Herpes is a common virus that causes cold sores on the mouth or sores on the genitals. The two most common types are HSV-1 and HSV-2. HSV-1 causes cold sores to break out around the lips or mouth, while HSV-2 is commonly referred to as genital herpes. (1) Herpes is spread through skin-to-skin contact with infected areas. Conventional cold sores treatments include applying creams and ointments to help lower inflammation and reduce pain. Home remedies for herpes include a herpes treatment diet and natural methods of pain relief.
Herpes Causes and Risk Factors
- Kissing someone who has symptoms of an active herpes virus
- Engaging in any form of unprotected sex
- Having sex with multiple partners
- Spreading the virus through contact with cold sores on the eyes, secretions on the fingers or ulcers on the buttocks and upper thighs
- Having other illnesses that lower immune function, such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis or an autoimmune disorder
- Eating a poor diet that causes nutrient deficiencies and lowers immunity
- Smoking cigarettes, drinking high amounts of alcohol or abusing drugs
- A single cold sore or a cluster of cold sores on the lips, inside the mouth or on the genitals, buttocks and upper thighs
- Sores that are severe and painful can rupture and cause fluid to be secreted out
- Some herpes canker sores develop a thin, white coating and burn when touched
- Pain, tenderness and other rash symptoms around herpes cold sores
- Tingling or itching sensations near the affected area
- Symptoms of the flu such as fatigue, irritability, aches or a slight fever (2)
Home Remedies for Herpes
1. Eat Helpful Foods
Herpes treatment includes eating healthy foods to boost nutrient intake and strengthen the immune system. Add the following foods to your diet as herpes treatment:
- Foods rich in L-lysine: L-lysine is an amino acid that helps prevent the herpes virus from replicating. Try legumes, vegetables and organic protein sources. (3)
- Orange and red vegetables: These vegetables are packed with antioxidants and Vitamin C to help boost immunity.
- Zinc: Zinc plays a role in many chemical reactions that help protect the body from viruses and infections. Foods high in zinc include pumpkin seeds, nuts and vegetables.
2. Avoid Problem Foods
Certain foods can weaken the immune system and raise inflammation levels in the body. Avoid the following foods as part of herpes treatment:
- Added sugar: Processed sugar suppresses the immune system and causes inflammation. Avoid added sugar in processed foods and snacks.
- Alcohol: Excess alcohol can cause inflammation and worsen skin inflammation. Avoid alcohol or drink in moderation.
- Packaged, processed foods: Most packaged and processed foods contain GMO’s and toxic artificial ingredients. These foods can worsen inflammation and cause allergies or sensitivities.
- Acidic Foods: Acidic foods can irritate cold sores, causing pain and burning. Avoid tomatoes, oranges, vinegar and other citrus fruits when you have cold sores. (4)
- Foods rich in L-arginine: L-arginine is an amino acid found in wheat, chocolate and refined carbohydrates. It can potentially stimulate the replication of the herpes virus.
3. Try Supplements
Home remedies for herpes include helpful natural supplements. Try:
- Antiviral herbs such as elderberry, caldendula, echinacea, garlic, astragalus and licorice root
- L-lysine to help treat and prevent outbreaks, use 1,000 milligrams three times per day (5)
- Lemon balm extract as a topical cream for cold sores treatments
- Vitamin C to help boost the immune system, use 1,000 milligrams each day
- Zinc to support immune function, keep viruses dormant and speed healing, use 30 milligrams twice per day
- B-complex vitamins to help the body deal with stress and prevent outbreaks, use 50 milligrams per day
4. Use Essential Oils
Home remedies for herpes include essential oils with antiviral and antibacterial properties, including clove oil, myrrh oil and tea tree oil. Tea tree oil can be used topically for cold sores treatments. Apply 1-3 drops to the affected areas three times each day. If you have sensitive skin, mix the tea tree oil with a carrier oil before applying. (6)
5. Ease Pain Naturally
Natural cold sores treatments can help relieve pain and inflammation while promoting healing. If you have cold sores:
- Do not touch any open sore during an outbreak
- Wash your hands frequently
- Do not kiss someone, share drinks or share utensils if you have an open sore
- Do not share a toothbrush, lip balm or makeup with others if you have a sore
- Once the sore is healed, get a new toothbrush
- Only use natural, mild soap and warm water on sores
- Don’t pick, pop or rub sores
- Try pressing a warm towel against the sore the decrease pain, or sit in a warm bath
- Use one towel on your genitals near any open sore and other towel on your face/mouth