Cold sores, sometimes also referred to as fever blisters, are small blisters filled with fluid that generally form on the lips as well as inside the mouth. In addition, cold sores, which are lesions similar to blisters, may also appear on the inner cheeks, gums, the region of the nostrils and the roof of the mouth. Cold sores are basically caused by viral infections which have the potential to spread by merely touching the mucous membranes of the noses, eyes and genitals or even to scratches. Normally, cold sores rupture and subsequently form a scab, which eventually fades away within a week or 10 days.
Generally, cold sores are attributable to the herpes simplex type 1 virus (also known as HSV-1), which is unlike the virus which causes genital herpes. In effect, a herpes simplex type 2 virus, which is responsible for genital herpes, is normally spread through sexual activities. Following the initial outbreak, the cold sore virus or HSV-1 remains dormant within the nerve cells and this results in the recurrence of new sores quite frequently, for instance every few weeks, or occasionally, such as once in some number of years. In fact, the cold sores generally resurface if the immune system is slowed down by any type of fever or viral contagion, for instance cold. Reappearances of the cold sores may also be activated owing to exhaustion, stress, menstruation as well as coming in contact with wind or the sun.
Supplements and herbs
Specific herbs and supplements have the potential to diminish the occurrence of cold sores as well as accelerate the healing process. All the supplements noted below possess the aptitude to help you in both ways - preventing or minimizing the occurrence of the condition as well as speed up the healing. It is important that you use these supplements as soon as you notice the first symptom of cold sores. When you do this, you will be able to witness the positive effects just within two to three days time.
Among the various supplements used to cure cold sores, amino acid lysine is known to be most effective. When this supplement is taken orally, it helps to restrain the development of HSV-1. Moreover, lysine is also available in cream form, which may be applied topically straight away to the cold sores. This supplement causes no harm when it is used for a prolonged period and may possibly assist in putting off the occurrence of cold sores. Another supplement that is very useful in curing cold sores is lemon balm cream, which is prepared from the herb Melissa officinalis, a potent antiviral, and is used when you notice the initial symptom of itchiness associated with cold sores.
Other supplements that are effective in treating cold sores include vitamin C and flavonoids. They are both potent antioxidants that function to make the healing process easier by means of getting rid of the detrimental compounds called free radicals, which occur naturally and damage the healthy cells. In addition, vitamin C and flavonoids also perk the cells of the immune system in combating the virus. It may be noted that vitamin A and the essential trace mineral selenium also possess antioxidant attributes. When used in conjunction with flaxseed oil, selenium and vitamin A accelerate the healing process by encouraging the regeneration of the cells. In addition, you may also apply the topical form of vitamin A straight away to the cold sores, off and on in conjunction with vitamin E oil. In case there is a break out of the cold sores, you may use herbs that help in promoting the immune system, such as goldenseal and Echinacea - both possessing antiviral as well as antibiotic properties.
In order to avoid the return of cold sores, you need to take a protection dosage of lysine in measures of 500 mg every day. Nevertheless, in case you are using lysine for a prolonged period of time, ensure that you include an amino acid complex with a view to give you a balanced blend of amino acids. Besides, it is always useful if you alternate the herbs you are using to treat this condition. For instance, you may take Echinacea in measures of 200 mg daily; astragalus in dosage of 200 mg every day; shiitake in measures of 1,200 mg daily, a blend of reishi in dosage of 1,500 mg every day or maitake mushrooms in measures of 600 mg daily. The method of alternating herbs is to take one herb for a period of one week, change to a different one and then to the third one and so on.
Aromatherapy is one approach to treat cold sores. In effect, people practicing aromatherapy suggest the use of various essential oils as a mode of treatment for cold sores. The essential oils that are often recommended for treating cold sores are as follows:
One of the herbs that is often used in aromatherapy to treat cold sores in bergamot (botanical name, Citrus aurantium ssp. bergamia). This herb is believed to possess antibiotic attributes and also generally facilitates in healing skin complaints. Even eucalyptus (botanical name Eucalyptus globulus) is considered to possess antiviral attributes and is effective in treating infections caused by herpes simplex viruses. In addition, it also helps to alleviate inflammation.
