I believe that this article is going to enhance the smile of many of those frequently and/or periodically attacked by a common type of infection that, due to its appearance, can drive many of the infected to shame or even seclusion. Such is very likely because Herpes Labialis, commonly known as cold sore , is in fact a type of infection that comes along with a strong visual picture. And not a pretty one!!!
Herpes labialis (cold sore) is characterised by eruptions of small size blisters (filled with a yellowish liquid), usually painful to touch and the affected tissue displaying a red bruised aspect , showing on the dermis of lips, gums, mouth, genitals. Well, mucosal areas are in general likely to be affected. The organism responsible for the infection is the Herpes simplex type 1 and 2 viruses (also known as human herpes virus 1 and 2), a long name for a very annoying and opportunistic "individual". Even though HHV-1 can cause genital herpes, the main responsible for the expression over genitals is HHV-2 .
HHV!! This member of the Herpesviridae family waits like a sniper for the proper conditions to just show up and assembly a show you will hardly forget. Whenever you're cold, under stress and crying, over exposed to sun, when women are menstruated or there's a mechanical disruption of the skin from those specific mucosal areas mentioned above , BOOOMMM, the HHV snipes out a few blisters, you go ballistic and stressed out; that worsens up things and finally a population of ugly little ulcers appear to display their full, "uncalled for" power!
Everyone affected by this condition knows that there is no final cure to herpes, the way you can infect someone is very simple and due to its romantic vectorisation it has been labelled as the "kiss sickness" in many Western European countries. 'Cause we do like kissing a lot there!!! Once one has it, it is likely to recur, but between outbreaks the virus kind of hibernates going dormant in nerve cells .
A summary of the symptoms specific to the two types hereby described (HHV-1 and HHV-2) can be found below:
Signs and Symptoms:
- Small, painful blisters filled with fluid around the lips or edge of the mouth
- Tingling or burning around the mouth or nose (often a few days before blisters appear)
- Sore throat
- Swollen lymph nodes in neck
- Tingling sensation in the genitalia, buttocks, and thighs
- Small red blisters or open sores on genitals or inner thighs; in women, often occur inside the vagina
- May be painful or not
- In women, vaginal discharge
- Fever, muscle aches
- Painful urination
- Swollen lymph glands in the groin
But bonanza reveals a pink skin when healing takes over, after 7 to 10 days . But what about fighting it with really effective methods and substances. As far as we all know, prevention is the most effective tool we have in hands, and if you'd like to know better what to do then just follow this link and look over for Preventive Care on that web page. Thankfully, I am not affected by this virus, or luckily it has never showed on my body so far in 32 years; but for many people herpes is a struggle, the slightest emotionality and there it is, all reddish, yellowish and inconvenient. But regardless of a non-existent final cure, there are several known ways you can battle this fierce virus and reduce its activity, for example, the so famous pharmaceuticals such as Zovirax, Famvir, Valtrex and, on the other hand, nutritional and dietary supplements as the ones listed and described below:
Lysine (1 - 3 g per day) — Several studies suggest that lysine may help reduce the number of recurring outbreaks of cold sores and possibly genital herpes. A few studies also suggest that lysine may help shorten the duration of an outbreak. The evidence is somewhat stronger for cold sores: the research to date is not entirely conclusive, but lysine supplements have been used to help treat or prevent mouth and genital lesions caused by herpes.
Propolis — A resin made by bees, propolis is loaded with flavonoids (antioxidants that help fight infection and boost immune function). Test tube studies show it can stop HSV-1 and HSV-2 from reproducing. One small study of people with genital herpes compared an ointment made from propolis to Zovirax ointment. People using propolis saw the lesions heal faster than those using topical Zovirax. More studies are needed to say for sure whether propolis works.
Zinc — In test tubes, zinc is effective against HSV-1 and HSV-2. In one small study, people who applied zinc oxide cream to cold sores saw them heal faster than those who applied a placebo cream.
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) — Several studies suggest that topical ointments containing lemon balm may help heal cold sores. In one study, for example, those who applied lemon balm cream to their lip sores saw a reduction in redness and swelling after 2 days.
Aloe (Aloe vera) — Preliminary evidence suggests that aloe gel used topically may improve the symptoms of genital herpes in men. In two studies, men who used the aloe vera cream (0.5% aloe) saw lesions heal faster than those who used a placebo cream. It isn't known whether aloe vera would also help heal cold sores.
Rhubarb cream (Rheum palmatum) — In one Swiss study, a cream made from sage (Salvia officinalis) and rhubarb was as effective as Zovirax in healing cold sores. Sage by itself was not beneficial. More research is needed.
