Understanding and treating herpes - McDowell's Herbal Treatments

The word herpes means serpent-like. Herpes can infiltrate the nervous system and lie in waiting until the nerves are disturbed by some trauma, even the trauma of tight jeans, weather, sexual activity and excitement. In the modern day, herpes is very much a reflection of a depleted immune system. In earlier times before the abuse of antibiotics and drugs, the herpes virus was not nearly as rampant and more easily managed by the average persons natural immunity. Likewise it may not necessarily be caught from a carrier if your own immune system is healthy.


Herpes Simplex Virus Type I is the cold sore blister type that develops near the mouth or nose, emerging after a stinging, itchy feel. It may be that while our immunity fights off a cold the herpes comes out in areas where there is a high concentration of nervous tissue. It is estimated to be present in more than 50 percent of the American adult population. 

HSV type 1 most commonly infects the lips, causing sores known as fever blisters or cold sores, but it also can infect the genital area and produce sores. HSV type 2 is the usual cause of genital herpes, but it also can infect the mouth, it has now become a mutating resisant virus making it difficult to treat. A person who has a genital herpes infection can easily pass or transmit the virus to an uninfected person during sex if their immunity is low.

In America more than 20 percent of the population are infected with genital herpes, and the majority of these cases may be unaware they even have it.
Unfortunately, most people who have genital herpes don't know it because they never have any symptoms, or they do not recognize any symptoms they might have. When there are symptoms, they can be different in each person. Most often, when a person becomes infected with herpes for the first time, the symptoms will appear within 2 to 10 days. These first episodes of symptoms usually last 2 to 3 weeks.


Within a few days, sores appear near where the virus has entered the body, such as on the mouth, penis, or vagina. They also can occur inside the vagina and on the cervix in women, or in the urinary passage of women and men. Small red bumps appear first, develop into blisters, and then become painful open sores. Over several days, the sores become crusty and then heal without leaving a scar.
Other symptoms that may go with the first episode of genital herpes are fever, headache, muscle aches, painful or difficult urination, vaginal discharge, and swollen glands in the groin area.

Recurrent Symptoms

During a first episode, the immune system develops antibodies and other weapons against the virus. During a recurrence, then, this "immune memory" helps fight off infection more quickly. As a result, there are usually fewer sores, they heal faster, and the outbreak is less painful. The flu like symptoms of the first outbreak are seldom present.

What triggers a reoccurrence?

Herpes infections have different patterns in different people. Any one or combination of the following factors might sometimes, not always, induce an outbreak: surgery, illness, stress, fatigue, skin irritation (such as sunburn), diet, menstruation, or vigorous sexual intercourse.
A recurrence of the herpes infection may occur when latent viruses are triggered by immunosuppressive events such as emotional stress, sunlight, menses, cold or fevers, certain foods, beverages, vitamins and medications.

Pregnant women need to be aware that active genital herpes can put a foetus's life at risk at birth.

Herpes Zoster is the shingles condition which is an extension of the Chicken Pox virus. This type effects the Spine and Central nervous tissues radiating out and around the sides, often from one side only. Herpes Zoster can severely effect the elderly in a chronic situation.
Read more about shingles here

 Look at your emotional and energetic state. On an energetic level herpes can mean the emotional realization that something is "crook", there is tension, lack of energy and irritability. There may even be a sense of being trapped. Immunity as already stated is effected by emotional stress and the inclusion of Vitamin B's in the diet are the best way to support the restoration of emotional health and balance apart from changing those things which are causing the stresses. In fact Herpes has a tendency to flare up when we are emotionally upset. Louise Hay suggests that it is also important to feel comfortable and have no shame about our sexuality.

L-Lycine and bee pollen can be helpful but neither is a single cure condition. Herpes may be used as a health indicator and those times when it is not active will be the times your immunity is in better shape. If you make those adjustments to your health and supplements which allow it to receed there is no need for it ever to be active.

McDowells Products

McDowells Herpes mix includes Maritime Pine Bark, Hypericum, Blue Flag, Cleavers, Valerian, Scullcap, Rosehip and Liquorice as well as the Bach Flowers Mimulus, Chestnut Bud, Crab Apple, Vervain and Wild Rose.

Rosehip tea - one of the simplest steps to boost physical immunity is to regularly drink (2 cups daily) of rosehips tea to assist with the upper end of the immuinity.

Maritime Pine Bark - For the lower end of the immunity you can do no better than taking a daily supplement of Maritime Pine Extract which is a wonderful antioxidant many times more powerful than Vitamin C. 
Read more about Maritime Pine Bark here

Vitamin B12 in particular can be helpful. Vitamin B12 or Inositol is the master vitamin and is essential for cell replication and rejuvenation. It is found in Brewers Yeast, kelp, mushrooms, offal meats and Elecampane. Elecampane can be used as a cream or tea and applied locally to the area. 

Externally, the Skin Irritant cream is appropriate as it contains Elecampane.

Have a question? Contact McDowell's Herbal Treatments

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McDowell's staff Herbalists can not diagnose your disease or illness. What they can do is offer a herbal program to assist with healing, after you have had advice from your doctor or specialist. If you have unexplained pain or symptoms, seek medical advice.

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