conquer cold sores



It's hard to imagine that a simple kiss could make you miserable. But just consider the painful, ugly cold sore, which was apparently put here just to spoil tonight's big date.

These liquid-filled blisters, which erupt around the lips, sometimes extending to the nose or chin, are caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and the MSV-2 viruses, relatives of the chicken pox virus. The blister is not necessarily the result of catching a cold, and is common in any season. More than 90 percent of those who now get cold sores were infected between the ages of 6 months and 4 years. The virus remained dormant deep in the DNA of nerve tissue for months or years. Sixty percent of Americans have cold sores at some time, with 25 percent experiencing recurrent outbreaks.

Immune stresses can provoke cold sore eruption, including emotional stress, dental procedures, excessive sun exposure, infections and facial trauma. The virus reactivates, moves down the nerve and starts a blister and sometimes a fever, swollen glands and body aches.

Unlike cold sores, canker sores are nonviral ulcers that form on mucous membranes inside the mouth.

Untreated, a cold sore lasts six to 10 excruciating days. Herbal medicines offer relief and can permanently conquer them. Build your immune system, use these remedies, and reap the results.

Prevent with Licorice Root
A modest daily oral dose of licorice strengthens the immune system to reduce outbreaks. It's also a strong anti-inflammatory medicine. For a blister, use a licorice ointment or cream that contains glycyrrhetinic acid or the related glycyrrhizic acid (the active compounds). Topical glycyrrhetinic add has been shown in clinical studies to reduce pain and healing time. It has also inhibited the herpes virus in test tubes.

Cool Heat with Lemon Balm
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is probably the best herbal treatment for cold sores. The antiviral effects appear to stem from the leaf polyphenols. A member of the mint family, lemon balm has a pleasant taste and smell.

Many studies have proved the ointment/cream effective for herpes. A German study showed that it provided pain relief within eight hours, and performed as well as acyclovir cream, the leading drug for oral herpes. If you are a do-it-yourselfer, brew lemon balm tea, soak a cotton ball in the tea, and then apply to the blister.

Soothe the Sore
The juicy aloe plant (Aloe barbadensis) is famous as a treatment for sores, and recent studies suggest that aloe treats herpes infections.

A two-week double-blind placebo-controlled trial studied 60 subjects using aloe cream (0.5%) or a placebo three times daily for five days. The aloe cream decreased the healing time of cold sores (4.9 days vs. 12 days), and dramatically boosted full healing by the end of two weeks (66.7% vs. 6.7%).

Legend for Chart:
A - cold sores remedy
B - forms
C - doses
D - comments
A: Licorice root
B: • Capsules
• Cream
C: 1g daily
Pea-size bead
D: May loosen stool slightly
Apply to blister
A: Lemon balm
B: • Loose tea
• Cream
C: 10g daily, brewed
Pea-size bead
D: Antiviral effect
Use cream with 1% essential oil
A: Aloe vera
B: • Cream
C: Pea-size bead
D: Dramatically speeds healing
PHOTO (COLOR): HOT products for COLD sores: From left to right: Enzymatic Therapy's topical COLD SORE RELIEF with lemon balm; also topical, COLD SORES BEGONE with aloe and lemon balm; and SUPER LYSINE + tablets by Quantum Health with the amino acid lysine, licorice and more.


By Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa, DN-C, RH

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