Complementary and Alternative Treatments for Cold Sores
Nutrition and Supplementation
Arginine, an amino acid, encourages the growth of the herpes virus. Avoid foods that contain arginine, including most grains, nuts, chocolate, and legumes. Lysine, another amino acid, balances arginine and inhibits the herpes virus. Lysine can be found in most meats and dairy products.
Take the following daily supplements to treat cold sores:
vitamin B complex (100 to 150 mg twice daily)-important for healing
vitamin C (3000 to 6000 in divided doses; use a buffered form)
vitamin E (400 IU)
vitamin A (50,000 IU; do not exceed 8000 IU you are pregnant)-vital for healing tissue in mouth an lip area
Lactobacillus acidophilus (as directed on label)-balances bacteria
zinc and vitamin C lozenges
L-Iysine (4 grams for 4 days in individual doses, then 500 mg 3 times a day for 2 weeks)-fights the virus that causes cold sores
(For an acute condition, take supplements until your symptoms subside. If symptoms persist, seek the advice of your health care provider. For a chronic condition, consult your healthcare provider regarding the duration of treatment.)
Any of the following essential oils can accelerate the healing of cold sores: bergamot, eucalyptus, geranium, lavender, lemon, melissa, rose, or tea tree. Apply a single drop twice daily, about 12 hours apart.
Cold sores may respond to homeopathic treatment. Try these remedies, depending on your symptoms:
Arsenicum album-when the lips burn intensely; you feel chilled
Hepar sulfuricum-for cold sores that are sensitive to cold and painful to the touch
Natrum muriaticum-for them on or near the lips; lips are dry and cracked; can come on after sun exposure
Rhus toxicodendron-if condition is marked by several small, itching blisters filled with yellowish fluid; lips are swollen and inflamed; condition worsens after exertion or exposure to dampness
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Acupuncture Because practitioners, generally attribute cold sores to a damp heat condition, they typically treat with acupuncture therapy for damp-heat syndrome.
Chinese Herbal Therapy Because Chinese medicine views recurrent herpes outbreaks as a damp-heat imbalance or the result of excess stomach heat, herbs may be prescribed to treat these conditions as well.