Genital Herpes Treatment Natural Remedies

A number of day-to-day supplements claim to help reduce the number of herpes outbreaks experienced. Also, certain vitamins appear to help speed the healing of lesions. Some are better documented than others. The following are some of the most acclaimed self-help options.

Vitamins and Amino Acids

During an outbreak, applying vitamin E oil, gel or cream directly to lesions helps to dry out the lesions and promote faster healing. Taking vitamin E and beta-carotene supplements during an outbreak can also help reduce healing time.

Connections have been made between the frequency of outbreaks and the amino acid lysine. High lysine levels appear to suppress the cellular spread of the virus and reduce outbreaks. Lysine is found in foods. Cold fish, butter, and egg yolks contain high amounts of lysine. Eating lysine-rich foods may help control outbreaks. People with liver or kidney problems should not take lysine supplements.

Some claim that limiting arginine, another amino acid, in the diet will also help prevent or limit outbreaks. Chocolate, peanuts and most nuts and seeds are high in arginine. No clinical research supports this claim.

Herbal Remedies

The herbs used to treat genital herpes are believed to strengthen the immune system and also possess antiviral properties. The disease-fighting abilities of common garlic have been well documented.

Echinacea tinctures and lotions, extracted from the purple cornflower, are often used in Europe to treat lesions, and they are assumed to have immune system-strengthening properties. Echinacea may cause nausea and dizziness if taken in high doses.

Herbal Remedies and Medication

Many people assume that herbal remedies, being composed of natural ingredients, don’t have side effects and don’t interact with medications. This isn’t true. Herbs can and do interact with mainstream medications. If you plan to try an herbal remedy, let your doctor know and ask if the herb will react with any medication you’re taking.

Chinese Herbs

Chinese herbs such as astragalus have been used for centuries to treat a wide variety of ailments, including genital herpes. Astragalus has received some attention from Western medicine for its ability to strengthen the immune system and its antiviral properties. A mainstay in traditional Chinese medicine, astragalus is used in combination with many other Chinese herbs.

Although Chinese herbs are available online and in many health stores, it’s best to consult a traditional Chinese medical practitioner before using astragalus or other Chinese herbs. The herbs are often used in specific combinations for best (and safest) results.

While research has shown that astralagus does stimulate the immune system, no clinical research on the efficacy of astralagus for the treatment of herpes simplex 2 has been done.

Stress Management

Stress has long been known to contribute to herpes outbreaks. Physical or emotional stress weakens the body’s immune system, making it easier for the outbreaks to occur. Stress management and relaxation techniques, such as meditation, tai chi and breathing exercises, can help reduce the frequency of outbreaks. Such techniques demand a fairly large time commitment, but have the advantage that they can be practiced anywhere (and the health benefits of effective stress management are far reaching). Learn more about stress symptoms and management.

The emotional impact of genital herpes is also significant: discovering that you or a partner has herpes can be devastating. Herpes support groups and counseling can help both couples and individuals cope with the psychological stress.

Non-Prescription Analgesics

During an outbreak, over-the-counter analgesics can to some degree help reduce the pain and inflammation of herpes lesions. Their effectiveness is somewhat limited: prescription drugs that target the nervous system directly work better. However, for mild to moderate outbreaks, analgesics such as aspirin can provide some pain relief and comfort.

Resources (nd). Frequently asked questions about genital herpes. Retrieved August 26, 2002, from