All about Herpes

Genital herpes is a serious disease concerning public health and is the leading cause of genital ulcer disease worldwide.

Learning that one is diagnosed with Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), either oral or genital, can be very emotional. [Herpes zoster ophthalmicus affects the eye.]

A person may experience a variance of emotions, ranging from disbelieve to anger. This may be especially true for those diagnosed with genital herpes.

The detrimental effects of stress and social/self-stigmatization are many, but one of particular importance is stress’s direct effect on HSV outbreaks. Other common psychological issues related to HSV are the feelings of shame, embarrassment, anxiety, or depression. These psychological effects will often influence a person’s decision to inform medical professionals, friends, family, and potential or present sexual partners of their health status.

When you are first diagnosed with Genital Herpes, you may think that your dating life is over and worry that you might spread herpes to your partners and loved ones.  However, once you learn the facts about herpes, you will realize that you can live a healthy normal life, date and have children, just like everyone else.

Genital herpes is caused by infection with herpes simplex virus (HSV), commonly by HSV type 2 and now increasingly by type 1. Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 infections are acquired from contact with infectious secretions on oral, genital, or anal mucosal surfaces. Genital herpes can also be acquired from contact with lesions from other anatomical sites such as the eyes and non-mucosal surfaces such as herpetic whitlow on fingers or from lesions on the buttocks and trunk.

These infections have plagued humanity since ancient times, causing skin complaints such as herpes labialis and genital herpes. Disease symptoms often interfere with every-day activities and occasionally these infections are the cause of life-threatening or sight-impairing diseases, especially in neonates and the immuno-compromised patient population. After infection the virus persists for life in neurons of the host in a latent form, periodically reactivating and often resulting in significant psychosocial distress for the patient.

Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) is a commonly found human pathogen. The incidence rate of cold sores, caused by the HSV1 virus, is the second largest infection incidence worldwide, trailing only behind common cold.

More than 3.7 billion people under the age of 50 – or 67% of the world population – are infected with herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). HSV-1 is also an important cause of genital herpes. You can get genital herpes after coming into contact with HSV-1 or HSV-2. Most people get genital herpes from HSV-2, which they get during sex. If someone has a cold sore and performs oral sex, this can spread HSV-1 to the genitals — and cause herpes sores on the genitals. Some 140 million people aged 15-49 years are infected with genital HSV-1 infection, primarily in the Americas, Europe and Western Pacific. [Source: WHO, Geneva, 28 October 2015].

Herpesviridae is a large family of DNA viruses that cause diseases in animals, including humans. The members of this family are also known as herpesviruses. The family name is derived from the Greek word herpein (“to creep”), referring to the latent, recurring infections typical of this group of viruses. Herpesviridae can cause latent or lytic infections.

At least five species of Herpesviridae – HSV-1 and HSV-2 (both of which can cause orolabial herpes and genital herpes), varicella zoster virus (the cause of chickenpox and shingles), Epstein-Barr virus (implicated in several diseases, including mononucleosis and some cancers), and cytomegalovirus – are extremely widespread among humans. More than 90% of adults have been infected with at least one of these, and a latent form of the virus remains in most people.

In total, there are more than 130 herpesviruses, some of them originating from mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and mollusks.

Herpesviruses all share a common structure—all herpesviruses are composed of relatively large double-stranded, linear DNA genomes encoding 100-200 genes encased within an icosahedral protein cage called the capsid which is itself wrapped in a protein layer called the tegument containing both viral proteins and viral mRNAs and a lipid bi-layer membrane called the envelope. This whole particle is known as a virion.

The global market for herpes simplex virus treatment is forecast to reach $4.8 billion by the year 2017(1). Major factors driving market growth include increasing incidence of the condition, unmet market needs in the form of toxicities due to the use of existing drugs, increasing focus on vaccine development, and the emergence of promising drugs.

Additionally, with the virus subsequently developing resistance against the existing batch of anti-virals, the need for innovative therapies for the treatment of herpes simplex infection, and the search for novel antiviral drugs continues. This presents a huge potential for the growth of herpes simplex therapeutics market in future.

We cannot really blame doctors; they are just passing on what they have been told by researchers and big drug companies – Herpes is big business(2) for the pharmaceutical companies like: Agenus, Inc., AiCuris GmbH & Co.KG, Astellas Pharma, Inc., BioVex, Clinigen Group, Cytogenix, Inc., Genocea Biosciences, GlaxoSmithKline Plc, Lumavita AG, NanoBio Corporation, NanoViricides, Inc., Novartis International AG, Sanofi, Starpharma Holdings Limited, and Vical.

The problem with the medications that big Pharma have come out with for herpes is that they all come with side-effects; on top of the fact that they don’t actually cure herpes.

Natural remedies include:

1)      A few drops of tea tree oil and gargle to remove ulcers from mouth. For genital herpes, use an eye-dropper to put drops on the infected area.

2)      Lemon balm is one of the most effective herbal remedies for herpes. It has flavonoids, phenolic acid, and rosmarinic acid, which helps in healing the sores or blisters.

3)      Some studies suggest that taking L-lysine on a regular basis may help prevent outbreaks of cold sores and genital herpes.

4)      Vegetables include antioxidants, such as carotenoids, bioflavonoids and vitamin C to help with skin/wound healing and raise overall immunity.

5)      Zinc is needed in many chemical reactions that help rebuild skin and protect the body from viruses or infections. Topical zinc formulas have been found to be effective not only for cold sore treatment, but also for prolonging remissions in herpes.

