Home Remedies for Herpes

From crusty mouth sores to unpleasant genital symptoms, you can thank herpes for the majority of these complaints. Herpes is a virus with many scary statistics. About one in five adults has genital herpes, and up to 90% of people infected with the virus have no clue that they have herpes. This is mostly because the majority of people who have herpes do not show any signs. If you are infected, home remedies for herpes can help control the intensity of your symptoms.


What is Herpes?

Herpes is a virus that spreads from person to person through skin-to-skin contact [1]. Single sores or a cluster of blisters usually accompany a herpes outbreak. However, some people show little to no symptoms at all. The herpes virus can affect both animals and humans, but the kinds that affect humans include Herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2 (responsible for cold sores and genital herpes), varicella-zoster virus, Epstein-Barr virus, human cytomegalovirus, and the most recent discovery – the human herpes virus.

Different Kinds of Herpes

Two main forms of the herpes virus are oral herpes and genital herpes.

Oral Herpes appears as cold sores (also known as fever blisters), which are lesions that can occur on the mouth, lips, and other places on the face, such as the nose, cheeks, chin, and nostrils. Cold sores are caused the herpes virus, but are rarely the same type of virus responsible for genital herpes.

Genital Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease that strikes both men and women. Pain, itching, small red bumps, blisters, and open sores in the genital region are some of the symptoms associated with genital herpes. The herpes simplex virus (HSV) enters the body through small breaks in the skin and mucous membranes – usually through sexual contact.

When we think of herpes, we often dwell on the oral and genital variations, yet the herpes virus is responsible for a host of other medical conditions, including:

• Herpes Whitlow[2] – A herpes infection of the fingers.
Chickenpox – The infamous childhood virus.
• Infectious Mononucleosis – Nicknamed ‘the kissing disease.’
Shingles – Causes a distinctive rash.
• Roseola – Childhood illness characterized by flu-like symptoms.

Herpes Home Remedies

The herpes virus is responsible for many common medical frustrations. To soothe the burning sensations of cold sores or ease a flare-up of chickenpox, read some of the home remedies for herpes that can help ease your symptoms:

Genital Herpes Home Remedies

a) Soap and Water:

Genital herpes sores can cause a secondary bacterial infection. Keep in mind that plain ol’ soap and water can keep germs away.

b) Loose Clothing:

Air plays an important role in the healing process of genital sores. Wearing loose clothing allows the skin to breathe and encourages herpes symptoms to fade.

c) Cotton:

When choosing undergarments, such as pantyhose, panties, and bathing suits, seek out items that have a crotch made out of cotton. This allows herpes sores to breathe and heal faster.

d) Exercise:

The stronger your immune system is, the better equipped you are to fight viruses. There is some proof that exercise helps give a boost to the immune system[3].

e) Avoid Certain Foods:

Some foods contain an essential amino acid (arginine) that the herpes virus needs for its metabolism. Foods high in arginine include peas, grain cereals, peanuts, chocolate, cola, cashews, beer, and Jell-O.

Oral Herpes Home Remedies

a) Change Your Toothbrush:

The herpes virus can thrive on your toothbrush for days and increases your chances of re-infection after a cold sore heals.

b) Vitamin B:

To promote healing and deliver a boost to your immune system, take 100 mg of vitamin B for two times per day.

c) Salt:

Placing a small amount of salt on a cold sore has been said to speed up the healing process. Leave the salt in place for one to two minutes. Some people have reported a brief discomfort with this home remedy.

d) Petroleum Jelly:

Petroleum jelly can serve as protection for your cold sores. Use a fresh cotton swab each time you reapply to avoid spreading the virus.

e) Ice:

At the first sign of a tingling cold sore, apply an ice cube to decrease inflammation.

f) Witch Hazel:

Some people who have battled cold sores have reported that breaking open the sore and applying witch hazel as a drying agent has produced results. Alcohol can also be used as a substitute for witch hazel.

Shingles Home Remedies

a) Cornstarch:

Shingles that appear below your neck may respond to a bath soak with an added handful of cornstarch. Since this home remedy for shingles offers temporary pain relief, it is suggested to soak in a cornstarch bath 20 minutes before going to bed to encourage a more comfortable entry into your night’s slumber.

b) Hydrogen Peroxide:

If shingles blisters become infected, treat with hydrogen peroxide – straight out of the bottle with no dilution.

c) Red Pepper:

Red pepper contains capsaicin – a component that blocks the signals of pain that skin nerves deliver to the brain. Add cayenne pepper to any of your natural skin lotions until it turns a pinkish color. Directly apply to affected areas.

d) Garlic:

Fight the viral infection behind shingles by eating three cloves per day, which you can add to your favorite recipes.

e) Vitamin C:

If you have shingles, taking extra doses of vitamin C will benefit your immune system and nerves. For example, taking 200 mg of vitamin C for five to six times per day can help build up the strength of your immune system.

f) Zinc:

When taking a multivitamin, look for one that contains zinc.

g) Vitamin E:

Spread the liquid from a vitamin E oil capsule directly onto a shingles rash.

Chicken Pox Home Remedies

a) Cool Ginger Baths:

After filling a bathtub with cool water, add ginger. Taking a 30-minute bath can help ease some of the itching of chickenpox.

b) Vitamin E Oil:

Helping to boost the healing process and relieve itching, vitamin E oil applied to chicken pox will also help fade away scars.

c) Baking Soda:

To soothe the itching of chickenpox, sponge down the body with a baking soda and water mix. Once the water dries, the baking soda will create a healing layer for lesions.

d) Honey:

Smear honey onto the skin as a way to aid the healing of chicken pox.


[1] http://www.herpes-coldsores.com/herpes_information.htm

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herpetic_whitlow

[3] http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/007165.htm