Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus. The first infection may have the symptoms of swollen glands, a general feeling of being unwell and painful mouth ulcers. Subsequent attacks occur mostly when the person is run down and they start with a tingling and itch on an area around the lips and nostrils, then tiny blisters appear. These blister break and weep. They then crust over and gradually disappear. Scratching will spread the virus and it can lead to a bacterial infection. The virus lives permanently in the nerve endings of many adults and children. Cold sores are contagious and care should be taken not to spread them to other parts of the body or to other people.
The following may activate the virus:
- poor diet (even if only in the short term),
- dietary triggers such as chocolate and peanuts,
- mental or physical stress and fatigue,
- rubbing or chafing of the skin,
- depleted immunity or being ‘run down’.
What you can do to treat cold sores
When treating cold sores it is important to boost the immune system – thus assisting the body to combat the virus.
- Cleanse your body of toxins so that the immune system is able to function at its best.
- Make sure that you eat a diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts and kohlrabi, garlic and onion, chili, ginger, sprouted seeds and beans and use cold pressed seed and vegetable oils. These all assist the immune system.
- Have plenty of garlic or use a garlic supplement or other natural antibiotic such as olive leaf extract or grapefruit seed extract.
- Take vitamin C (specifically calcium ascorbate – this is a non-acidifying vitamin C).
- Take a good multivitamin and mineral supplement.
- Manage your stress levels. Progressive relaxation and creative visualisation will be of assistance with stress anxiety or depression. There are also many herbal remedies that you can use to deal with stress.
- Be sure that you have plenty of exercise.
The following herbs will support your immune system and should be taken in conjunction with the recommendations above:
- golden seal
- huang qi
- poke root
- dandelion root
The following herbal formula will be most useful:
2 parts cleavers
2 parts echinacea
1 part oats
1 part poke root
Combine all the ingredients. Take 1 teaspoon of the herb blend and place into a suitable sized saucepan and add one cup of boiling water. Allow this to stand for 10-15 minutes. Strain out the herbs. Drink 1 cup of this tea twice per day.
- Externally a lotion of echinacea with or without myrrh will prove useful.
The following can also be applied externally:
- melissa oil
- lavender oil
- calendula tincture
- myrrh tincture
- golden seal tincture
Cold sores are an infection of the herpes simplex virus. They are an indication that the immune system is not functioning as effectively as it could. These are many things that you can do to deal with cold sores but the most important are to cleanse the body of toxins and boost immunity.