According to John Hopkins University the herpes simplex virus affects anywhere from 50 to 80 percent of American adults with oral herpes or HSV-1. Genital Herpes or HSV-2 affects one in six Americans. Typically, a herpes outbreak is asymptomatic but stress or another illness can cause an uncomfortable, and frequently embarrassing, outbreak of blisters and sores. With the actual expression of the disease so dependent on overall health, natural remedies for herpes outbreaks may be able to help prevent outbreaks.

In the following excerpt from Secret Food Cures authors Lydia and Joan Wilen discuss natural remedies for herpes.


The herpes virus is a common infection that affects the body’s nerve cells, making them “break out” in painful sores. Herpes simplex 1 generally affects the mouth (cold sores and fever blisters) and simplex 2 affects the genitals. Each type tends to be recurrent (you have an outbreak whenever you are sick or under stress), and each can be contagious during intimate contact—kissing, oral sex or intercourse.

Forty-five million Americans (one out of every five sexually active adults) have genital herpes. Each year, up to one million more get this virus. The best way to prevent transmission of the virus is to abstain from intimate contact during an outbreak.

We spoke with a man who did extensive research and came up with a remedy for overcoming the symptoms of herpes simplex 1. He tested it and had friends test it. The results were impressive.

But first the remedy, next the explanation and then more about the results.

Dietary Remedy

• Do not eat nuts, chocolate or (sorry, Mom!) chicken soup. At the first sign of a herpes flareup, eat one pound of steamed flounder. That’s it. That’s the remedy.

The explanation—in simple terms, as best as we understand it—is that there’s a certain balance in the body between two amino acids …arginine and lysine. To contract herpes and to have the symptoms recur, one’s body has to have a high level of arginine compared with the level of lysine. The secret, then, is to reduce the amount of arginine (eliminate nuts, chocolate and chicken soup) and increase the amount of lysine (eat flounder). One pound of flounder has 11,000 mg of lysine. You can take lysine tablets, but you would have to take lots of them, and they contain binders and other things you just don’t need. Also, the tablets are not as digestible or as absorbable as the lysine found naturally in flounder.

By steaming the fish, you help to retain the nutrients. An added bonus is that you can add the sauce of your choice to the flounder after it’s been steamed. That way, you won’t even think of it as medicine!

As for results, the man and his friends have had symptoms disappear overnight after eating flounder and never eating nuts, chocolate and chicken soup.

Cold Sores and Fever Blisters

• Speed up the healing process of a cold sore by cutting a clove of garlic in half and rubbing it on the sore. Not pleasant, but effective.

• Combine one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with three tablespoons of honey (preferably raw honey) and dab the sore with the mixture in the morning, late afternoon and at night.

CAUTION: Open sores are infectious to hands, eyes and genitalia. They are best left alone to dry and heal. Foreign substances may cause further irritation and infection.

• Grind up a few walnuts and mix them with one teaspoon of cocoa butter. Apply this “nutty-butter” salve to the sore twice a day. The sore should be gone in three or four days.

• Lysine may inhibit the growth of herpes viruses that cause cold sores and fever blisters. Take one L-lysine 500 mg tablet daily with dinner. Or eat flounder for dinner!

• This remedy came to us from several people across the country. (If they weren’t embarrassed to tell it to us, we won’t be embarrassed to tell it to you.) Use earwax (your own, of course) on your cold sore or fever blister.

• When a cold sore is on its way, there’s often a peculiar tingling sensation. At the first sign of that tingle, take colorless nail polish and paint it lightly on the area where the cold sore is about to emerge. The nail polish prevents the sore from blossoming.

Cyndi Antoniak, a producer for MSNBC, got this unique remedy from her dermatologist. Since Cyndi first used this remedy successfully some time ago, she hasn’t needed to use it again. Incidentally, the polish peels off naturally within a short time.


Did you have the chicken pox when you were a kid? Herpes zoster virus is the chicken pox virus, which is also the shingles virus, revisited. The chicken pox virus stays dormant until your immune system falls down on the job. The resulting painful, blistery flare-up is shingles.

• St. John’s wort is an antiviral, anti-inflammatory herb that can also strengthen the nervous system. Drink St. John’s-wort tea to help you de-stress, and gently massage the tincture directly on the affected area. Both tea and tincture are available at health food stores.

CAUTION: Check with your health professional before taking St. John’s wort. It may interfere with some medications.

Aloe vera gel is a soothing, cooling antiseptic. You can buy a bottle at a health food store or you can buy an aloe vera plant. They’re inexpensive, easy to grow and they look a lot prettier than a refrigerated bottle.

Look for aloes that have little spikes on the edge of the leaves. When using the plant, cut off the lowest leaf, then cut that leaf into two-inch pieces. Slice one of the pieces in half and apply the gel directly to the affected area. Individually wrap the remaining pieces of the leaf in plastic wrap and keep them in the freezer. Every few hours, take a piece of leaf from the freezer and apply the soothing gel.

• In order to get a healthy dose of a beneficial amino acid, lysine, eat flounder.

• Make a paste of baking soda and water, and apply to the affected area for some relief.

• Prepare a paste of Epsom salts and water. Place the paste directly on the affected area. Repeat the procedure as often as possible.

• Apply any of the following to relieve the itching and speed the healing—witch hazel (an astringent), apple cider vinegar (an infection fighter), red raspberry tea (particularly good for viral eruptive problems) or aloe vera gel.

• According to Frank L. Greenway, MD, professor and chair of the outpatient clinic at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, shingles pain can be eased by geranium oil. Applied directly on the affected area, 100% geranium oil relieved pain dramatically in 25% of patients whose pain after a case of shingles had lasted for three months or more and was not relieved by standard pain medications. Fifty percent of the patients showed some relief, and 25% did not benefit. Geranium oil is available in health food stores.

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