Herpes is a condition that is characterized by painful sores on the lips or in the genital area. It is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Once the virus is in your system, it does not go away. Recurrent outbreaks are always a possibility. You can do several things to strengthen your immune system to reduce your risk of outbreaks and to help fight current ones, but nothing can guarantee you will never experience herpes sores again.
Consider using natural supplements that have antiviral properties or ones that boost immunity. The University of Maryland Medical Center suggests the following supplements might be useful. Try topical propolis, a resin produced by bees, to speed healing of outbreaks. According to the University, propolis strengthens immunity, and studies show that it can halt the reproduction of both forms of herpes virus. Probiotics (take chosen supplement as directed), vitamin C (1,000 mg 3 times a day), B-vitamins (take one B-complex daily) and L-glutamine (1,000 mg three times daily) strengthen immunity. The following supplements have antiviral properties, which help your immune system fight the virus. They include acetyl-L-carnitine (500 mg daily), resveratrol (200 mg daily), milk thistle (160 mg three times daily), holy basil (400 mg daily), cat’s claw (20 mg three times a day) and garlic (400 mg three times a day).
Follow a diet that promotes a strong immune system and reduces inflammation, which weakens immunity. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors, as well as whole grains, beans, and healthy fats like those found in cold-water fish and olive and canola oil. Nuts and seeds are normally recommended since they are a healthy form of fat, but they are rich in arginine, an amino acid that might trigger the outbreaks.
Manage and reduce stress. Stress weakens your immunity. If you have genital herpes in particular, it can be very distressing having a sexually transmitted disease. Consider joining a support group where you can talk with other people who understand what you are going through. Experiment with relaxation techniques like yoga, deep breathing, meditation, self-hypnosis or positive visualization. Exercise regularly.
Try acupuncture; it can help fight infection and boost immunity.
Do not use natural supplements without talking to your doctor first. It is not necessary to take every supplement suggested as some offer similar benefits; consulting with a health care provider experienced in natural medicine is a good way to formulate a supplement regimen.
Kelli Cooper has been a writer since 2009, specializing in health and fitness. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Rutgers University and is a certified personal trainer with the American Council on Exercise.