Living with Herpes: Treat and Prevent Genital Herpes Sores Naturally

Living with Herpes: Treat and Prevent Genital Herpes Sores Naturally
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Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2

After being exposed to the herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), single or multiple blister-like vesicles will usually appear within two weeks in the genital area. These herpes sores can be extremely painful when the blisters spontaneously rupture. One may experience difficulty in urinating, genital itching, and flu-like symptoms.

A herpes sore will heal on its own in about 2-4 weeks and the virus will enter a dormant phase. Some individuals may never have a recurrence (herpes outbreak) whereas others have regular recurrences.

Because the body develops antibodies against the virus during the initial episode, recurrences are usually less severe. A herpes outbreak can be triggered by stress, pregnancy, poor health, tight clothing, overheating, and minor infections.

Living with Herpes

Immune System

A strong immune system will help prevent and control outbreaks. The following methods enhance the immune system and are beneficial in cases of herpes:

• Thymus extracts. One study[1] has shown thymus extracts to be effective in preventing both the number and the severity of a herpes outbreak in immune-suppressed individuals.

• Zinc. One study[2] has shown zinc to be effective in decreasing the frequency, duration, and severity of herpes.

• Vitamin C. Increases the rate of healing herpes sores.


Eating a healthy diet is especially important when living with herpes. The following are some foods you should avoid and foods you should eat:

• Avoid foods high in arginine. Arginine is suggested to stimulate HSV replication.[3-4] Foods high in arginine include chocolate, seeds, peanuts, almonds, and other nuts.

• Eat foods high in lysine. Lysine was shown[3] to antagonize the viral growth-promoting action of arginine. Foods high in lysine include most vegetables, legumes, fish, turkey, and chicken.

Herpes Sores

Topical solutions can help promote healing of herpes sores and provide pain relief.

• Zinc sulfate. Application of a 0.01-0.025% solution of zinc sulfate was shown[5] to help relieve symptoms and prevent recurrences of a herpes outbreak.

• Glycyrrhetinic acid (component of licorice). This popular topical treatment has been shown[6-7] to help reduce the healing time and pain associated with genital herpes.

• Melissa cream (lemon balm) can help reduce healing time.

• Aloe vera gel can help soothe and heal herpes sores and blisters.

More Information

According to the CDC, “Transmission can occur from an infected partner who does not have a visible sore and may not know that he or she is infected.”

The risk of becoming infected after sexual contact with someone who has herpes sores is estimated to be 75%.

A woman should not give birth vaginally during a herpes outbreak. This can be devastating, even fatal, to the newborn.

Yearly pap smears are recommended for women who are living with herpes.

Herpes can be severe in individuals who have a suppressed immune system.


  • [1] Int J Clin Pharm Ther Tox 21 (1983): 81-6
  • [2] Med J Aust 1 (1979): 399
  • [3] Chemotherapy 27 (1981): 209-13
  • [4] Arch Dermatol 120 (1984): 48-51
  • [5] Br J Dermatol 104 (1981): 191-213
  • [6] Fr J Oral Maxillofac Surg 22 (1984): 138-45
  • [7] Br J Ven Dis 60 (1984): 178-81

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