Herpes Home Remedies
Below is a list of tried and tested home remedies for herpes outbreaks. These are things that you can try at home to help relieve the pain and itching, as well as to help speed healing.
Please also browse our Herpes Treatment section and see your Doctor for guidance.
Black Tea Bags
This is one of the simplest and most effective cold sore home remedies there is. Black tea leaf (Camellia sinensis) contains a high concentration of tannins which have both anti-inflammatory and antiviral effects.
Make a cup of black tea (using Earl Grey, English Breakfast or any other common black tea bag that you have in the cupboard) and leave it to cool for a few minutes. Apply the warm or cool tea bag to the affected area and hold it there for approximately 5 minutes. Repeat this 2 or 3 times per day. This process is best started as soon as any signs or symptoms are noticed.
Ice (or a packet of frozen peas)
An ice pack can be applied to the developing cold sore to both numb and soothe the area, as well as lower the temperature of the infection helping to inhibit the virus.
Ice is best applied to the affected area before any cold sore can be seen, but may also soothe the active sore. Wrap the ice in a towel or thin cloth rather and than place it directly on the area. Otherwise, a packet of frozen veges usually works well.
This is a medicinal honey native to New Zealand which can be applied to the affected area to help speed healing. Manuka honey is antibacterial and antiviral, so aside from the sticky feeling it is a good home remedy to try. Manuka honey is renowned for its wound healing properties and in clinical trials was found to accelerate the healing of HSV lesions.
Apply topically to the affected area several times daily. Begin as soon as signs or symptoms begin.
Domeboro powder mixed with water can help to stop itching, dry the sore and speed healing. You can purchase this powder from many pharmacies, often in a small flat box with 12 packets inside.
Pour one packet of Domeboro Powder into a 16 oz. bottle and shake well. This should give you enough mixture to apply to the sore, with some left over to apply later. To use the solution, soak a cloth or piece of gauze in the mixture and apply it like a compress to the affected area.
An oldie but a goodie. Baking soda (also called Bi-Carbonate Soda) has innumerable benefits, it can be applied to a herpes infection to help dry out the sores and relieve itching.
Slightly dampen a cotton ball or tissue, coat it with the Baking Soda and apply it to the affected area. Do not to re-dip the tissue or cotton ball after you have applied it to the infection as this could contaminate the remaining soda in the box.
This can work in the same way as Baking Soda. Cornstarch may also help to prevent rubbing below the waist, as well as dry any excess moisture in the area.
Apply a coating of the cornstarch to the affected area. Leave to dry out the sores and relieve itching.
Aloe Vera can be helpful to soothe itching and heal the skin after an outbreak. It can be particularly helpful for the scab that sometimes forms and any tenderness or redness left after the sore has disappeared. Aloe vera is a common plant and could be growing in your garden. It looks like a type of cactus and is common in warm climates.
Try not to use creams or moisturizers that just "contain Aloe Vera" because to work properly you need to use the pure inner Aloe Vera gel. If you do need to settle for a commercial product make sure it is made fo the actual inner gel and is as close to pure as possible. Many moisturizers and creams are a base of many other ingredients with only a very small amount of Aloe Vera added, this may not have the same result.
Aloe Vera can be applied to almost all areas of the body, including delicate skin and mucous membranes.
To prepare the fresh plant, trim the thorny edges on both sides and cut the Aloe stick into chunks (roughly 2.5 inches long or so works well). Chill the chunks that you have cut in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes (30 to 60 minutes is ideal) and then use them at your will. If you are using a cream or gel, place the tube or tub in the fridge before use. The coolness can be very soothing.
When dealing with the fresh plant, you may like to apply it after you have had a shower so that the Aloe vera can settle in without being washed off. The fresh plant can be a a little sticky and gooey, so an evening application usually works best.
Essential Oils for Skin Repair
Occasionally an outbreak may leave a mark on the skin, or some redness and inflammation. Vitamin E, Rose Hip, Jojoba, Calendula and Hypericum essential oils are renowned for their skin healing and restoration properties. These oils can sometimes be useful in repairing the skin after an outbreak has gone.
If the skin is left red, raw or damaged after an outbreak try applying one of the following essential oils, or a blend of any that you have available:
- Vitamin E
- Rose Hip
- Olive leaf
- Golden Camellia
If applied regularly these oils can help repair the skin. Apply once or twice daily for best results.
Tips for 'Below the Waist' Outbreaks
Epsom Salt Bath
Epsom Salt (Magnesium sulphate) can cleanse, soothe and dry herpes sores and may help to relieve any itching and tenderness. Epsom salt is available from most general stores and pharmacies.
An Epsom Salt bath is one of the most effective home rememdies there is and can help with many of the associated symptoms of genital herpes, including any uncomfortable pain and itching.
Put a large handful of Epsom Salt in a warm bath and bathe for 10 to 20 minutes, or as long as desired. A swim in the ocean may also work well if you have access to a beach.
General Pain Relievers
Simple analgesics or pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen or paracetamol can help to numb the pain. Prescription “pain killers” may also be an option if your outbreaks are very painful. You will need to talk to your Doctor about this option if you think it might be needed.
By wearing loose underclothes or no underwear at all you can help minimize the discomfort and allow for healing. If you do need to wear underwear choose a cotton fabric, not nylon. If chafing is a problem, try wearing no underwear if you can or only thin cotton material to separate the rubbing areas. For women, a long skirt with no undies works best. The sores will normally heal more efficiently if they are uncovered and allowed to breathe.
Relieve Painful Urination
For anyone experiencing pain when urinating the process can be less painful when done in a cool bath or under cool running water in the shower.
Disposable latex gloves can be helpful. Put the glove on one hand and use it to cover and protect the sores while you pee. Have a few stashed in your bag if you need to as this little trick can help to avoid the painful sting that is felt when the urine passes over a herpes sore.
