Fever blisters or cold sores are caused by a virus called Herpes simplex, referred to as HSV1. Once you’ve had an infection, it’s likely that you’ll get more when you’re stressed, and your immune system is low.
Once an infected lip has ‘cleared up’, this nasty little virus doesn’t die, it scuttles back down the nerve to settle in a small area called a dendrite, waiting for the person to get stressed in order for it to attack again. Interestingly, after the first attack, the body produces antibodies to the particular strain of virus which prevents an infection at a different site.
This virus is very infectious and is spread with direct contact. The other main strain of the virus is HSV2 which is commonly known as genital herpes. Studies have shown that 50% of the cases of sexual transmission occurred when the infection was not active. People who have had outbreaks of HSV1 are, fortunately, less likely to contract HSV2.
Both shingles and chicken pox are caused by the same virus. HSV1 is also the primary cause of other dreadful conditions like inflammation of the brain, inflammation of the gums and mucous lining of the mouth and sometimes it even effects the eyes.
But there’s hope. Nutrition and knowing what not to eat are very important.
Two amino acids come into play here – L-Lysine and L-Arginine.
L-Arginine changes in the body to form a powerful neurotransmitter that helps blood vessels relax which improves circulation. This can be very beneficial in the flow of blood in the arteries of the heart. Because it improves circulation, it may benefit those suffering erectile dysfunction.
L-Lysine helps in the creation of carnitine which is important for energy. It also plays a role in the absorption of calcium and formation of collagen so benefits bones and connective tissue including the skin.
Unfortunately, L-arginine “feeds” the herpes virus. L-lysine, on the other hand, inhibits this feeding function of L-arginine. Therefore, if you are prone to cold sores, it’s a good idea to avoid foods high in L-arginine and increase the amount of L-Lysine you consume.
Foods high in L-Arginine are: nuts, chocolate, pumpkin seeds, squash, oats, wheat and spirulina.
Foods high in L-Lysine are: red meat, tuna, shrimp, eggs, cheese, milk, and white beans.
As soon as I feel the tingling on my lip, I take L-Lysine supplements along with an increased quantity of multivitamins and Vit C. Topically Aloe Vera is great - and it contains a good quantity of L-lyysine.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine there are different ways to diagnose the disease, dependent on other symptoms and tongue diagnosis. However, the presenting condition is one of Heat. Quite a few meridians run around the mouth so there is often a connection with those organs. They are the Large Intestine, Stomach, and Liver meridians. The Conception Vessel and Governing Vessel meet in the mouth and the Heart meridian runs up the cheek. Herbal formulations will work to clear toxicity, nourish Yin, allevate Heat, clear Wind, and sometimes resolve Dampness. Acupuncture will be used to clear these pathogenic factors and points can include: GV14, GV20, LI4, LI11, St36 and Sp6.
From the Body/Mind point of view, fever blisters are a clear message that intimacy is unwanted. Fever blisters often flare up after emotional stress or conflict. It needn’t be just relationship-related, it can be work related too. It is a signal to be left alone, often in a case where the desire cannot be verbally expressed.
I was introduced to nutrition as a small child when my mom used it to treat an ulcer. Since then I've been interested in supplements, healthy eating, reflexology, shiatsu, energy work and Traditional Chinese Medicine.