erpes is a contagious viral infection that affects millions of people all over the world. Caused by the herpes simplex virus, this disease is often divided into two categories – infection due to HSV-1 and HSV-2. According to the reports, 3.7 billion people worldwide below the age of 50 are infected with HSV-1. Meanwhile, an estimated 417 million people between the ages of 15 and 49 were reported to be suffering from HSV-2 infection. [1]

Often cited as a global menace, herpes is a disease that affects people living in both, developed and developing nations. As per the reports, HSV-1 infection is more common than HSV-2 infection. In the USA, around 58% of the population is infected with herpes simplex virus type 1. However, few of them are aware of the fact that they are infected with this virus. The transmission of the infection-causing virus usually takes place when a person comes in direct contact with body fluids (saliva) or lesions of an infected individual. Also, it has been found that this infection usually occurs in individuals who have a weak immune system. [2]

The severity of the symptoms of herpes may vary from person to person. However, most people suffering from herpes experience problems like cold sores or genital ulcers. The symptoms of this infection can cause a great deal of pain and discomfort. Also, frequent outbreaks of herpes infection can take a serious toll on a person’s life and his or her ability to carry on with day-to-day activities.

Unfortunately, there is no way to completely eliminate the herpes virus from the body, however, with the help of certain medications and natural ingredients, one can reduce the frequency of herpes outbreak and get rid of the painful symptoms associated with this condition. Conventionally, herpes breakout is managed with the help of antiviral medications. These medications can provide relief from painful sores and reduce fever associated with the infection. [3]

Apart from antiviral medications, there are other effective ways of fighting herpes symptoms with dietary supplements, herbal remedies, and essential oils. Natural remedies are usually believed to be safe, secure, easily available, effective and inexpensive.

What Is Herpes?

Herpes is a contagious viral infection that is caused by the herpes simplex virus. This infection is associated with various symptoms. The severity of the symptoms depends on the type of the virus. Herpes simplex virus infection can be categorized into two types:

HSV-1 – Herpes simplex virus type 1 infection, also referred to as oral herpes, is an extremely contagious infection that usually shows no signs or symptoms. A majority of people suffering from this particular infection are not even aware that they are infected. The symptoms of this infection appear around the mouth and lips in the form of painful blisters, ulcers or cold sores. Oral herpes can lead to a wide range of health complications and have a huge impact on the quality of a person’s life. This infection is usually transmitted by oral-to-oral contact, and in few cases through oral-genital contact.

HSV-2 – Infection caused by herpes simplex virus type 2 is referred to as genital herpes. This infection is more common in women than in men. The telltale signs of this infection go unnoticed in the initial stage. That is why just about 10-20% people suffering from HSV-2 report for early diagnosis. The symptoms of genital herpes include painful genital ulcers, swollen lymph nodes, fever and body aches. At times, individuals suffering from this infection may also experience shooting pain in areas like legs, hips, and buttocks. The HSV-2 virus is usually transmitted during intercourse. [4]

How To Avert Herpes?

Individuals suffering from HSV-1 and HSV-2 should maintain extra caution as herpes is among the most contagious diseases in the world. Those who are experiencing symptoms of oral herpes should avoid oral contact with those around them and abstain from oral sex. By maintaining proper caution, one could prevent transmission of this infection. On the other hand, people suffering from HSV-2 should avoid sexual activity. [5]

How To Get Rid Of Herpes Symptoms Naturally

Here is a list of simple yet effective remedies you can try to get rid of herpes symptoms naturally:

1. Vitamin C

Vitamin C aka ascorbic acid is an essential nutrient that can help you tackle the herpes outbreak. A clinical trial was conducted to evaluate its efficacy in fighting oral herpes. Individuals were given 600-1000 mg of vitamin C three to five times every day. It was found that vitamin C was able to reduce the symptoms of herpes, reduce recurring infections and also avert disruption of vesicular membranes.

Another scientific study was conducted to check if topical use of vitamin C can work against recurrent mucocutaneous herpes. In this study, a vitamin C formulation was applied two to three times to the lesions for just one day. According to reports, the topical application of pharmaceutical vitamin C formulation was able to abate the troubling symptoms of herpes.

