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Herpes simplex type 1, more commonly known as the cause of cold sores, lies dormant in nerve cells and can be triggered by fever, viral infections, fatigue, stress, exposure to wind or sun, or a depressed immune system. These fluid filled blisters appear on the mouth, nose, roof of the mouth, inner cheeks and gums. The cold sore virus can be spread by touch to mucous membranes of other areas of the body with abrasions. Even the eyes can be infected with cold sores.
Initial outbreaks are marked by swelling of lymph nodes, tender blisters around the mouth area, a tingling sensation and flu like symptoms. After the initial outbreak new sores are likely to appear as often as every few weeks or in some cases yearly. It has been discovered that herbs and supplements can be used to minimize discomfort and speed healing. Make sure to check with your doctor before taking any supplements. Some have been proven to be seriously dangerous to your health.
The best treatment for cold sores is the amino acid lysine. Taken orally it suppresses the growth of the virus that causes cold sores. Lysine can also be found in ointment form which can be applied directly to the sore. Long term use of 500 milligrams lysine per day can help prevent cold sores from forming. Be sure to take an amino acid complex to supply a balanced mix of amino acids. Another effective treatment is melissa cream. This strong antiviral cream when applied at the first sign of tingling can eliminate cold sores before they form. Flavonoids and vitamin C are powerful antioxidants and work by eliminating cell damaging compounds called free radicals. Antioxidants selenium, vitamin A and flaxseed oil will speed the healing process after an outbreak. Goldenseal and echinacea are immune enhancing herbs containing natural antibiotics and antiviral that aid by building the immunity to the cold sore virus. According to a recent study applying a vitamin C solution directly to the sore can cause the cold sore to dry up quickly. It was also learned that melissa tea applied externally will hasten the healing process.