Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on January 6, 2011 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Blog

Herpes – “fever blisters” around the mouth & lips, or the genital variety – either way, they’re painful! And, for many, a source of embarrassment. Some individuals may not even realise they’re infected, as symptoms can be very mild or even absent, or appear only years after the initial infection.

If you have herpes and can sense when an outbreak is imminent (tingling sensation), you can minimise the lesion or even stave it off entirely with certain antiviral essential oils. The best of these is Melissa, also called Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis). It’s an exceptionally powerful antiviral against the herpes simplex virus (types 1 and 2).

Much of what is available as Melissa, however, is adulterated because it is such a rare and precious (and expensive) essential oil, so you want to be sure that what you purchase is authentic. It’s often diluted with lemon, lemon verbena, or lemongrass.

The oil can be applied diluted to 10% in a carrier oil – I recommend St. John’s wort infused oil as a carrier, as it’s additionally antiviral. Though the general rule-of-thumb with essential oils is to NOT apply them directly to the skin, some can be (such as lavender, tea tree oil, Melissa) unless sensitivity is noted. Always test out first on the inner forearm and wait a few minutes to rule out a reaction.

Other effective antiviral essential oils include hyssop, lemon-scented eucalyptus (Eucalyptus citriodora), bergamot, and tea tree. If one doesn’t work for you, try another, or make up a blend. There are different variants of the 2 types of herpes simplex virus, so what works for one person, might not work for another!

Read also: The Benefits of Sound Therapy

Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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