Being diagnosed with Herpes Simplex Virus, HSV, can be an incredibly emotional, confusing, and frustrating experience.
In reality, HSV is incredibly common, with virus type one affecting an estimated 47.8% of adults in the U.S., and type two affecting 11.9%.
Outbreaks causing sores around the mouth and lips, aka cold sores, are attributed to HSV-1, while those on the genitals and rectum are typically caused by HSV-2. Although this is the general consensus, types one and two can cause outbreaks in both areas. People are not usually tested for which strain they have, and it doesn’t make a difference in treatment protocol.
When it comes down to it, herpes is simply a common virus that can live dormant in someone’s body for years. It typically becomes aggravated when the immune system and body are under stress.
For the most part, outbreaks are preventable with careful attention to one’s health and wellbeing.
Natural and holistic remedies are incredibly powerful in preventing herpes outbreaks. Knowing how to use preventative measures, what to do in an outbreak, and how to care for yourself overall can significantly decrease their frequency.
The Hidden Superpower
While annoying and painful, there are not so hidden messages in herpes outbreaks telling you that something in your body is out of balance.
Having this awareness, allows you to see the body as an interwoven system, where each area is directly linked to the next. A sore on the mouth or genitals means it’s time to pay attention to other areas of your health and life that have been neglected.
A herpes outbreak is an immune system response, plain and simple. There are many preventative measures that can be taken to keep the immune system from being aggravated.
A lot of these are common sense but are still important reminders when learning how to keep herpes at bay.
- Sleep: Studies have shown that sleep greatly increases the function of T cells, which are essential for fighting against virus-infected cells, like herpes.
- Stay Hydrated: Keep toxins flushed from the body, and cellular function working properly by loading up on hydrating liquids and foods.
- Chill Out: Stress is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to preventing herpes outbreaks. Try tracking when you have outbreaks, and what stressors you have going on in your life at that time – you’ll be surprised at how strong the relationship is!
- Go Commando: Had to throw this one in there, because it really helps! Letting airflow to your genitals, especially in the sun, can naturally support uncomfortable outbreaks. Sun exposure is the only source of fat-soluble vitamin D, which is essential for immune function. It’s also free!
The world of plants is full of herbs and produce that are jam-packed with antiviral and immunity-boosting properties.
- Tea Tree Essential Oil: A couple drops a day diluted in a carrier oil, like coconut oil, can be used daily as a preventative measure against herpes outbreaks.
- In Case of Outbreak: Try a topical blend of Neem powder, Tea Tree essential oil, Oregano oil, and coconut oil for a simple at home remedy to ease sores.
- Ingest: Tinctures, teas, pills, or powders of Echinacea, Licorice, Basil, Oregano, Fennel, Lemon Balm, Astragalus, and Ginseng have all shown to help fight herpes outbreaks.
There are SO many other incredible herbs and plant remedies available that can help mitigate outbreaks and prevent future ones. See what is available in your area, and test out which ones work best for you.
Your diet has a huge impact on your health, especially when it comes to fighting viruses. To help prevent herpes outbreaks, remember these healthy eating tips.
- Keep it Alkaline: Having recently grown in popularity, alkaline diets may help fight off infection and outbreaks by keeping the body’s pH levels balanced and neutral.
- Plants are Friends: Try eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables that are high in antioxidants, vitamins C and B, and essential minerals like Zinc.
- Watch the Sugar: Added sugar has an inflammatory effect on the body, and is converted into acid, which can contribute to herpes outbreaks.
- Avoid Arginine: This amino acid found in nuts, coffee, chocolate, and oats can potentially trigger sores.
- Yes to Lysine: Lysine, or L-Lysine is an amino acid that is essential to the body’s overall function. When increased dietarily or with a supplement, it may help reduce the amount of herpes outbreaks in an individual.
Your mental health plays a huge role in your body’s ability to ward off outbreaks, and your relationship to have herpes.
There is a certain amount of trauma, shame, and stigma that can come with a herpes diagnosis. Find ease in your journey, by learning to normalize living with an STI.
Part of breaking the stigma is talking about herpes, finding community, and role models. Look on YouTube, online forums, and social media to build your network of support, and keep you from feeling isolated.
It’s normal to feel a certain level of dissociation from your body, especially after first being diagnosed. Working to get back into the body with yoga, dancing, hiking, or any physical activity, helps you build gratitude for all that your body does for you.
Here at Intimina, while we meticulously look over sources, are not medical providers. We encourage you to do your own research and talk to your doctor when it comes to making decisions about your healthcare.
Natasha (she/they) is a full spectrum doula, reproductive health content creator, and sexual wellness consultant. Her work focuses on deconstructing the shame, stigma, and barriers people carry around birth, sex, and beyond, to help people navigate through their lives with more pleasure, softness, and sensuality. You can connect with Natasha on IG @spectrumoflovedoula.