Geranium (botanical name Pelargonium odorantissimum) is also employed in aromatherapy, as this herb has a tendency to generate a skin quality that is something between being extremely oily and too much dry. Those practising aromatherapy also suggest the use of lavender (botanical name Lavandula angustifolia, also referred to as Lavandula officinalis), as it possesses relaxing attributes and also owing to the herb's efficacy in maintaining the appropriate skin quality.
In addition the herb lemon balm (botanical name Melissa officinalis) is also used to treat cold sores as it seems to be useful in curing the condition, particularly when the treatment has been started quite early - in the initial stage of the infection by a herpes simplex viruses. Rose belonging to genus Rosa is also prescribed for treating cold sores as this herb has a tendency to hydrate, dampen as well as stimulate the skin. At the same time rose also works in the form of an antiseptic. Generally, oils extracted from the herb tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) are also considered to possess the aptitude to fortify the immune system and, at the same time, restrict the spread of HSV infections.
Use a cotton ball to apply a couple of drops of the tea tree oil directly to the skin infected by the virus. While a number of herbalists recommend that you apply the oil twice - in the morning and then again in the evening, there are others who suggest that you apply the oil to the affected areas at intervals of one or two hours. Although the use of essential oils as well as aromatherapy as a cure for cold sores has not been supported by any scientific research, still several herbal practitioners as well as those practising aromatherapy continue to suggest the use of essential oils for more than several centuries citing proof of the benefits provided by them.
Homeopathic remedies are helpful in preventing the development of cold sores as well as treating the condition. For instance, administering constitutional homeopathic medication under the supervision of a competent and qualified physician may possibly facilitate in augmenting the defence of an individual against cold sores.
It is advisable that you opt for the medication that suits you best and also correspond with the symptoms of the disease. Provided you have not been asked otherwise, you ought to use low potency homeopathic medication (such as 6C, 6X, 12C, 12X, 30C or 30X) if you are doing self-medication. Also follow the instructions on the label of the product carefully while doing self-medication.
Several practitioners of homeopathic remedy advocate the use of the medications to treat herpes simplex in the following manner. Before using the medications on a regular basis, just take a solitary dose and see the reaction. Provided you notice any improvement in the condition, keep waiting and allow the medication to work. You may take a second dose in case the improvement is considerably sluggish or the condition has obviously stopped improving. It is worth mentioning here that the regularity of the dose differs depending on the patient as well as the condition. There may be times when a patient needs to take a dose of a medication many times in one hour. On the other hand, there may be occasions when a dose is recommended many times throughout the day. Then again, at times just taking one dose of a homeopathic remedy daily or even less may be enough for curing the condition.
Additional things you may do
In addition to using conventional medications, herbs and supplements, homeopathy and aromatherapy, you may also do a few additional things to lessen the occurrence of cold sores or even facilitate their cure. For instance, you may apply sunscreen having SPF 15 or more to your lips with a view to put off the condition from reappearing. Findings of a study, wherein the subjects were patients with recurrent cold sores, revealed that the patients who did not apply sunscreen had cold sores just after 80 minutes of exposure to the sun. In addition, it is advisable that when you have cold sore blisters, never ever touch them, as touching them may help the virus (herpes simplex type 1 virus also known as HSV-1) to spread. This especially happens when you are sharing items of personal use like towels, toothbrushes, drinking glasses or razors.
Besides, if you are suffering from cold sores, it is advisable that you practice yoga, meditation or any other type of relaxation to lessen the tension, which is believed to be one of the factors for developing cold sores. You should also keep away from eating chocolates, nuts, whole grain cereals as well as gelatine, as they enclose great amounts of the amino acid called arginine. According to a section of the physicians, arginine is responsible for generating cold sores. Use of the supplement lysine may possibly neutralize this effect of arginine.
The standard dosage of the different supplements and herbs that are useful in lessening the occurrence of cold sores as well as facilitating their treatment is discussed in brief below.
Other beneficial herbs