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Cold sores severity reduced by Liquorice Balm: a new study proves successful

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The severity of cold sores and the duration of cold sores are reduced more by a lip balm containing an extract of liquorice than most conventional cold sore treatments, according to a new study.

11 June, 2008

Treatments for cold sores are normally gels and creams which are applied after the cold sores have appeared. There are a very few treatments which have a preventative effect on cold sores to prevent an outbreak.

The liquorice lip balm was found to be effective in a double-blind trial, carried out by the Herpes Viruses Association on forty people. It reduced the severity and duration of outbreaks for over 73% of subjects tested and, furthermore, 83% of subjects using the liquorice balm reported experiencing less severe outbreaks than when using their conventional treatments. While using the liquorice lip balm, testers reported that on average their outbreaks were only half their normal length.Unlike conventional treatments, due to its naturally derived ingredients, volunteers were able to wear the balm at all times without any negative side-effects, meaning that it could be used to prevent outbreaks before they could take hold.

The key cold sore fighting ingredient in liquorice is glycyrrhizic acid (GA). GA specifically targets the genes that are required to maintain the virus in its latent state by interfering with the production of special proteins that feed the infected cells. Research published in the US Journal of Clinical Investigation has shown that liquorice has the ability to weaken the cold sore virus which lies dormant in the skin between outbreaks.(1)

Marian Nicholson from the Herpes Viruses Association says; “We were aware of the research on liquorice and were interested in carrying out an in vivo trial. Quite often results which look impressive in a test tube are not as effective in real life testers. However the liquorice balm has performed well with respondents showing a marked reduction in severity and duration of their cold sore outbreaks. In light of this research we are happy to recommend this treatment to our members.”

Skin Magazine has a review of Liquorice Balm here

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