Home Remedies for Herpes Simplex

The following home remedies are helpful in alleviating the symptoms of oral herpes:

  • Change your toothbrush once the blisters develop and again after the outbreak clears up. The virus may remain in toothbrushes and can increase the risk of recurring infections.
  • In some cases, cold sores may worsen due to sun exposure. Therefore apply a sunscreen meant especially for the lips or use a lip balm that has an SPF of 15 or above.
  • Once the sores develop, you can reduce the pain and tenderness by applying ice packs to the affected area. If you apply ice as soon you experience the first sign of infection, which is a tingling sensation, you can prevent the sores from forming.
  • The herbal remedy, lemon balm, is known to help in fighting the herpes simplex virus. Some studies have shown that application of lemon balm to the affected area resulted in less frequent outbreaks.
  • Applying a small amount of myrrh tincture to the affected area with a cotton swab helps to diminish irritation and swelling. Do this several times a day.
  • Combine equal parts of olive oil and tea tree oil and apply to the sores thrice daily. Tea tree oil helps to reduce inflammation and irritation while olive oil is soothing for the skin.
  • Consume probiotic foods as the bacteria found in such foods is known to restrict the growth of viruses.
  • Place a moist tea bag over the cold sores for about 5 minutes. Do this twice or thrice every day to promote quicker healing.
  • Once the sores develop crusts, apply a coating of petroleum jelly over them to prevent cracking. Use a fresh cotton swab every time you do this since dipping your finger repeatedly into the jar can cause the virus to spread.
  • Echinacea is an herbal extract which may be applied to cold sores. It is known to strengthen the immune system and relieve the discomfort caused by the sores. Echinacea may interfere with other medications in some cases. Another side effect of this herbal remedy is that it may reduce the levels of white blood cells.
  • Peppermint oil is known to be an effective cold sore remedy. The oil may be applied to the skin or taken internally. However some people may suffer an allergic reaction to the oil. Heartburn may also occur if the oil is taken orally.
  • Lysine is a dietary protein which is found in foods such as eggs and chicken and is also available in the form of supplements. Studies have shown that intake of 1 to 3 grams of lysine daily can reduce the duration of a cold sore outbreak. It may also help to prevent future outbreaks. However intake of lysine may lead to an increase in cholesterol levels. Lysine may also interfere with certain types of medications. It is advisable to consult your doctor before using any herbal remedies or dietary supplements.

The following remedies are beneficial in treating genital herpes:

  • Keep the genital area clean and dry at all times. Wear cotton undergarments instead of synthetic ones.
  • Add 2 cups of baking soda and 1 cup of cornstarch to a tub of water and immerse your body in it for about 10 minutes. This helps to alleviate tenderness and discomfort. Follow with a bath of lukewarm water. You can do this every alternate day.
  • Place an ice compress on the affected areas for 10 minutes each time. This will help to ease the irritation and enable quick recovery.
  • Consume foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids as they help to strengthen the cell membranes and make them more resistant to virus attacks.
  • Apply a few drops of coconut oil to the affected area to soothe the skin.
  • Place a lemon slice over the affected area and change it every 3 hours. This should be done before the sores are visible. It helps to stop itching and tingling.
  • Increase your intake of vitamins and minerals as this will help to boost your immunity and prevent recurrent outbreaks.
  • Try to manage stress effectively as it can worsen the symptoms and trigger recurring outbreaks. You can reduce stress through meditation, breathing exercises and yoga.

  1. A. Schuhmacher, J. Reichling, P. Schnitzler, Virucidal effect of peppermint oil on the enveloped viruses herpes simplex virus type 1 and type 2 in vitro, Phytomedicine, Volume 10, Issues 6–7, 2003, Pages 504-510, ISSN 0944-7113, 10.1078/094471103322331467.
  2. C. Ishihara, J. Iida, N. Mizukoshi, N. Yamamoto, K. Yamamoto, K. Kato, I. Azuma, Effect of Nα-acetylmuramyl-l-alanyl-d-isoglutaminyl-Nϵ-stearoyl-l-lysine on resistance to herpes simplex virus type-1 infection in cyclophosphamide-treated mice, Vaccine, Volume 7, Issue 4, August 1989, Pages 309-313, ISSN 0264-410X, 10.1016/0264-410X(89)90191-6.