open herpes sores are contagious. That same area is likely to be contagious before there are open sores, perhaps even as early as when there is just “tingling.”

Topical Applications

Many natural applications may shorten a herpes attack:

  • Lactobacillus acidophilus, the living culture present in yogurt, is reported to help alleviate the symptoms of a herpes outbreak. It also has preventive capacity against further outbreaks.
  • Propolis ointment may help. One study showed that sores healed faster for people using the ointment containing propolis versus those using ointments containing the antiviral drug acyclovir or a placebo. Apply to herpes sores four times a day. Find propolis in Herb Pharm's Original Salve; apply as often as it helps.
  • Lysine ointment and lemon balm cream have both proved effective in clinical trials. Both can be found as an ointment in health food stores and may be applied three times daily.
  • A moistened black tea bag applied for five minutes twice daily has anesthetic and anti-viral properties.
  • Milk, raw if possible, for pain relief and to promote healing: soak cotton balls in milk and apply to the area.
  • Ice (crushed in a bag, or packaged frozen vegetables) can reduce pain and itching. Protect from the skin with thin cloth and apply for 10-15 minutes several times daily. Avoid prolonged exposure that might harm delicate skin around the herpes sores.
  • Honey, aloe vera gel, or calendula ointment can all aid the softening and healing of a crusted lesion.

Homeopathic Herpes Treatment

As a chronic condition, herpes is best treated with a constitutional remedy in consultation with a professional homeopath.

Herpes Prevention

Avoid contact with active herpes lesions on others. Avoiding contact with the skin or membranes at or around the herpes outbreak area is the only sure protection.

Keeping a strong immune system is an excellent protection against a herpes recurrence. Many exposures do not result in an outbreak, if your immune system is strong and is able to keep an upper hand with the herpes virus.

From Dr. Deborah's Desk

Adam came to see me years ago for a constitutional homeopathic remedy, one of his complaints being recurring herpes sores around his nose and mouth. We talked about many things and I gave him an individualized constitutional homeopathic remedy and passed on the tip to keep lysine handy. As an avid skier, the winter was his worst time for herpes. Luckily we met in the early summer and I was confident that by the next fall the remedy would result in little or no herpes sores.

Close but not completely right: he still got little tiny scabs that never blistered and healed quickly. By the second winter, he was clear of cold sores completely! When ski season starts, he will still come by and get a dose of his remedy, and he uses lysine as a regular vitamin during winter months. He is now happily free of herpes cold sores.


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