Herpes cold sores

What is Herpes?

Herpes is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. It is caused by the virus herpes simplex-1 and herpes simplex-2 viruses, which stays dormant in a person’s body for a lifetime. It can periodically cause rashes like blisters or cold sores before it gets cured. Though it is not life threatening, it can be very bothering.

Type 1 virus is transmitted through contact to infected persons saliva – like eating in the same plate or by a kiss. Type 2 virus is sexually transmitted from one person to another.

It affects both men and women equally and can spread easily when not take proper care. There is no particular cure for this virus as it stays in the immune system for a lifetime. But temporary relief can be helpful as when the blisters occur.

Symptoms of Herpes

Symptoms can be all of the mentioned below or few of these.

  • Painful sores in the genital area
  • Vaginal discharge in women
  • Itching
  • Painful urination
  • Tender lumps in the groin region
  • Cold sores
  • Lesion like sores in mouth
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Body pain
  • Fatigue


Causes of Herpes

Genital herpes is usually spread when an infected person has intercourse or oral sex with another person. The virus spreads through saliva or semen. It can enter your body through anus, cervix or vagina/penis. The virus enters the body and stays dormant. You might not feel any symptoms immediately or even for months.

When it becomes active, it causes blisters or lesions, which take at least 2 weeks to go away. During the last stage of the getting cured, the virus can spread very quickly.

It is also said that an infected pregnant women can pass on herpes virus to the unborn child, which might cause serious damage to the eyes, brain and other body parts. If a pregnant women has herpes during delivery, the doctor might suggest C-section instead of vaginal delivery.


Actually, you cannot find easily whether you have herpes, because sores always need not be herpes. If you seem to have all the symptoms, you need to visit a doctor to diagnose the issue.

The doctor will ask you to go for a swab test, in which the fluid from the sores in genital area will be tested.  If you do not have any sores and if you still want to make sure you are okay, doctor might suggest a blood test. Usually doctors do not prescribe blood tests if there are no sores or lesions.

Remedies to treat herpes

Warm water bath


Regular warm water bath can help to ease and soothe the pain. Warm water cleaning also helps to reduce itchiness and irritation. Use a clean cloth and pat dry the affected area after using warm water.

Ice packs


Ice packs are also very helpful to soothe the skin and sore outbreaks. It can reduce the pain and itchiness caused by sores. It also reduces the discomfort in the genitals. You can freeze ice packs and use it on the affected area many times a day. If you have ice cubes, you can place it on a piece of cloth and apply it on the affected area.

Apple cider vinegar

preparing cooking

Apple cider vinegar is a natural disinfectant, acts as an astringent and also has anti-inflammatory properties in it. When applied on the affected area, it helps to decrease the severity of the outbreaks.

Use soft cotton balls to dip in apple cider vinegar and apply it on the affected area. This can be done 2 or 3 times a day.


Smoked garlic

Garlic is an all-natural anti-microbial and has anti-inflammatory property in it. Garlic contains a compound called, allicin, has antiviral properties. We have a recipe which explains how to use garlic to treat herpes effectively.

You can also use garlic oil on the affected area if you do not have enough time to follow the recipe.

Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a chemical that is very popular for its disinfectant properties and helps to treat herpes. This solution is available in medical stores and is easily procurable.

3% hydrogen peroxide solution can be applied on the affected area using a cotton ball, two or three times a day. After application, leave it on for 20 minutes and rinse it off using warm water.

Lemon balm


Lemon balm is naturally an anti-viral, anti-bacterial and pain reliever by nature. The soothing nature of lemon balm can help you reduce the severity and itchiness caused by herpes.

Lemon balm oil can be applied on the affected area many times a day. You can also consume lemon balm tea and use the tea bags for external application on the affected area. You can also crush fresh lemon balm leaves and apply it on the affected area.

Prevention tips

Since there is no specific cure to herpes, you need to be very careful if you decide to have sex or get close to one person. It is best to avoid being in contact with others when there are open blisters and sores outbreaks. It is found that herpes spreads very quickly when you experience blisters and outbreaks.

Always use protective measures if you involve in sexual relationship. If you have oral herpes, you need to be very cautious when you are around children. Even kissing a baby might pass on the virus to the baby. Have separate towels or clothes to clean the affected area.

Kripa Sivasubramanian, MBA, earned her Master’s degree in Business. After a long stint in the Technology sector, she took up courses in natural medicine and yoga. Ms. Kripa is certified in Ayurvedic yoga for Dosha. She is also certified by Stanford University School of Medicine in Introduction to Food and Health.