Question: Unfortunately, I’m prone to cold sores. Are there any natural remedies you would recommend?
BY Rebecca Laske 16 September, 2008 – 12:33
Answer: Cold Sores are caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV). There are two types of herpes simplex virus; type 1 and type 2.
HSV-1 is the first type of Herpes Simplex Virus and generally infects body tissues above the waistline and is the common cause for cold sores, whereas the second type of Herpes Simplex Virus HSV-2 attacks below the waistline and causes genital herpes.
It sounds like you are suffering from HSV-1.
Unlike other infections where symptoms are more or less immediate, both types of herpes simplex virus which cause cold sores enter the body and travel to the top end of the nerves, where it lies in a dormant state.
During this ‘sleeping time’ there is no sign of cold sore infection. It is only when the virus is woken up or reactivated that cold sores form.
Cold sore triggers vary from person to person but tend to include physical or emotional stress, over exposure to UV light, fever, menstruation, fatigue and drugs that suppress the immune system.
Once activated, both types of herpes simplex virus travel back along to the nerve endings in the skin, where they starts to replicate. This is when the cold sore blisters occur, sometimes without warning but occasionally you’ll feel tingling or itching sensation beforehand.
Most conventional cold sore treatments are only effective at this tingling stage, before the blisters occur. Once the blister has reared its ugly head, you’ll have to wait 8-10 days for it to run its course.
However clinical trials show that some herbal remedies can be effective at every stage of a cold sore.
Research published in Journal of Clinical Research in 2001 shows that A Vogel Bio-Propolis from Bioforce can heal cold sores in just over 3 days, even after blistering has occurred.
Made by honey bees, Propolis has been used for more than 2000 years for its antiseptic properties. Today it is recognised for its antiviral potential.
Liquorice Balm sold by Skin Shop has been recently tested by the Herpes Association on both types of herpes simplex virus and reduced the duration of cold sores for testers who also reported that their cold sores were less severe.
Recurrent cold sores may indicate a compromised immune system, so you really ought to consult your GP if they do keep coming back.