August 2002 - Handy hints to stop herpes simplex symptoms
HOUSEHOLD HINTS TO HINDER HERPES
Handy household remedies for herpes simplex have been compiled by the
Herpes Viruses Association (HVA) in response to member demand.
Its amazing how many useful and unusual remedies our members
find beneficial, and they are available in most homes, says Marian
Nicholson of the HVA.
- Apply cold wet teabags, preferably Earl Grey, to the affected area.
This helps the healing process. They are soothing and they also contain
tannins, which extract moisture from skin cells and speed healing.
Tannins are also present in red wine, and coffee so a compress of this
can provide comfort.
- Some people have found that applying an essential oil can help the
healing process. Tea tree and geranium oils can be used
neat, but melissa or bergamot should be diluted, e.g. 5 drops in 2 teaspoons
of a carrier oil, like almond oil.
- Simply crushing the leaves of lemon balm (melissa) and applying them
to the blister makes a difference. A melissa cream can be purchased
from the HVA.
- If you do get an outbreak, bathe the affected area in a salt solution
¯ one tablespoon of salt in a pint of warm water. This has
antiseptic properties and will assist in healing and preventing infection.
- Grapefruit juice has been known to help, simply dab on the tingle
- Apply an ice pack, put ice cubes in a plastic bag, and wrap with a
face flannel so that they dont touch the skin. Or apply a pack
of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel.
However, to try and prevent outbreaks from occurring, the HVA suggests
taking a few simple precautions.
- Maintain a healthy and varied diet. If you are not sure whether
your diet is adequate, take a multivitamin, vitamin C or vitamin E.
This could make all the difference.
- Take a natural antiviral capsule like olive leaf extract, which has
been shown to have beneficial effects. A recent trial by the HVA
used a high dose: 400 mg of 20% oleuropein.
- Avoid strong sunlight. This is a trigger, so avoid direct sunlight
on parts of the body where sores occur ¯ or protect yourself with
clothes/hat or sunblock.
- Try and avoid stress. If you are going through a hectic, stressful
time, make sure you get enough sleep and make time to relax. Some
people find yoga, meditation and deep relaxation techniques helpful.
A long relaxing bath can also help you unwind.
- When its important to be clear of recurrences, for instance
on holiday or when a special event is coming up, take half a soluble
aspirin for a few days beforehand.
Marian Nicholson adds, Often the cheapest treatments are surprisingly
As well as treatment advice, the HVA runs a helpline, which provides
emotional support and advice to many people diagnosed with genital herpes
or facial cold sores every year.
Helpline for the general public: 0845 123 2305
Notes to the Editor:
1 Lomaherpan [now called LomaBrit], is a popular herbal cold sore cream, it contains the
active ingredient Melissa, or lemon balm. In the UK it is only available
from the HVA at £6 for a 5g tube (includes p&p).
2 Aciclovir tablets can be prescribed for people who are really bothered
The Herpes Viruses Association exists to promote better mental and physical
health with regard to the family of herpes viruses. Its aims are:
- To provide information to the public, to medical professionals and
to the media.
- To encourage the development of new treatments for herpes simplex.
- To tackle stigma and the unnecessary trauma associated with the condition.
For further information, please contact:
Marian Nicholson or Nigel Scott
Herpes Viruses Association
41 North Road
London N7 9DP