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Herbal Remedies from Folk Medicine
To Help Your Body Address Cold Sores

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Ask A Healer Series on Herpes


Cold Sore Relief and Herbology - Folk Medicine vs. FDA-approved medicines

Cold sores are something almost everyone has to put up with during times of extreme stress or other situations that lower immune response. They are not life threatening but, because they are principally on the mouth and therefore very noticable, they are a nuisance and embarassment. The only FDA-approved OTC med for cold sores is Abreva. I've personally tried Abreva and found no measureable difference in duration of cold sores or in pain associated with them.

On the other hand, when I've dabbed teatree oil on the site of a cold sore as it's just beginning, I experience a noticable shortening of symptoms. That being said, tea tree oil or other herbal remedies are not represented as medicine or replacement for whatever your doctor suggests (acyclovir, famvir, valtrex, abreva) for cold sores.

Herbal remedies for herpes may not any more advertise as such since herpes is considered and STD, according to new regulations. That does not change the fact that herbal remedies have been used by millions and that users report benefits to that use, including myself.

Historical uses of herbs for cold sores:

The amino acid lysine (may be taken in capsule form or applied topically in any of several OTC creams

Lemon Balm - like lysine, available in capsule form as well as in topical forumulations. Lemon Balm may also be called Melissa Officinalis.

Grapefruit seed extract - topical or internal

Taking extra vitamin C supplements seem to help some.

Reishi Mushroom - as an immune system strengthener - strong immune response helps body resist HSV-1.

Peppermint Oil, diluted and applied topically. Peppermint oil also great for pain.

Prunella Vulgaris, also called Self-Heal. Usually taken in capsule form.

Olive Leaf Extract, usually taken in capsule form.

Other suggestions I found online, that are not herbal remedies, include dabbing listerine mouthwash on cold sores and resveratrol, an ingredient extracted from red wine.

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