Herpes: Reproductive Remedies - Male and Female

May 25 / Matthew Wood, MS
Are there natural remedies for herpes?

We covered this topic in our St. John's Wort Celebration and male reproductive system class, as well.

Yes, there are herbal herpes remedies. What we always stress is that no one remedy works for everyone. Differential evaluation and therapeutics are a necessity. Notwithstanding, we also sometimes guess. In herbalism and its close cousins, aromatherapy, and low potency homeopathy, there are many fine agents for this problem. I didn’t get to tell some of my favorite stories because we only covered this subject for a minute, and incompletely, under the female system, but in the male reproductive class I indulge myself—as well as here.

The first thing we have to admit is that once a person has herpes it will never leave their system. However, we can strengthen the immune response to such an extent that the herpes will never show up on the surface again to cause pain and inconvenience. Viruses carry new genes into people and animals and the herpes virus will join the great junk pile of spare genes floating around in the interior, waiting to be reused for some evolutionary change in the future.

Back in the old, old days, the one remedy for this condition was an external application of the amino acid L-lysine. This may be a suppressant rather than a cure, but it can be very useful. But that was a few years before my time. By the time I started working in the little herb shop, in South Minneapolis (Present Moment Herbs and Books), Bob, the owner of the store, had already started recommending deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) in an external form. This was indeed suppressant, rather than curative, but it was gentle and effective. The pain eased off, promptly, and then the inflammation and red, vesicular bubbles. But the condition would come back. There was a company that made a preparation for external use but the FDA hassled them into retirement after thirty years of innocent herbal commerce. Today we can get DGL in a gel cap for internal use—it is palliative for ulceration of the stomach. I imagine one could easily spread it externally, but we learned many more remedies for this condition.

A ‘fad herb’ for herpes appeared on the market in the 90s that was quite effective, Melissa. The herb or carrier oil with the essential oil in it is used externally. It is a remedy for irritation, heat, and the nervous system, so it fits well. 

But our favorite remedy in the little herb store was not one of the well-known brood. One day one of our regular customers came in and asked if we had homeopathic Ranunculus bulbosus 6x. “What do you want that for?” We asked. “Well that’s what Hanna Kroeger gave me at her store in Boulder, Colorado, and it really works.” Okay. We had it or ordered it and it worked great for many people. The symptom picture is based on what it will cause and rubbing Buttercup on the skin causes a rash just like herpes - red, vesicular, water-filled bubbles with great itching.

Thirty-five years later, I was talking to my friend Andrew Lange, a naturopath in Marin, California, and he said, “Oh, I told Hanna about Ranunculus.” He used to live in Boulder. So the indication went back to a real homeopath. Since that time I’ve found that you can use a number of different members of that family - Goldenseal powder, Black Cohosh, Pulsatilla, and Columbine (European or American). They don’t always work as well but are often perfect for getting that immune response that permanently controls the virus.

As I said, differential evaluation and therapeutics are important. There are some cases where the little bumps don’t point up into water-filled vesicles but remain with a water-core. Usually, the tissue is carmine red and suggests a histaminic rash. This is a specific indication for Wild Cherry bark externally.

Other people have used St. John’s Wort, which is for nerve sensitivity and heat or actually light sensitivity, and with that might go Skullcap, a cousin of Melissa. There are other remedies but this will handle almost all cases of herpes simplex and shingles before the latter becomes ulcerative. Then we need more work.

© copyright MMXXII Matthew Wood
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