Herpes is a viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). The virus is easily transmitted through direct contact with a skin lesion (skin-to-skin contact) or body fluid of an infected person. Upon infection, the virus is transported through the body’s sensory nerves into the sensory nerve cells where they reside permanently as long as one lives.
The fact that there is no medication that can eliminate the virus from the sensory nerve cells means that one is bound to experience herpes infection outbreaks.
Herpes infection can take several forms that include herpetic gingivostomatis, herpes labialis (oral and skin infection), herpes genitalis (genital infection), herpetic whitlow (finger and thumb infection), herpes gladiatorum (ulcerations on the face, ears and neck), herpetic keratoconjunctivitis (swelling of eye lids), herpesviral ancephalitis (brain infection), herpesviral meningitis (recurrent meningitis), neonatal herpes simplex (mother to child herpes viral infection), herpetic sycosis (infection of hair follicles), eczema herpeticum and herpes esophagitis (infection of the esophagus).
Types of Herpes
Herpes is classified either as being type 1 or type 2. This article largely addresses HSV type 2. It is important to point out that while HSV 1 causing viral infections on the upper parts of the body including lips, face, fingers, thumbs, ears, brain and other areas, HSV type 2 causes viral infection in lower parts of the body, mainly in the genitals. HSV type 2 is therefore transmitted through sexual contact.
Symptoms of Herpes
An outbreak of HSV type 2 presents such symptoms as blisters around the genitals, rectum and lower abdomen. Such blisters become itchy and burst over time, leaving behind sores that leak secretions and can be painful.
Factors that Promote Herpes
In most cases, HSV type 2 outbreaks do not occur on their own but are prompted by other factors within the body. Such factors include prolonged illness that eventually weakens the body’s immune system, lack of adequate sleep, onset of menstruation and medications that interfere with the normal functioning of the body’s immune system. As earlier indicated, there is no conventional cure for either HSV type 1 or HSV type 2. Prevention therefore becomes very critical. It is very interesting to note that of both genders, women are more susceptible to contracting HSV type 2 than men. This is thought to be so because of exposure of mucosal tissue to possible infection sites.
Natural Treatment of Herpes
Although various treatment formulations have been developed for the treatment of HSV in general, the same are only for managing outbreaks. Such include topical applications, vaccines and antiviral medications. However, emerging scientific evidence show various natural ways as being very effective in treating HSV infections in general, in effect preventing outbreaks. Such include:
- Diet – A healthy diet remains the most effective way of combating and managing various diseases that occur in the body. Ideally a healthy diet should contain healthy foods and drinks that not only help the body develop but also boost the body’s immune system to fight of disease-causing organisms such as bacteria and viruses naturally. Whole cereals, varied vegetables and fruits contain varied minerals, vitamins and essential fatty acids, the nutrients that the body requires for optimum health. By sticking to a healthy diet, one can effectively prevent viral infections including HSV type 2.
- Herbs – Various herbs have proved very effective in curing skin lesions in case of HSV type 2 outbreak. Lavender and Tea Tree oils have been identified as containing powerful anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties capable of treating any skin infections including those caused by HSV type 2. Tea and lemon juice extracts have also been established to cure HSV type 2 skin infections. These are readily available as supplements in food and pharmacy stores. Apart from herbal topical applications, other ingested herbal formulations are also available in both pill and liquid forms.