Vitamin C helps maintain the immune status of the body, improve white blood cell function and stimulate interferon production. This valuable nutrient also possesses the antioxidant property and acts as a free radical scavenger capable of safeguarding tissues from oxidative stress and related diseases. [6]


Zinc is an essential element. It is known to have anti-viral effects and can boost immunity. Aside from that, zinc is also known to function as an antioxidant. This feature enables it to protect membranes from oxidative damage. Also, studies have found that a deficiency of this mineral in the body can increase the risk herpes simplex infection.
It can either be used as oral therapy or topical treatment to reduce the symptoms of herpes. Zinc has been found to be effective in tackling both types of herpes, oral and genital. When taken orally, zinc can have anti-viral effects on the infection, speed up the healing of lesions and boost immunity. On the other hand, when applied externally, zinc is known to effectively destroy the virus. [7]

A study was conducted to determine the therapeutic ability of topical zinc sulfate in eliminating the symptoms of genital herpes, one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in the world. A total of 90 patients suffering from genital herpes, participated in this study. The result of this study led to the conclusion that topical zinc sulfate is an effective remedy for genital herpes and for prolonging the remissions of the infection. [8]

Using zinc supplements and creams can help to reduce chronic genital herpes outbreaks, heal external sores, help get rid of pain and reduce recurrence of the infection. [9]

3. L-lysine

L-lysine is an essential amino acid that can help avert outbreaks of herpes simplex infection and its symptoms. Food items containing this compound or L-lysine dietary supplements can be used for reducing the severity of herpes symptoms. [10]

A clinical study found that L-lysine supplement can cause a significant reduction in the occurrence of herpes. It was also found that this amino acid can diminish the severity of painful symptoms of herpes and also speed up the healing time of the existing sores. [11]

During the active stages of this infection, you can try taking 700-1000 mg of L-lysine on a daily basis for effective relief from the frustrating symptoms of herpes. L-lysine is considered to work more effectively on herpes simplex type 1 than on types 2. [12]

4. Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender essential oil is famous for its health-benefiting features. It has been found that this remarkable essential oil can speed up the healing process of cold sores. Few experts suggest using lavender essential oil in combination with tea tree oil. You can try mixing 3 drops of lavender essential oil with 1 drop of tea tree oil and a half teaspoon of squalene oil. Once the oils are thoroughly mixed, you can apply the resulting blend on the sores to help them heal. [13]

5. Garlic

Garlic is a valuable natural remedy that is believed to heal a wide array of ailments. Due to its antiviral and immune-boosting properties, it can also be used for tackling oral and genital herpes. Garlic can be used both internally and externally for fighting the herpes outbreak and getting rid of its symptoms. For tackling the symptoms of oral herpes, you can try applying garlic juice to the affected area. For genital herpes, a 20-minute garlic sitz bath in hot water could help relieve the symptoms. Oral consumption of garlic is known to control the herpes outbreak and keep painful symptoms at bay. [14]

6. Aloe Vera Gel

The gel of the aloe vera plant is considered to be one of the most health-benefiting natural ingredients in the world. Aloe vera gel is known to possess a wide array of compounds that could fight bacterial and viral infections in a safe and effective manner.

A research team at Sims and Zimmermann conducted multiple tests to evaluate the efficacy of aloe vera gel in tackling herpes and its symptoms. It was found that aloe vera can effectively destroy the herpes simplex virus within 3 days. [15]

You can take aloe vera gel either internally or use it for topical application. Extract gel from an aloe vera plant and apply it generously all over the affected area. Try following this method once or twice a day for getting relief from the painful sores associated with herpes. [16]

7. Homemade Blend

Mix half teaspoon each of St. John’s wort tincture oil and licorice root tincture with 5 drops each of tea tree essential oil and lemongrass essential oil. Put the resulting blend in a glass jar and shake well prior to applying it on the lesions. You can use this homemade blend 2-3 times a day on the herpes lesion to get relief. [17] The goodness of all the ingredients used in this blend could help you get rid of herpes symptoms.

8. Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is an herb that belongs to the family of mint. It is extensively used for alleviating a wide range of ailments such as anxiety, bee stings, and sores associated with herpes infection. A study involving 116 people found that application of lemon balm on the sores associated with herpes can lead to a significant reduction in the redness and swelling of the affected area. To alleviate herpes symptoms like cold sores, you can try applying lemon balm at least 2-3 times a day on the affected spot. [18]

9. Olive Leaf Extract

Olive leaf extract is known to possess medicinal properties that enable it to hinder the growth of the herpes virus. To banish symptoms associated with herpes, you can try taking 750 mg of an olive leaf extract capsule. Pick any organic brand and follow the instructions stated on the capsule. Alternatively, you could incorporate olives and olive oil in your daily diet to attain relief from herpes symptoms. [19]

10. Honey

Some researchers believe that honey can also be used for tackling the symptoms associated with herpes. This natural ingredient is known to be capable of healing wounds and fighting infections. You can try applying honey on the painful sores to speed up the healing process. Dip a cotton swab in organic honey and gently apply it to the affected area. Try using this natural method 5-7 times a day for effective relief from the pain and discomfort caused by the cold sores. Alternatively, you can add honey to your detox and immune-boosting drinks to reap the benefits and fight the herpes outbreak. [20]


While there are conventional ways to relieve the symptoms of herpes, if you are looking for natural ways to manage this infection and reduce the frequency and severity of its outbreak, then you can use the above-stated natural remedies. However, prior to using any remedy for herpes symptoms, it is wise to consult a health care provider.

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