Natural remedies for herpes have been known for decades, but like all methods of natural healing, these safe, natural home remedies have mostly been dismissed by the medical establishment. In spite of this official stance, however, many of these natural remedies are now showing their effectiveness in research studies - though others are still being ignored and/or ridiculed by doctors.
Here are some of the most promising natural remedies for herpes that we have found.
Disclaimer: although we have done our best to make sure the information in this post is up-to-date and reliable, and that the remedies we describe are safe to use, we are not medical practitioners. We recommend that you do your own due diligence and seek medical advice before trying any of the remedies listed.
Prunella Vulgaris - also known as "Self-Heal" or "Heal All" is a long-known herbal remedy that has had many uses in natural medicine in many different parts of the world. It's known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial effects, and has been used traditionally as a poultice for wounds or as a mouthwash to treat throat and mouth infections. It's also a general immune booster, which is an aid to healing no matter what condition you are wanting to treat.
Now studies have shown that Prunella vulgaris has powerful anti-viral effects, and has been shown to inactivate the herpes virus in the laboratory.
How to use Prunella vulgaris for herpes:
There are several ways to use Prunella. You can make your own infusion from the fresh herb or dried leaves, and drink it as a tea to help your body fight the herpes virus, or use it as a wash for herpes lesions to soothe them and promote healing.
You can also buy a good quality tincture (recommended) or cream that you can apply to the lesions. In this case, follow the instructions regarding use and dosage.
Lemon Balm (Melissa officialis)
Lemon balm is another traditional herbal remedy with a myriad of uses. As a tea, it's often used as a remedy for stress and anxiety. As well as this, studies have found that lemon balm (like Prunella vulgaris) to have powerful anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, and to have specific effects against the herpes virus.
Lemon balm can be made into a tea to drink, or as an infusion, to apply directly to the affected area. You can get it as the essential oil (Melissa oil) or already made into a salve or cream.
Read more about lemon balm for herpes here.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has well established antibiotic, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties, and it's been found to deactivate and kill the herpes simplex virus in laboratory conditions. (However, it's not able to penetrate cells and work on the virus after the cell is infected.)
Tea tree oil has become one of the most popular remedies for herpes because of its ability to give quick relief to the terrible itching that often comes with a herpes outbreak, and also because of its drying effect on the lesions.
How to use tea tree oil for herpes
Unlike prunella vulgaris and lemon balm, tea tree oil should not be taken internally - but it makes a great topical treatment.
It's most economical to buy it as the pure oil, and then dilute it or mix it as you want. It's not recommended to use pure tea tree oil directly on a lesion or broken skin - it's likely to sting. But you can dilute it, using 1-2 drops in a teaspoon of a carrier oil (olive oil or coconut oil is good), and then apply this mixture directly to the affected area. Make sure you don't spread the infection - use a clean swab for each lesion if possible.
The other way you can use tea-tree oil is in a bath, where it will have a much milder effect but be able to reach areas where you may not be able to reach easily by hand.
Tea tree oil is a great natural remedy to have in your first aid kit - I carry a bottle with me everywhere. It also works to relieve the itch of mosquito bites!
Zinc is a real secret weapon in the fight against herpes. It's a secret "hidden in plain sight", because zinc might be one of the few natural remedies for herpes that your doctor has actually heard about. Zinc is essential to a healthy immune system, but most of us are deficient in zinc because of the state of our soils. So a supplement makes sense, on these grounds alone.
However, zinc has a very specific anti-viral action against HSV. It's been found to deactivate both HSV-1 and HSV-2 in the laboratory - and it's also been found to be an effective remedy for herpes in clinical studies. The secret is in how to use it, and in what form. An oral zinc supplement is great for a general boost, but if you have an active outbreak, the best way to use zinc is to apply it topically, directly to the lesions (or the area where you expect a lesion to erupt). Topical zinc is very widely available as zinc oxide cream, which is promoted as a treatment for nappy rash, and similar minor wounds, and also as a sunscreen. But the reason zinc oxide works so well as a nappy rash is that it sits on the surface of the skin and does not dissolve - and for herpes, this is not what you want to happen. The form of zinc that has been found to work best for herpes is zinc sulfate, which is much more soluble.