6)      Oleuropein kills the virus not by interfering with its genetic material, but by interacting with the protein coat that protects the integrity and structure of the virus. Olive leaf extracts also helps keep your immune system strong, and therefore lowers your chances to contract the herpes virus or any other infection. In laboratory tests, olive leaf extract has shown virucidal effect (ability to kill viruses) like herpes simplex 1 and 2 and herpes zoster.

7)      Manuka honey is considered by many to be a great treatment for herpes outbreaks.

8)      Resveratrol is found to inhibit herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2) [beware of side-effects].

9)      Lactoferrin and lactoferricin have antiviral properties and can inhibit HSV-2 [beware of side-effects].

10)   Baking soda is an effective treatment for getting rid of herpes fast. It provides relief in the itchy and painful sores.

11)   Liquorice roots are helpful for the treatment of herpes infection. Liquorice has glycyrrhizin acid, which fights against the herpes virus.

12)   Pure (wild) Oregano oil seems to work by killing bacteria with help from a compound called carvacrol. Carvacol helps fight the herpes virus because it attacks the protective cell membranes bacteria hide behind.

13)   Various tests have shown that Peppermint oil exhibited high levels of virucidal activity against HSV-1 and HSV-2.

14)   Ascorbyl palmitate is a fat-soluble form of vitamin C, which means it can be stored in cells unlike ascorbic acid, which cannot be stored effectively because it is water soluble. It promotes quick healing of sores.

15)   Apricot oil contains omegas 3 and 6 as well as 9 fatty acids. It is also high in vitamins A and E. It helps to soothe the irritation from dermatitis and eczema. When combined with St. John’s wort oil, it can be used as an anti-inflammatory with a nice cooling effect.

16) Topical application of DMSO to lesions at the first sign of tingling has been reported to block herpes outbreak from advancing.

17) Some herpes sufferers report good success by topically applying Neem oil to lesions at the first sign of tingling.

Sugar can make the inflammation worse as it suppresses immune functions. Eliminate sugar and white flour from your diet. They interfere with your immune system’s ability to fight outbreaks and new infections. Added sugar is commonly found in bottled drinks, packaged snacks, and flavoured products like yogurt, cereal, granola bars and refined grains. Other reports suggest the same holds true for aspartame-sweetened soft drinks.

As Arginine is required for the herpes virus to replicate, avoid foods rich in arginine. As such, eating foods high in arginine, especially peanuts, chocolate and almonds, is associated with more frequent herpes outbreaks. The same holds true for dietary supplements containing arginine.

A specific protein-bound polysaccharide component of Reishi mushroom extract known as GLhw-02 has been shown to possess potent antiviral properties against HSV-1 and HSV-2 under experimental conditions. A small human trial demonstrated that Reishi mushroom extract reduced pain dramatically in two patients with post-herpetic neuralgia and in two other patients with severe pain due to herpes zoster.

Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and Pak Choy contain an active ingredient known as the indole-3-carbinol, which has been shown to inhibit replication of herpes viruses. Individuals consuming these foods daily and supplementing with indole-3-carbinol have reported decreased frequency of herpes outbreaks.

Joking about HIV and AIDS is distasteful and insensitive. What about herpes? Herpes is a safe punch line in an era of comedy where making fun of someone’s race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and class is increasingly considered politically incorrect. “Remember, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Except for herpes. That shit’ll come back with you” [The Hangover, Movie, 2009].

With reference to dating with genital herpes it is up to you to decide the right time to tell “your date” that you have genital herpes. Kissing, cuddling, and fondling are safe, so you don’t have to tell before you do that. If in the past you tended to start a new relationship with sex, you now might want to change your approach. Give your partner enough time to read up on herpes and become better informed before deciding whether or not to have intimate contact with you. If you have learned the facts about herpes and accepted yourself and are taking good care of yourself and know how to reduce your risk of spreading herpes to your partner, you can confidently present the situation as it is to your potential partner. Do not wait until you are about to jump on each other and throw caution to the wind.

Article by A B M Procaccini – © – Psychologist, Naturopathist


(1) STD Diagnostics Market by Type (Chlamydia Testing, Syphilis Testing, Gonorrhea Testing, Herpes Simplex Virus Testing, Human Papilloma Virus Testing, Human Immunodeficiency Virus Testing and Others) and by Testing Devices (Laboratory Devices and Point of Care Devices) for Hospitals and Other End Users – According to the report, the global STD diagnostic market accounted for approximately USD 103.20 billion in 2015 and is expected to reach USD 166.50 by 2021, growing at a CAGR of around 8.3% between 2015 and 2021. [Source: Global Industry Perspective, Comprehensive Analysis and Forecast, 2015 – 2021; Zion Market Research, 29 December 2016, Sarasota, Florida]

(2) Big business – Study and outlook costs $995

Antiviral drugs like Zovirax, Famvir and Valtrex are among the leading medicines prescribed as a herpes simplex 2 treatment. In consideration that there is no known cure for Herpes – I let the reader decide if it is worth taking the following drugs:


loss of appetite,
stomach pain,
swelling in your hands and feet

nausea, gas, stomach pain;
headache, tired feeling;
dizziness, sleepiness;
mild itching or skin rash; or.
numbness or tingly feeling.

tired feeling,
stomach pain,
joint pain,
menstrual pain,
skin rash,
stuffy nose,
or sore throat.