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Can These New Treatments Stop Herpes for Good?

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Up to 90 percent of Americans have herpes of some kind. Find out two new treatment options currently under development as well as natural treatments for herpes you can find today below!

Chances are, you have herpes.

According to the CDC, almost 90 percent of all Americans have some form of herpes by the time they are 60 years of age. About half of Americans have oral herpes by the teen years.

The herpes simplex virus 1 is the most common form of herpes, and is generally benign and causes the development of cold sores in the mouth. Since the virus is so mild in most cases, many people do not even realize they are passing the virus along.

In most cases, HVS1 is extremely mild and hardly worth mentioning. However, there is some evidence that HSV1 can cause blindness if it reaches the eyes, and in even rarer cases, the HSV1 virus can infect the genital region- just like its sister the HSV2 virus.

In fact, according to new statistics from the CDC, up to one-quarter of the U.S. adult population has genital herpes in addition to HSV1. In fact, 50 percent of new genital herpes cases each year are not HSV2, but are actually HSV1. While usually virus transmission is strongest when a person has an active outbreak, there is up to an 18 percent chance that a person can spread the virus even when no visible outbreaks are present. There is up to a 2.5 percent chance of passing the virus along even while taking medication.

These statistics are concerning and make treating the condition more important than ever. Although it is not possible to cure the virus or kill it (as of 2014), there are a variety of treatment options that can help reduce the risk of passing the virus along and reduce the number of active outbreaks seen each year. The following treatment options work both for the HSV1 and HSV2 forms of herpes.

New Herpes Treatment Research

A 2014 study published in Science Translational Medicine found that one strategy was able to help prevent the spread of the herpes virus in mice, guinea pigs, and rabbits. Using this treatment plan, fewer animals died or had the virus spread through their bodies. The researchers have high hopes that this treatment plan may not only help prevent the spread of the herpes virus, but may also work for other viral infections- such as shingles and measles.

Rather than approach the virus cells themselves, this treatment method addresses the virus at the genetic level. A virus must open its genes to “turn on” the virus. This is required so that the virus can replicate and spread. However, the researchers found that by blocking an enzyme called LSD1, the virus genes were unable to open and replicate. To suppress this enzyme, the researchers used a medication commonly sold as an antidepressant, called tranylcypromine.

According to the study; mice had fewer deaths and spreading viruses, rabbits had less viral shedding and fewer eye attacks, and guinea pigs with genital herpes had fewer outbreaks. According to the study authors, “The interesting thing about each of these model systems is that then, in the animals that are treated, if we look at what the viral genome looks like, we see that it’s all packaged up tightly.” “It was not able to unpackage, and that’s why you have reduced disease, reduced shedding and reduced recurrences.”

In addition to this protein and enzyme-blocking treatment currently under research, researchers are also investigating the possibility of developing a vaccine to prevent the spread of HSV1 and HSV2. According to the researchers working on this vaccine, “It makes a lot of viral proteins that can induce immune responses, but not spread to other cells to cause disease.”

The goal of this vaccine would be to build immunity to individuals who do not have the virus. However, the study authors also believe it could suppress the virus in previously-infected individuals. However, neither of these treatment methods are market-ready.

So what can someone who already has herpes do to reduce the number of outbreaks they see? The following natural treatments for herpes can help relieve symptoms and reduce the number of outbreaks a person sees each year. These natural methods can be tried alone, or in addition to traditional medications for herpes. Always discuss any treatment changes with a doctor before proceeding.

Natural Treatments for Herpes

According to the University of Maryland, a variety of natural treatments for herpes have been shown to be effective at reducing the frequency of outbreaks, pain level, or duration of outbreaks. Just like medications designed for herpes, most of these methods work to help slow the replication of the virus by improving the immune system.

Supplements and Vitamins

According to the University of Maryland, the following vitamins and supplements are some of the most effective for HSV1 and HSV2.

L-Lysine: Studies suggest that lysine is effective are reducing the outbreaks of cold sores. Lysine may also be able to shorten the duration of herpes outbreaks. Lysine can also speed recovery.

Zinc: Zinc has been shown to be effective at preventing the spread of the herpes virus for both HSV1 and HSV2 in test tube studies. Another study showed that individuals who used a zinc cream on cold sores saw faster healing time compared with placebo cream.

Propolis: Propolis is a resin produced by bees that has antioxidants and flavonoids. These work together to improve the immune system and fight infection. In studies, propolis has been shown to stop the reproduction of HSV1 and HSV2 in test tube studies. One small study conducted on individuals with genital herpes showed that the lesions healed faster than using medicated cream.

Lemon Balm: According to the University of Maryland, studies have found that lemon balm helped heal cold sores, particularly when applied topically. Lemon balm has strong anti-viral properties that can help prevent the reproduction of herpes and boost the immune system from the inside out. Peppermint oil: Preliminary test tube studies have found that peppermint oil was effective at preventing the spread of a number of viruses, including the herpes virus. However, no studies have been conducted on humans as of 2014.

Monolaurin: Monolaurin is derived from lauric acid (found in coconut) and glycerin. This supplement is known to have anti-viral properties and is used to treat viruses like measles, influenza, and herpes. In 1982, this supplement was shown to be effective in preventing the spread of the herpes virus in test tube studies.

Garlic: Garlic is yet another natural antiviral. In a study from 1992, it was found that garlic was effective at preventing the spread of HSV1 and HSV2 in test tube studies. Garlic is also a natural immune-system booster, which is beneficial in preventing the spread of the virus.

Homeopathy

According to the University of Maryland, there may be some evidence that the following homeopathic remedies work for the treatment of herpes when supervised by a qualified homeopath. In a small study of 53 individuals with genital herpes, it was found that homeopathy was able to improve symptoms and reduce number of outbreaks for 4 years. Homeopathy may not work for all cases of herpes, but it may reduce the number and severity of outbreaks in some individuals.

Common homeopathic treatments for herpes

 For Cold Sores:

Natrum muriaticum: Used for cold sores on the edges of the mouth.

Rhus toxicodendron: Used for itchy, small blisters.

Sepia: Used for outbreaks that do not respond to other remedies. 

For Genital Herpes:

Graphites: Used for large, itchy outbreaks.

Petroleum: Used for lesions that spread beyond the genital area.

Sepia: Used when other treatments do not work.


Improvement of Immune System

When the immune system works properly, herpes outbreaks are far less likely simply because the body can fight infections on its own. The best way to improve the immune system is with a healthy diet, regular exercise, frequent sun exposure, and a low-stress lifestyle. You may find the following lifestyle changes helpful:

Lifestyle Improvements for Herpes 
  • Do not smoke
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Avoid processed sugar
  • Remove junk food from the diet
  • Eat a diet rich in vitamins from vegetables, fruit, and high-quality protein sources
  • Exercise at least three times a week
  • Get sun exposure daily
  • Remove extra stress
  • Take time to relax

 


These simple lifestyle changes can go a long way toward improving the immune system without the need for additional supplements and treatment methods. You may also find that adding anti-inflammatory and anti-viral foods to your diet (such as garlic, onions, omega-3 fats, cod liver oil, and cilantro) also can help boost the immune system naturally.

Preventing Herpes from the Inside Out

Although there are some medical treatments for herpes, no current treatment can completely eliminate the potential to spread the virus or see outbreaks. However, using natural treatments for herpes can help reduce the number and severity of outbreaks seen each year. By taking steps to address the problem from the inside out, a person with herpes can ensure that he or she has the least amount of inconvenience and pain from the condition. Discuss adding the above treatment methods with your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

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