Tingling sensations, swelling, redness, that ‘run down’ feeling and the unpleasant appearance of cold sores is enough to make you run for cover and never want to experience them again.
Colds sores are more common than you might think
Cold sores are a very common condition caused by the herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV1).
It’s estimated that around 90% of people carry HSV1 antibodies in their blood, meaning that they have been exposed to the virus at some point in their lives, yet only about one third of these people will ever experience a cold sore.
HSV1 tends to lie dormant in your nervous system, and can lay dormant until triggered by an event, and this may be many years later. When triggered, HSV1 travels through your nerve endings until it reaches the skin where many small and often painful vesicles or blisters erupt.
Cold Sores are highly contagious
HSV1 is highly contagious and is spread through direct contact with a blister such as kissing, or through indirect contact such as sharing drinking glasses, cups, straws etc. Once contracted, the virus lies in your body for life. There are no known cures for HSV1, however triggers for future outbreaks have been identified and include:
- A weakened immune system
- Recent cold, flu or upper respiratory tract infection
- A high arginine to lysine ratio in the body
- Stress and fatigue
- Sun or wind exposure on the lips
- Hormonal fluctuations
By being aware of these triggers, you can take preventative measures to reduce the frequency, severity and duration of future outbreaks. Supporting your immune system and reducing your stress levels are essential in controlling HSV1 outbreaks and to reduce recurrent attacks. Supplementation with herbal and nutritional medicines can be of great benefit:
- Lysine inhibits HSV1 multiplication and has been clinically proven to reduce the occurrence, severity and healing time for recurrent HSV1 infections. Lysine can be taken as a preventative or at higher doses during acute attacks. Lysine and arginine compete with each other, so supplementing with lysine is best combined with a diet low in arginine rich foods including chocolate, nuts, some seeds and chick peas
- Olive leaf contains oleuropein, a compound that exerts strong antimicrobial and antiviral properties while also supporting your immune system
- Medicinal mushrooms such as Shiitake, Reishi and Cordyceps provide powerful immune support and antiviral activity. Medicinal mushrooms can also relieve the symptoms of colds, flu and mild upper respiratory tract infections which are often a precursor for an outbreak of cold sores
- Adaptogenic and adrenal tonic herbs such as Withania, Rhodiola, Rehmannia and Licorice promote resistance to stress, helping your body function normally during stressful situations while supporting your adrenal glands
Mr Vitamins recommends
Find out more and shop online for these Herbs of Gold products above
Bone K (2007), The Ultimate Herbal Compendium – A Desktop Guide For Herbal Prescribers, Queensland, Phytotherapy Press.
Braun L & Cohen M (2010), Herbs & Natural Supplements: An evidence-based guide, 3rd Edition, Sydney, Elsevier.
Pizzorno JE & Murray MT (2013), Textbook of Natural Medicine, 4th Edition, Missouri, Elsevier.
Powell M (2010), Medicinal Mushrooms: A Clinical Guide, East Sussex, Mycology Press