Eleutherococcus or Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus/Acanthopanax senticosus) —Although not all studies agree, one 6-month study of 93 people with genital herpes found that Siberian ginseng reduced the frequency, severity, and duration of outbreaks. This herb should not be taken if you have high blood pressure, obstructive sleep apnea (repeated, prolonged periods when breathing stops while sleeping), narcolepsy (frequent day time sleeping), are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Peppermint oil (Mentha x piperita ) — In test tubes, peppermint oil has stopped a number of viruses from reproducing, including herpes. However, it isn't known whether peppermint oil would have any effect on the herpes virus in humans.
Because supplements may have side effects or interact with medications, you should take them only under the supervision of a knowledgeable health care provider.
Now we enter the second half of this match, so far seen as a boring draw since I managed only to bring the known common armoury to this imbalanced fight. Well, not anymore, apparently. Everyone is going mad with the late discoveries on the long fight against herpes, Virulite, a modern anti-herpes super hero tested in a 2001 pilot study of treatment of herpes labialis with 1072-nm narrow waveband light, by scientists Dougal and Kelly, delivering very positive results. They compared a single 5 minutes light treatment of 1072nm wavelength tested against topical aciclovir (an antiviral drug for herpes) applied 5 times daily. The treatment was started after 36 hours of the onset of symptoms. The results presented a clear winner, i.e., a single 5 minutes treatment drastically reduced cold sore healing time by 4 days . So, what used to take a week or more to heal, is now taking only around 3 days.
A similar study was conducted in 2006 by Hargate; same wavelength narrowband laser light proving effective on the reduction of mean healing times, again Virulite CS, only this time compared to a Placebo. It was decided that the radiation of exposure would last for merely 3 minutes, although repeated 6 times. A significant difference has been proven between the mean healing times of the compared groups on the treatment of herpes labialis .
My only question now, and what I will be endeavouring to bring you the in-depth biochemical details here, as soon as I get my hands on that paper, is how the hell is this accomplished?! Well, I have a few ideas based on my days as an engineering student where I gained a few theoretical basis on the Chemistry of Light and applications on infections. in addition, I searched the web for proved statements and here is what I found - You throw light at their genetic material, you disrupt and disarray the areas coding for reproduction, you defeat the bastards by inhibiting their multiplication :
"UV does not kill microorganisms like chlorine does, but instead UV inactivates them. UV light at a specific wavelength of 254 nm is readily absorbed by the genetic material of microorganisms. The DNA strand is coded with a specific sequence of something called base pairs. The sequence of these base pairs codes for certain characteristics. UV light at 254 nm is readily absorbed at the point on the microorganism's DNA strand which codes for reproduction" .
"UV light kills the bacteria by attacking the DNA of a cell preventing cellular division. It attacks the RNA in viruses (preventing replication). PHI cells combine both methods" .
"Ultraviolet light has four principal wavelengths: UV-A, UV-B, UV-C and UV-V. This wavelength's primary uses are for the destruction of bacteria... The Centers for Disease Control recommends this method for destroying viruses such as Tuberculosis" .
"UV-C is the invisible, ultraviolet, C-band radiation that makes up part of the sun's light spectrum. By altering the DNA and RNA and effectively sterilizing the organisms, the UV-C light prevents growth and germination of microorganisms. Once sterilized, they cannot reproduce and with their short life cycles, they are successfully killed" .
Question being now the fact that 1072 nm are in fact 1.072 micrometers and exactly, approximately meters, therefore falling on the infrared radiation spectrum. So, I am still looking for the exact reason why this infrared radiation inhibits herpes labialis progression. If you have any ideas, please forward them to me, if not, keep visiting us as I'll be researching like a mad dog!
 - University of Maryland Medical Center - http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/herpes-simplex-000079.htm; last visited on the 25th of January 2011.
 - Soft tissue lesions - http://www.dentistry.bham.ac.uk/cal/stlesions/stltn21.htm; last seen on the 25th of January 2011.
 - Dougal, G. and Kelly, P. (2001). "A pilot study of treatment of herpes labialis with 1072 nm narrow waveband light". Clin Exp Dermatol. 26 (2): 149-54.
 - Hargate, G. (2006). "A randomised double-blindstudy comparing the effect of 1072-nm light against placebo for the treatment of herpes labialis". Clin Exp Dermatol. 31(5): 638-641.
 - The query cat - http://www.querycat.com/question/76f344bd1c32c3bf283a9b53e0ef2dd1; last seen on the 25th of January 2011.