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Natural Treatment For Cold Sores

Mar 17, 2008
Cold sores are an unpleasant condition caused by the herpes simplex virus. It is estimated that 80-90 percent of the population of the United States is infected with the virus, although perhaps 12 percent suffer regular outbreaks. Most of us pick up the virus in childhood, often becoming infected by being kissed by infectious adults.

While herpes simplex remains in the body permanently, most of the time in a dormant state, there are steps we can take to prevent re-occurrence of the lesions. The drug companies have several OTC and prescription medicines available for treatment that deal with the symptoms; but there are also natural remedies available - treatment for cold sores that can prevent them reoccurring by helping strengthen the immune system.

Lysine is an essential amino acid, required by the body which cannot synthesize it itself and therefore requires we get it through food sources. It is used to make protein, which is required to produce hormones, enzymes, antibodies, and body tissue. Food sources such as red meat, eggs, milk, cheese and yeast all provide lysine, which has been linked to keeping cold sore outbreaks at bay. However, there is another essential amino acid that has the opposite effect; too much arginine in the diet has been demonstrated to raise the risk of an attack, which may be due to an imbalance between lysine and arginine. Dietary changes can therefore certainly help to reduce the frequency and duration of cold sores, which can also be treated with lysine supplements to aid healing, or lysine based ointment.

One treatment that is popular in Europe due to its effectiveness is lemon balm. A member of the mint family, lemon balm can reduce the severity and duration of an attack and is believed to decrease the tendency of cold sore re-occurrence. This treatment is not widely available in the United States however.

Looking to traditional eastern medicine, we find that Reishi, a type of mushroom found in Asia, is commonly used in the treatment of cold sores by strengthening the immune system. Available in the form of powder, it is advisable to see your doctor because it thins the blood and prevents clotting and should therefore not be used in conjunction with medicines such as aspirin. Reishi can also be used with Astragalus, a kind of herb. It also helps associated with boosting the immune system.

Other natural ingredients that have been used to treat cold sores successfully include resveratrol, peppermint oil and propolis. The former is a compound found in red grapes, while propolis is a substance used by bees to keep their hives germ free and is collected from buds. Care should be taken with peppermint oil, however, as it can have a toxic effect on the body and should never be taken internally.

Anyone suffering from cold sores regularly knows how unpleasant an attack can be. However, taking care of what we eat and looking after our own well-being have proved to be an extremely effective long term treatment for cold sores for many sufferers.
About the Author
If you found the advice here useful, you may like to read more about treatment for cold sores at the Cold Sore Treatment Guide.
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