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Cold Sore Natural Treatments

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Updated June 25, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

8) Other Remedies

  • Echinacea - A study by the University of Ottawa found that echinacea is active against herpes simplex type 1.
  • Black currant - An extract of black currant, also known as Ribes nigrum or Kurokarin in Japan, was found to fight the herpes virus in laboratory studies.
  • Monolaurin - A substance derived from coconut oil.
  • Graviola - A preliminary study found that it may help fight the herpes simples-1 virus.
  • Rhubarb and sage cream - A German study examined rhubarb-sage cream compared to sage cream and Zovirax in 149 people with oral herpes cold sores. The combined topical sage-rhubarb preparation proved to be as effective as topical aciclovir cream and tended to be more active than the sage cream.
  • Undaria pinnatifida - known as wakame in Japan, undaria is a type of seaweed that has been found to improve the healing time and reactivation of herpes infections.

Safety Precautions

People with tuberculosis, leukemia, diabetes, connective tissue disorders, multiple sclerosis, HIV or AIDS, any autoimmune diseases, organ transplant, or possibly, liver disorders should not take herbs or supplements that improve immune function (such as reishi and astragalus) without consulting their doctor first. Taking immune-boosting supplements may reduce the effectiveness of medications that suppress the immune system.


Sources
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Binns SE, Hudson J, Merali S, Arnason JT. Antiviral activity of characterized extracts from echinacea spp. (Heliantheae: Asteraceae) against herpes simplex virus (HSV-I). Planta Med. 2002 Sep;68(9):780-3.

Chiu LC, Zhu W, Ooi VE. A polysaccharide fraction from medicinal herb Prunella vulgaris downregulates the expression of herpes simplex virus antigen in Vero cells. J Ethnopharmacol. 2004 Jul;93(1):63-8.

Docherty JJ, Smith JS, Fu MM, Stoner T, Booth T. Effect of topically applied resveratrol on cutaneous herpes simplex virus infections in hairless mice. Antiviral Res. 2004 Jan;61(1):19-26.

Huleihel M, Isanu V. Anti-herpes simplex virus effect of an aqueous extract of propolis. Isr Med Assoc J. 2002 Nov;4(11 Suppl):923-7.

Lininger S, Gaby A, Austin S, Brown DJ, Wright JV, Duncan A. The Natural Pharmacy, 2nd Edition. Prima Health and Healthnotes, Inc., 1999.

Mao SP, Cheng KL, Zhou YF. Modulatory effect of Astragalus membranaceus on Th1/Th2 cytokine in patients with herpes simplex keratitis. Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi. 2004 Feb;24(2):121-3.

Murray M. Dr. Murray's Total Body Tune-Up. New York, New York. Random House, Inc.; 2000

Murray MT, Pizzorno JE. Textbook of Natural Medicine, Vol 1 and 2. Churchill Livingstone. Edinburgh, 1999

Schuhmacher A, Reichling J, Schnitzler P. Virucidal effect of peppermint oil on the enveloped viruses herpes simplex virus type 1 and type 2 in vitro. Phytomedicine. 2003;10(6-7):504-10.

Saller R, Buechi S, Meyrat R, Schmidhauser C. Combined herbal preparation for topical treatment of Herpes labialis. Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd. 2001 Dec;8(6):373-82.

Singh BB, Udani J, Vinjamury SP, Der-Martirosian C, Gandhi S, Khorsan R, Nanjegowda D, Singh V. Safety and effectiveness of an L-lysine, zinc, and herbal-based product on the treatment of facial and circumoral herpes. Altern Med Rev. 2005 Jun;10(2):123-7.

Suzutani T, Ogasawara M, Yoshida I, Azuma M, Knox YM. Anti-herpesvirus activity of an extract of Ribes nigrum L. Phytother Res. 2003 Jun;17(6):609-13.

Thompson KD, Dragar C. Antiviral activity of Undaria pinnatifida against herpes simplex virus. Phytother Res. 2004 Jul;18(7):551-5.

 

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