Herbal Health Information on Cold Sores

These are caused by the herpes simplex virus which can be passed on by kissing or other physical contact. Although not life threatening they can be so debilitating as they can cause cracked and sore areas around the nose mouth and eyes, but if around the eyes you need to go to the doctor for help.

Once the Herpes virus is in the body it is almost impossible to get rid of as it sits around quietly on nerve roots and waits until the body is run down before it takes hold and causes a flare up, commonly, when you are suffering from cold or flu but can be any other illness which compromises the immune system.

Therefore boosting the immune system is very important to help the body defend itself from any invading organisms. This can prevent a flare up of cold sores and help the body fight off colds and flu to stop it getting run down.

Nutritionally it is important to take in large amounts of Vitamin C and Zinc.

Vitamin C is in most fruit and veg, but I have found the best source to be Limes.

Take a fresh lime, cut it in half and squeeze the juice out of one half into a glass.

Fill the glass with cold water and drink it down. A glass a day first thing in the morning will boost your Vitamin C levels. Obviously don’t stop eating other fruit and veg during the day as this will maintain your normal vitamin and mineral intake.

Zinc is fairly low in foods due to modern farming methods and is difficult to absorb. It is therefore essential to have an intake of Zinc daily. It is present in high amounts in Pumpkin seeds, oats, peas and shell fish, but I advise the easiest way of getting Zinc, is to eat about a handful of pumpkin seeds or a bowl of porridge daily. You can buy Pumpkin seeds in any health food shop and large supermarkets. Of course the rest of your diet should be a sensible balanced diet to ensure a good intake of other vitamins and minerals which Vitamin C and Zinc Metabolism (usage) will be dependant on in the body. Drink at least two pints of water a day to help clear out toxins.

Internally, the traditional immune system boosting herb is Echinacea which stimulates the white blood cells in the blood which are responsible for removing foreign bodies and also producing antibodies to fight infections. Echinacea is available in health shops or on the internet but make sure you are buying a licensed product which will have undergone rigorous tests to prove efficacy.

Two other herbs have a direct anti viral effect on the herpes simplex virus, and these are St. John’s Wort and Melissa (lemon balm)

St. John’s wort is taken internally as a tincture or capsules and is available from health shops or on the internet.

Melissa is used externally as a topical application. The only way you will get hold of this is if you grow it in your garden or have a friend who grows it. Many large herb suppliers will stock Melissa but it will be dried and the fresh plant is better to make a topical application, although the dried will do.

Pick a good handful of Melissa, preferably mid morning. Place it in a jug and add a cupful of boiling water. Leave this to steep for 10-15 minutes. If you are using dried plant it is one teaspoon to a cup of boiling water.

Strain and store in the fridge for a few days when you will have to make a new lot.

Dab this liquid on to the cold sore at least four times during the day.

This is definitely a case of prevention is better than cure so keeping your self well fed and boosting your immune system regularly, is essential.

However like all forms of medicine, do not take Echinacea all the time, bacteria and viruses become immune to all forms of medicine if they are continuously exposed to them.

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Linda Bostock

Medical Herbalist/herbal Health Information