Lets Talk Prevention
Cold sores are caused by certain strains of the herpes simplex virus (HSV). HSV-1 usually causes cold sores. HSV-2 is usually responsible for genital herpes. ... Shared eating utensils, razors and towels, as well as kissing, may spread HSV-1.
To blast cold sores, you need your immune system to be in optimal working order, and being stressed out does just the opposite. Chronic stress lowers your immune system, giving those creepy herpes viruses the green light for a full-blown cold sore flare-up. When you sense you are getting stressed, remember that tingle and consciously cultivate consistent, meaningful practices of stillness in your life. Seriously, you can reverse the stress response and shore up your immune system just by cultivating a sense of calm. Try yoga, tai-chi, hiking in nature, float tanks, and/or mindfulness meditation, all of which are some of my favorite ways to unwind. Or just stop the madness throughout the day for a few minutes of slow, deep breathing.
2. Shield your lips.
3. Boost your immunity.
T-regulatory cells are immune-system-regulating powerhouses and you can pump them up by sipping on jasmine green tea and shaking cinnamon into your smoothie.
4. Increase your L-lysine.
This amino acid is a proverbial atomic bomb against viruses. Try taking 1,000 milligrams of lysine two to three times a day and eat lots of L-lysine-rich foods like wild-caught fish and organic poultry.
5. Decrease your L-arginine.
While you are upping the L-lysine, suppress another amino acid, L-arginine, which the herpes simplex virus specifically requires for replication. The best way to do this is to avoid L-arginine-rich foods, especially during cold sore season, like beer, chocolate, cola, chicken soup, grains, nuts, and seeds.
6. Get adaptogenic.
These botanical superheroes effectively modulate the brain-adrenal (HPA) axis, which helps manage immunity and stress levels. Some great adaptogens are holy basil (tulsi), maca, and schisandra.
7. Lemon balm your lips.
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), a lemon-scented member of the mint family, is a cold-sore killer. In a randomized, double-blind trial of 116 patients with cold sores who used a 1% lemon balm extract cream on their cold sores five times per day, 96 percent showed complete clearing in eight days. Another study demonstrated a similar effect, but with lemon balm essential oil. Patients put the oil on their cold sores and within 72 hours, most cold sores were significantly smaller and healed faster than sores of people in the control group.
8. Slay ’em with ‘shrooms.
Medicinal mushrooms, especially chaga and Lion’s mane, are two great immune-boosting, cold-sore-slaughtering mushroom varieties.
9. Lay off the sugar.
Sugar tastes great but it’s not good for you. It dulls your immune response and has been linked to cold sore flare-ups, so when you think you feel one coming on, lay off the sweet stuff.
10. Raise your vitamin C.
Vitamin C sounds so been-there done-that, but don’t overlook this powerful antioxidant, potent immune-booster, and antiviral superstar. Lypo-spheric vitamin C is best for absorption. Eat more C-rich foods like kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kiwi, and citrus fruits.
11. Enjoy a berry delicious teat.
Organic blueberries are a yummy way to take your antiviral medicine. Eat them like candy, or add them to smoothies or even salads. Why not double up, with some fresh fennel in your salad? It contains high-powered antiviral compounds, too.
12. Sip on skullcap tea.
Skullcap manages to fight viruses with vigor while making you feel perfectly calm. Multitasking! Look for a tea brand that isn’t made in China, so it is less likely to be contaminated by industrial pollution.
13. Try awesome astragalus.
This powerful herb for fighting off viral infections, including cold sores. It has been shown to inhibit the herpes simplex virus.
14. Think about zinc.
Zinc-oxide-based cream is an effective tool for cold sores, according to a randomized clinical trial showing that those who began treatment with zinc oxide within 24 hours after a cold sore appeared dramatically cut the duration of their cold sores. Increase the power of zinc by adding zinc-rich foods like wild-caught fish, mushrooms, grass-fed beef, organ meats like liver, turkey, and pasture-raised eggs.
15. Munch on some sprouts.
Sprouts, especially from broccoli, are all-around superfoods but their sulforaphane content boosts your immunity by helping optimize methylation pathways. Add sprouts to your salads, smoothies, or just much by themselves.
16. Sip pau d’arco tea.
This tea is a potent antiviral. Try mixing it with the skullcap tea and pouring it over ice for a refreshing iced herbal tea option for the summer.
17. Choose coconut oil, in spite of what “they” say.
Coconut may have been vilified by the American Heart Association (and redeemed by functional medicine doctors everywhere), but there is no doubt that it has awesome antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. Mix a tablespoon in smoothies or use it directly on your lips.
18. Virus, meet peppermint.
A study published in the medical journal Phytomedicine demonstrated that peppermint essential oil could wallop the herpes virus. After a few hours in the presence of peppermint, 99 percent of cold sore viruses were history!
19. Apply tea tree oil.
Tea tree oil, or melaleuca, is a powerful antiseptic. Look for a nontoxic lip balm containing cold-sore killing tea tree oil. Or, make your own by mixing a few drops of tea tree essential oil into a little coconut oil. Heck, while you’re at it, you might as well add a little lemon balm and peppermint, for a DIY lip balm containing holy trinity of cold sore destruction.
20. Get enough sleep.
Just one lousy night of sleep can spike your inflammation levels and suppress your immune system. So quit thinking of sleep as a luxury and consider it a health necessity. Put down the smartphone, TV remote, or any other electronic device, and get yourself to bed, in the name of no more cold sores!
21. Heal your gut.
Chronic immune stress leaves your body open to viral infections, and that vulnerability can start in your gut, where 80 percent of your immune system resides. Heal your gut with lots of healthy food choices and quit feeding the bad bacteria. This may be the very best way to thwart cold sores before they can start.