HOW TO PREVENT AND TREAT COLD SORES NATURALLY
There are two types of Herpes Simplex Virus, Herpes Simplex Virus -1 (HSV-1) and Herpes Simplex Virus-2 (HSV-2). ‘Cold sores’ refers to HSV-1 which affect the skin or mucous membranes, particularly the lips or mouth and around the nose. Cold sores are mainly caused by HSV-1. HSV-2 can also infect the mouth, although it mainly causes genital herpes.
Research suggests that most of the world’s population is infected with Herpes Simplex Virus type 1, type 2 or both with 76% of the Australian population infected with the Cold Sore Virus. These embarrassing lesions usually develop as begin with localised itching and tingling a day or two before the cold sore appears. Proceeding is a collection of small blisters. These blisters can be accompanied by pain, tenderness and a sensation of heat and burning. After a few days the blisters burst and a yellow crust or scab develops. The crust dries up and eventually falls off after about 7 – 10 days.
Herpes simplex is the easily transmitted through skin-to-skin contact such as kissing someone who has the virus or by sharing objects which have been in contact with the virus, such as a razor or a lipstick. Direct contact with a lesion or the body fluid of an infected individual is sufficient to allow viral entry into the mucous membranes. Cold sores can occur in healthy people; however immunocompromised people are especially susceptible to infection. These include people with AIDS, cancer and patients taking long-term steroids.
Herpes viruses cycle between periods of active disease followed by a remission period. Once you are infected, it will remain in your body, even if you do not experience any symptoms. After initial infection, the viruses are transported along sensory nerves to the sensory nerve cell bodies, where they become latent and reside lifelong.
There are several factors and certain stimuli that can trigger an episode of cold sores. These include:
- emotional stress
- fatigue/tiredness/feeling run down
- strong sunlight or wind exposure on the lips/mouth/nose
- an injury to the mouth or chapping or abrasion of the skin
- upper respiratory tract infections
- depleted immune system
- ingestion of large amounts of carbohydrates
- ingestion of even small amounts of refined sugar
- ingestion of allergenic food that challenge the immune system
- intake of high arginine foods
For many people, however, the trigger is unknown.
There are steps that you can take to prevent a cold sore outbreaks and, if an outbreak does occur, to limit the pain, the risk of spreading and the severity of an outbreak. Complementary treatments can support immune function and aid in preventing viral replication.
Diet choices support the immune system against viral infections. Sugar is a major
contributor to lowering immunity and depressing cell-mediated immune function. Limiting the intake of sugar by avoiding fruit juices, sugary snacks, sweets, chocolate, cakes, alcohol and soft drinks will avoid suppressing your immune system.
Research shows the amino acid arginine aids in HSV replication while the amino acid lysine has anti-viral activity and inhibits arginine activity.
Lysine is an essential amino acid which has been shown to be effective in preventing and reducing the frequency of cold sore attacks. As an essential amino acid it is not synthesised in the body therefore it must be obtained through the diet or by supplementation.
Consume foods that have a high lysine to arginine ratio. These include:
• fish (not shellfish)
• chicken, turkey and pork
• fruit (mangos, apricots, pears, apples, figs).
Avoid foods that have a high arginine to lysine Ratio. These include:
• oats, wheat (gluten)
• nuts and seeds
Studies demonstrate that zinc supplementation reduces the duration and severity of cold sore outbreaks by preventing the replication of HSV-1 and HSV-2 viruses. Zinc is an essential trace element integral to normal growth and development and crucial for the function and maintenance of healthy immune cells.
Vitamin C is known to support our immune function, particularly in times of stress. Vitamin C can be taken orally and applied directly to the lesion in a cream or paste.
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) has outstanding antiviral and calming properties. It can be applied topically to cold sores or taken orally in supplement or even a tea infusion. Studies show that extracts of lemon balm inhibit the attachment of HSV to host cells which can effectively reduce the formation of the virus.
Echinacea purpurea is well-known for its antiviral and antimicrobial actions and has been shown to inhibit the viral replication of HSV-1 and significantly reduces HSV-1 latent infection. It is widely used for its immune enhancing effects.
Oregano oil is known to be antibacterial, antiviral and antimicrobial. Oregano oil can be used topically on cold sores. For the most effective results it should be applied every few hours.
Here’s Our Simple Rules to Avoid Cold Sore Outbreaks…
• Avoid excessive sun and wind exposure
• Limit high foods with high Arginine content
• Don’t overburden your immune system, limit sugar consumption
• Get plenty of rest and reduce stress
• Consider taking supplements including lysine, zinc, vitamin C, lemon balm, and echinacea
• Apply diluted oregano oil directly on tingling area and re-applying regularly
Available from The House of Healing – Metagenics Viraclear – For Cold Sore Defence and Relief
· May reduce the symptoms, frequency and recurrence of cold sores: Viraclear contains nutrients that have been shown to reduce the symptoms and severity of cold sore lesions and reduce cold sore recurrence. Vitamin C may inhibit herpes simplex virus-1 through its role in the formation of dehydroascorbic acid and its ability to inhibit certain kinases and enzymes involved in viral replication. Zinc has been shown to inactivate herpes simplex virus-1 by inhibiting the maturation of capsid proteins, hindering their use as structural components of the HSV-1 virus. Additionally, astragalus is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to maintain healthy immune function and may also assist in strengthening the immune system.References available from Health World Limited in Australia on 1800 777 648