Beginning at age 12, I was cursed with the Herpes Simplex-1 virus, an unwitting gift from my mom. I remember my mother occasionally sporting a cold sore throughout her adult life. Though somewhat unsightly, they were never significant and disappeared within a few days. Mom didn’t realize they were highly contagious. She had a habit of kissing her children on the lips when saying good night.
Three (of eight total) varieties of herpes viruses most commonly affect humans: Herpes Simplex-1 (oral herpes, or cold sores), Herpes Simplex-2 (genital herpes), and Varicella-Zoster virus, which manifests as a painful skin outbreak called Shingles which begins earlier in life as chicken pox, after which the virus becomes dormant before manifesting again. The majority of adults on the planet is afflicted with at least one of the three. World Health Organization statistics confirm that, by 2015, more than 3.7 billion people under the age of 50 were infected with Herpes Simplex-1 alone.
The summer of my 12th year, I returned home from a weekend girl scouting adventure wearing not one, but two cold sores on my lower lip, despite having no trace upon my departure three days prior. My parents were amused at my first outbreak, and my father joked about bringing home twin friends from my girl scout trip. In all the years since, I’ve never seen anyone else sport two cold sores at one time. My first outbreak was the beginning of a nightmare.
Outbreaks worsened with each occurrence. By the time I was sixteen, I’d manifest cold sore outbreaks 2-3 times each year, and they were horrific. Instead of being confined to my lip, I’d break out from my lower left lip down my face, almost to my chin. I counted as many as fifteen cold sores at one time during a breakout. Imagine being a teenager with such a cosmetic curse on your face, and then imagine being lead saxophone in the high school band, unable to play for a week while your lower lip swelled to twice its normal size. No amount of make-up could camouflage the disfigurement, and drugstore topical treatments were totally ineffective.
For a dozen years I suffered repeated outbreaks. When other people fell ill with colds and flu, I’d break out in cold sores. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-twenties that a friend who sold nutrition supplements educated me about the correlation between my cold sore outbreaks and weakened immunity. I learned there is no cure for the herpes virus. Once you’re infected, it lives inside your cells the remainder of your life and is likely to reappear. The virus stays dormant because your body’s immune system subdues it, but if immunity is compromised, the virus seizes the opportunity to make an appearance.
Natural Remedy for Herpes
My friend convinced me to enhance my immunity with a multi-vitamin and mineral complex, Shaklee Vita-Lea. Cold sore outbreaks soon diminished from several times annually to maybe once, and they weren’t nearly as severe… a huge relief.
Some years later I read an article about zinc being an excellent immunity enhancer, so even though Vita-Lea contained 100% of the US recommended daily allowance of zinc, I added a Shaklee zinc supplement to my daily nutrition regimen. Now I was at 200% of the US RDA, and this dramatically reduced outbreaks again, to one every few years. Then I concluded that, since zinc was such a mighty immunity warrior, I’d go on the offensive when I sensed an outbreak. At the slightest lip tingle, I’d take three zinc tablets, and then ingest one every hour for as many hours as necessary, until the tingling subsided. Using this tactic, I prevented most outbreaks entirely. Warning – do NOT attempt this!! I didn’t learn until years later that too much zinc ingestion can lead to heavy metal poisoning, which can have severe health consequences. When I detected a metallic taste in my mouth, I knew I’d overdone it. I was fortunate to have escaped serious side effects in using myself as a guinea pig.
I stopped overdosing with zinc after learning that a simple amino acid called Lysine will attack a reawakening Herpes Simplex-1 virus and render it dormant, pronto. I keep a tube of Lysine topical ointment handy at all times. You can find Lysine in most health food stores and even some drug stores. Now, instead of zinc, I use Lysine at the first tingle and never suffer cold sore outbreaks. Important note – Lysine MUST be applied at onset to prevent an outbreak. Once a blister forms, it’s too late for prevention.
Traditional medicine has no cure for cold sores, but they do sell expensive drugs to prevent outbreaks, including Zovirax and Valtrex. The problem is you must take the drug daily for the rest of your life, and the long list of potential side effects is absolutely appalling.
People prone to cold sore outbreaks should understand that weakened immunity is not the only facilitator. Shortly after moving to Florida, when I’d yet to grasp the dangers of powerful tropical sun rays, I spent an entire summer day at the beach and suffered serious sunburn. Within hours, a fever blister emerged on the precise lip location where all my cold sores originated. Another time I binged on grape tomatoes, downing two pints consecutively. (Tomatoes are my candy.) Shortly thereafter a blister developed, again on the lower left lip. Quick research resulted in my discovering that tomatoes are rich in amino acid Argenine, and too much Argenine can give rise to fever blisters in susceptible people.
Over the years I’ve suspected that some people simply have a genetic weakness for Herpes Simplex-1, because despite 50 years of kissing Mom, my father never had a single cold sore outbreak. Neither did my three siblings, who received equal doses of Mom’s bedtime kisses. Recently a pilot study on twins suggests that genetic factors strongly influence the “waking up” of the Herpes Simplex-1 virus from a dormant state to cause cold sore outbreaks.
The good news is that just because you carry the virus doesn’t mean you have to suffer repeated outbreaks. Fine-tune your immune system with healthy organic eating and a good nutrition supplement, and keep a tube of Lysine on hand to live cold-sore-free. Finally, bear in mind that an enhanced immune system is the first requirement in naturally fending off outbreaks from any of the other varieties of herpes virus as well.
Please feel free to ask questions about treating Herpes with alternative remedies. As always, we welcome your comments.