It is also important to remember to drink plenty of fluids as this dilutes the urine and can help to relieve the pain.
Set on the "cool" setting, a hairdryer can give instant cooling relief to painful sores. Sounds creative but it really works.
Some herbs taken in tea form may help to gently calm and soothe the body, such as peppermint and chamomile tea. These may also help to reduce pain and fever.
Gaining mental freedom from genital herpes can be one of the most effective and liberating remedies there is. If you are struggling with coming to terms with herpes please read our Positive Thinking section.
If you feel that you may need more than just helpful words to get you through this you may want to consider Bach Flower Remedies as a safe and natural starting point. These are gentle homeopathic remedies that can be helpful in overcoming unwanted thoughts and bringing about a new positive outlook, they can be used to ease the emotional stress of herpes.
Some emotions and their corresponding Bach Flower Remedies:
Bach Flower Remedies
Agrimony - Put on a cheerful face to hide problems; if you have mental worry or torture; attempt to forget mental torture through drugs and alcohol.
Aspen - Have unexplained fears and worries; have vague fears of unknown origin (often irrational); are nervous and anxious
Beech - Are critical and intolerant of others; desire to change others; have a judgmental attitude
Centaury - Have difficulty in saying no and are anxious to please; have weakness of will; are easily influenced and exploited, 'the doormat'
Cerato - Doubt your own ability to judge situations; distrust self; constantly seek advice
Cherry Plum - Fear losing control of your behavior, of the mind giving way; have thoughts of suicide
Chestnut Bud - Fail to learn from experience, repeating the same mistakes; are impatient to move ahead
Chicory - Are overly possessive and expect others to conform to your values; are full of indulgent self-love; are full of self-pity
Clematis - Daydream and generally have a lack of interest in the present; are inattentive; are unconscious; have an out-of-the-body feeling
Crab Apple - Have a poor self-image and are ashamed or embarrassed by unpleasant physical symptoms, characteristics or features; feel mentally or emotionally unclean or unacceptable; feel self- condemnation; are congested; are over-fixated on trivia - 'the great cleanser'
Elm - Are overwhelmed or burdened by responsibility; have temporary feelings of inadequacy - "I can't let them down"
Gentian - Are easily discouraged, hesitant and despondent; lack faith; are full of doubt and pessimism; are depressed from a known cause; are weak following an illness
Gorse - Feel hopelessness and despair and are pessimistic; are depressed from illness of a long-term duration - "I give up"
Heather - Feel self-absorbed; dislike being alone, and talk incessantly about self - "What about me"
Holly - Have feelings of extreme jealousy, envy and suspicion; have feelings of revenge
Honeysuckle - Absorbed in memories of the past; feel homesick or nostalgic
Hornbeam - Get the 'Monday morning' feeling, doubting your ability to face the day's work; lack strength - "I don't think I can cope"
Impatiens - Are impatient and easily irritated; have extreme mental tension; are unable to co-operate
Larch - Lack self-confidence and feel inferior; will not try because you expect to fail
Mimulus - Have a fear rooted in known causes, e.g. spiders, flying, death, etc.; are shy and timid
Mustard - Experience unexplained deep gloom and/or melancholy
Oak - Are driven by a strong sense of duty and struggle on even though exhausted; suffer the effects of the limitations of illness; despair but never give up
Olive - Feel exhausted in body and mind
Pine - Feel full of guilt and blame yourself for other people's mistakes; have feelings of self-doubt and reproach
Red Chestnut - Are over-anxious or over- concerned for others
Rescue Remedy - Are in a demanding or stressful situation
Rock Rose - Experience terror; are frozen in fear and feel helpless
Rock Water - Are inflexible, setting yourself very high standards; desire to be an example to others; are in self-denial;
are repressed; are a martyr
Scleranthus - Suffer from indecision; are hesitant; feel an imbalance
Star of Bethlehem - Have experienced shock, grief or a fright
Sweet Chestnut - Are at the limits of endurance and in deep despair; have extreme mental anguish; have reached the limits of endurance (not suicidal)
Vervain - Are over-enthusiastic, argumentative with fixed principles and ideas; desire to persuade others; are incensed by injustices
Vine - Are strong-willed with a tendency to be domineering or inflexible; are too ruthless
Walnut - Fear major life changes and are in need of protection from the influences of others; the 'Link Breaker'
Water Violet - Prefer to be alone or are proud and aloof; feel others do not understand you
White Chestnut - Have unwanted thoughts, preoccupations and worries; have mental arguments - "I can't get it out of my mind"
Wild Oat - Are uncertain of the correct path in life, dissatisfied with your current lifestyle and cannot decide which path to follow
Wild Rose - Make little effort to improve situations; are resigned to whatever happens; are apathetic; do not care about anything
Willow - Are bitter, resentful and have feelings of self-pity - 'poor me'; blame others for your mistakes; are unable to forgive
Talking to a counselor, close friend or family member can help you to release a lot of the emotions that you may be holding onto. We understand that this is not always an option, if you would like to talk with other people who are also dealing with herpes please feel welcome to take a peek at our Herpes Support Forum. This is a free online support service.
If you are having trouble sleeping the first thing to do is try to relieve the mind and physical discomfort. If you have done everything you can in these areas, the herb Valerian may be helpful for temporary relief while you are going through this. This is a herb that does not typically produce morning drowsiness or other side-effects.
- Tillotson Institute of Natural Health - Important Herbs from Around the World - TEA LEAF "
- Medical Honey for Wound Care—Still the ‘Latest Resort’? "
Where to Now?
- Boost the Immune System
- Compare Herpes Medications
- Herpes Supplements
Ask questions and get support right now in the Herpes Support Forum