Herpes simplex (or simply herpes) is a viral infection caused by one of the two major types of the Herpes Simplex Virus. Genital herpes is mostly caused by Herpes Simplex Virus of the 2nd type. Oral herpes is the result of the herpes viral keratitis infection that affects the nerves serving the cornea of the eye. The ways in which herpes infections reveals is different within individuals. The virus in the blood provokes outbreaks on the skin and genitals. While these outbreaks can be prevented and the risk of transformation from partner to partner can be decreased, herpes itself is not curable.
Tingling and itching sensation in the affected location are usually the first symptoms of the herpes infections. These initial symptoms are usually followed by the appearance of a raised or swollen area on the skin. Later the swollen area then becomes painful in general, and if it is scratched, touched or moved – acutely sore. The sore area may become abscess and emits a clear fluid for several days before scabbing over. After this happens lesion usually heals completely during the period of seven-ten days. Headache, fatigue and twitching sensations in the nerves leading to outbreak may accompany the primary herpes symptoms. Additional symptoms for ocular herpes include dull pain deep inside the eye, mild to acute dryness and sinusitis.
The herpes outbreaks are caused and triggered by various factors. Typical common triggers for oral herpes are psychological stress, upper respiratory infections and sunburns. Genital herpes is provoked by the stress, menstruation, diet (food containing arginine, such as nuts and chocolate) and sexual activity.
Two kinds of treatment regimens are commonly prescribed to treat herpes. They are episodic therapy and suppressive therapy. Episodic therapy medications are taken at the first sign of outbreak and continue for several days to prevent its further development. Suppressive therapy is aimed at reducing the number of outbreaks, and the antiviral medications are taken on a daily basis.
A number of herbs are used to control the infection and treat the symptoms of herpes. Some are helpful during the prodromal phase; others are best for the visible open sores or blisters and boost the immune system. Many herbs have multiple effects.
Prunella vulgaris has lately been called the “Herbal Herpes Cure”. This common weed has been used for centuries by herbalists for internal and external wounds. The cream made from Prunella vulgaris constituents lessens the number of outbreaks and lesions. Applied five times a day as a topical ointment, lemon balm ( Melissa officinalis) provides relief for fever blisters and genital ulcers. This action is achieved by the caffeic, rosmarinic, and ferulic acids of lemon balm that possess antiviral properties. High levels of glycyrrhizic acid in licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) have also shown therapeutic benefit in the herpes treatment. Patients should remember that this herb may lead to the high blood pressure if taken during the long period. Golden seal root is also an effective, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, healing tonic which helps to fight with many types of bacterial and viral infections, including herpes.