I am blessed to have never deal with any form of herpes. Most people at some point in their life will indeed experience herpes, mainly in the form of a cold sore.
What? You didn’t know that a cold sore is herpes?
There are 2 types of the herpes simplex virus (HSV): herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2).
HSV-1 infections usually occur around the mouth, lips, nose, or face, while HSV-2 infections usually involve the genitals or buttocks. However, HSV-1 can sometimes cause infections in the genitals or buttocks, while HSV-2 can occasionally cause infections around the mouth, lips, nose, or face.
Both types of HSV produce 2 kinds of infections: primary and recurrent. Because it is so contagious, the herpes simplex virus causes a primary infection in most people who are exposed to the virus. However, only about 20% of people who have a primary infection with the herpes simplex virus actually develop visible blisters or sores. Appearing 2–20 days after a person’s first exposure to HSV, the sores of a primary infection last about 1–3 weeks. These sores heal completely, rarely leaving a scar. Nevertheless, the virus remains in the body, hibernating in nerve cells. A vicious cycle of an active outbreak followed by remission is par for the course with herpes.
Today I would like to highlight two herbs that are known to be particularly useful in fighting the HSV. It is important to note that this is NOT medical advice as I am not a licensed medical professional nor do I pretend to be one on this site. Please take the information I am presenting and do your own research. Then consult your trusted medical practitioner.
Now that my disclaimer is out of the way, let’s talk about those two herbs shall we?
I bet this herbal antiviral never came onto your radar. I would be surprised if it did. It isn’t exactly commonplace. However, houttuynia is probably the most effective herbal antiviral in reducing the cytokine cascade the HSV starts. Basically, it is powerful enough to inhibit the virus.
Houttuynia is an antiviral and can both inhibit the replication of the virus as it moves through one’s system as well as prevent a viral infection if taken as a preventative. It is a broad-spectrum herbal antiviral making it great to have on hand for more than just a herpes outbreak.
Most of the studies on this herb have taken place in China, India, and Thailand. Apparently those of us in the U.S. do not typically like the taste of this herb. The studies are actually quite fascinating once you get past all the sciencey stuff. If you would like to read some of these, I suggest you get your hands on a copy of the book Herbal Antivirals. There are about 6 pages of studies listed that you can take your pick from. Here are two that are accessible on the internet:
Houttuynia is not an herb you want to self-dose with. You need to find an herbalist, preferably a Chinese Medicine practitioner, to help you with this herb. This herb is relatively safe. However, there are specific ways to use it and you want to make sure that you are getting enough in your system and during the right time. Having said that, I did find this tincture version and after some research, it appears to have positive results.
Don’t you just love how I am throwing around these new-to-your herbs?
Isatis is actually a brassicaceae which is the family that houses cruciferous vegetables like cabbage and broccoli. This is why it tastes like spoiled broccoli. Originating most likely in what is Russia today, Isatis has naturalized all the way from Japan to Scotland, and is now considered an invasive weed in the western United States. Everywhere it has grown (except for in the United States, that is), it has been used and appreciated in many different ways.
One of those ways is to both prevent a HSV outbreak as well as to shorten the duration of an active outbreak. Isatis is a very broad antiviral herb which inhibits the replication of a virus, inhibits virus attachment to cell walls, and is a great immune stimulant. These are all things you want in an herb used for the HSV.
I could honestly go on and on about Isatis but I’ll let you decide if you want to read all the scientific info. If you like to read more about Isatis and herpes, here are a couple of places to start:
In doing more research on how one would use Isatis, I discovered that it is best used as a decoction. This is the traditional use anyway. Tinctures are becoming more and more common however, Isatis appears to work best when used in conjuction with other herbs.
And so I did some research and one product was recommended by hundreds of people across several herpes support boards. Astra Isatis.
Astra Isatis combines Isatis (da qing ye/ban lan gen), an herb with strong anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, with Qi, yin and yang tonics. The formula is designed for patients with weak constitutions who are prone to many infections. The cooling and warming properties of the herbs are balanced in Astra Isatis to provide long-term therapy for chronic viral infections which tend to exhaust the Qi and yang.
The formula contains herbs that help calm an overactive metabolism and inhibit the agitating effects of pathogenic organisms. It includes spleen andkidney tonic herbs chosen for their immune enhancing properties and their ability to reduce inflammations. Laminaria (kun bu) regulates the thyroid and resolves lymphatic congestion. Bupleurum (chai hu) invigorates liver qi and is used in the treatment of prolonged infections. Astragalus (huang qi), codonopsis (dang shen), white atractylodes (bai zhu) and dioscorea (shan yao) strengthen the spleen, and have immune enhancing properties according to western research. Epimedium (yin yang huo) tonifies kidney yin and yang. Lycium (gou qi zi) nourishes kidney yin. Licorice (gan cao) tonifies the adrenal gland and has detoxifying properties.
Since I do not battle a HSV, I cannot share any personal experience with this supplement but the reviews have all be overwhelmingly positive. So it is definitely something to look into.
I hope that by introducing you to these two herbs, Houttuynia and Isatis you are able to discuss the possibility of using these to prevent and shorten a herpes simplex outbreak.
While you are here, you might want to check out to posts I wrote about coconut oil and herpes. Check out Can Oil Pulling With Coconut Oil Spread The Herpes Virus as well as Coconut Oil For Cold Sores.
Have you tried any natural treatment for HSV? If so, please share!