Herpes is an infection and a long term condition that is produced by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). It can be oral and genital. The parts that get affected with this virus are mucosal surfaces, anal region, external genitalia and skin on other parts of the body.
Types of Herpes Simplex Viruses:
- Herpes-type 1 (HSV-1) – It is also called as oral herpes
- Herpes-type 2 (HSV-2) – It is also called as genital herpes
Many people after getting infected do not experience symptoms for months or years. Some people see symptoms in the early period that usually appear around 4 days after exposure. Many people with Herpes simplex virus have recurrent herpes. Recurrence occurs more frequently when a person had herpes before.
Symptoms of Primary Infection
- Ulceration and sores on the external genitalia
- Vaginal discharge
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Pain while urinating
- High temperature
- Cold sores nearby the mouth
- Red sores occur on the skin
Symptoms of Recurrent Infection
Symptoms of recurrent infections are less severe and do not last as long as the primary infection stage.
- Tingling or burning sensation around genitals before blisters appear
- Women may experience blisters and ulcers on the cervix
- Cold sores nearby the mouth
- Red sores
As we have discussed the above symptoms of herpes, its cause. So, it is also important to discuss the management of the condition now. Thus, in this article, we are going to refer to home remedies for herpes. Home remedies include some effective methods and dietary guidelines that are easy to adopt and safe to use.
Home Remedies for Herpes
- Hot Compress
Applying heat can be helpful as soon as you feel the formation of a sore. If a sore is already there, heat can help reduce pain and swelling. You can use a clean cloth or a cotton towel, soak it in warm water. Squeeze the cloth to remove excess water from it. Apply it to the throat area. You can also use a dry hot compress. To make this you can fill a sock in half with rice, put it in the microwave for a minute to heat it.
- Warm/Hot Bath
Bath the affected area/genital area two times a day with moderate soap and water. This can help in neutralizing the virus and promoting healing.
- Cold Compress
You can also use a cold compress to reduce swelling. Apply ice-filled cloth or ice packs over the affected area. The use of ice helps relieve herpes pain, it numbs the skin and suppresses the pain receptor in the area.
- Baking Soda Paste
Baking soda helps to dry out wounds and provide relief from itching. So, you can use baking soda paste on the affected area. For this, dip wet cotton in baking soda powder and put it on the sore.
- Use Propolis
Propolis is a waxy resin produced by bees that possess antiviral properties and stimulates the healing of wounds. You can find this easily in food stores. When you first use it, use it on the unaffected area to make sure it does not cause any allergies to you. If it suits you then use it as it is very effective.
- Olive Oil
Olive oil helps to moisturize the skin. It is a rich source of antioxidants and is one of the best home remedies to treat herpes sores. Heat olive oil with a few twigs of lavender and some beeswax in a pot. Left for cooling and apply this to the infected area.
- Cornstarch Paste
Corn starch paste can also dry out wounds and provide relief from itching. For this, dip wet cotton in cornstarch powder and put it on the sore or wound.
- Coconut Oil
Coconut oil holds anti-viral properties that can help combat disorders of the herpes virus that creates sores. It is also effective for the skin as a natural moisturizer.
Garlic is also effective against the herpes virus as it has antiviral activity. Grind a fresh clove of garlic and add it to olive oil to dilute. Apply this blend to sores thrice a day.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar holds antiviral and anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. Take one part of apple cider vinegar and dilute it with three parts of hot water. Then apply it to the affected area. It is also an effective home remedy for herpes.
- Oatmeal Bath or Salt Bath for Genital Herpes
An oatmeal bath or salt bath can help you to reduce the discomfort and pain of the sores. Use Epsom salt as it helps in relieving pain and itching due to herpes infection.
- Dietary Guidelines for Herpes
Diet plays an important role to manage any condition. So the following are the dietary guidelines for people with herpes including what to eat and what to avoid.
Food to be Added in Your Diet
- Omega-3 fatty Acids Rich Food
Omega-3 fatty acids help to improve the functioning of your immune system and make your body strong to combat chronic inflammatory diseases like herpes infections. The rich sources of Omega-3 fatty acids are Canola Oil, mackerel, salmon, flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts.
- Antioxidant-Rich Food
Antioxidant-rich vegetables can boost your immunity. It can reduce inflammation and suppress herpes infection. Great sources for antioxidants such as spinach, bananas, cauliflower, and tomatoes.
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C helps to heal sores and infections due to herpes virus. Some fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamin C such as cauliflower, bell peppers, broccoli, strawberries, and oranges.
- Vitamin B
Vitamin B can boost your immune response to help your body fight the herpes virus. Some vitamin B rich sources are whole grains, red meat, eggs, green beans, spinach, broccoli, and nuts.
A healthy amount of protein intake is important to fight the herpes virus and other pathogens. Always have a diet with high protein and low saturated fat. Some sources of protein are oats, almonds, and eggs.
Zinc can reduce the outbreak of herpes in a patient. So, increase zinc consumption by eating chickpeas, wheat germ, lamb, and pork.
Some Food to be Avoided in Your Diet
Avoid Acidic Food
Avoid acidic food when you have sores. Especially do not consume citrus fruits, soda, processed foods.
Avoid foods that contain high amounts of arginine such as pumpkin seeds, legumes, chocolate. A high arginine diet can trigger herpes symptoms.
- Added Sugar
The added sugars convert into acids in our body which is a trigger factor of herpes infection. Avoid foods with added sugar and pay attention to natural occurring sweets such as bananas.
- Processed Food
Processed food comprises synthetic chemicals that increase oxidative stress. So, avoid processed food.
DR. Vikram Chauhan, MD – AYURVEDA is an expert Ayurvedic practitioner based in Chandigarh, India, and doing his practice in Mohali, India. He is spreading the knowledge of Ayurveda Ancient healing treatment, not only in India but also abroad. He is the CEO and Founder of Planet Ayurveda Products, Planet Ayurveda Clinic, and Krishna Herbal Company.