Michael van Straten
Michael van Straten

Your Questions Answered - June 2010

Because there is so much information on the topic of cold sores, there is only room for this Q&A this month, but keep them coming and we will have a real splurge of your topics in a future issue.

Hi have just signed up to your newsletter and have visited your website, I was most impressed with everything. Heard you on the radio Today on BBC Devon!

Please can I ask if you have heard of any preventative measures that can be taken for Lip Cold sores?

I get one perhaps three of four times a year. The only remedy that has been suggested to me is to take some sort of Iron Tablets regularly in case it is an Iron deficiency that is causing them. Although I have not done this due to the expense.

Any suggestions would be most welcome. Thanks

Cheers for now,
from Martin.G.

Hi Martin, thanks so much for this important question. Please read all the info, but do not waste your hard earned cash on iron supplements as iron deficiency is not a cause of cold sores.

Symptoms: a burning prickling sensation around the margin of the lips, followed by a crop of tiny blisters which coalesce and crust over to form a cold sore.

Food Matters

How common herbs, fruit and veg can help this depressing and painful condition.

Eat more lemons, citrus fruits (especially the pith), apricots, cherries, tomatoes, papaya, for vitamin C and bioflavonoids; liver, oily fish, eggs, chicken for vitamin B12; safflower oil, olive oil, unsalted peanut butter, avocados, for vitamin E; live yoghurt for synthesis of B vitamins; green tea for it's powerful antioxidant effect.

Eat less sugar, alcohol, salt and high salt foods.

Cold sores are highly contagious and most children have picked up the virus by the time they're five. It lies dormant in nerve tissue in the lips for ever until triggered into activity.

Any illness which lowers the natural resistance, the trauma of high temperature, a cold, sore throat, very cold weather, or exposure to intense sunlight are common causes. Water sports and skiing frequently trigger cold sores due to the intense ultraviolet radiation reflected off water and at high altitudes.

If you're prone to cold sores, boost your immune system with all the foods listed above, use total sunblock on your lips in appropriate circumstances.

The common garden herb lemon balm (Melissa) has powerful antiviral effects and extracts of it can be used in both prevention and treatment of cold sores. Applied to the skin of the lips it creates a barrier which prevents the cold sore virus from penetrating the tissues and multiplying.

Using the fresh herb, either crush a leaf and rub on the affected area, or add 2 tsp chopped leaves to a mug of boiling water, cover and stand for 10 minutes, then when cool enough dab on the cold sore with clean cotton wool.

This solution can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days in a clean sealed bottle and used 3 or 4 times a day.

A traditional folk remedy for cold sores, which does sometimes work, is to rub fresh lemon juice into the lips at the very first sign of the itchy, tingling sensations that precede the outbreak.

Supplements of B complex, extra B12 and the essential amino acid L-lysine are worth taking for shortening an attack and building resistance to them.

The problem is that once you contract the cold sore (herpes simplex) virus you have it for life.

The herpes cold sore virus can be picked up from one simple kiss with an infected person, which is why over 30 million people in the UK carry the virus.

For many, once they get the virus, they experience regular outbreaks of cold sores, sometimes as often as once a month and especially during the summer as the sun itself is a major trigger. Some people feel so self-conscious about their cold sores that during an outbreak they feel unable to socialise or be intimate with partners.

Liquorice Balm - Kiss Summer Cold Sores Goodbye

A new lip balm containing liquorice could help reduce the frequency and intensity of cold sore outbreaks.

Liquorice Balm helps reduce such regular outbreaks. Unlike conventional treatments, due to its naturally derived ingredients, suffers can wear the lip balm at all times, meaning that the intensity of the cold sore outbreaks could be diminished before they really have a chance to take hold.

The key cold sore fighting ingredient in liquorice is glycyrrhizic acid (GA. GA specifically targets the genes that are required to maintain the virus in its latent state by interfering with the production of special proteins that feed the infected cells.

Recent research published in the US Journal of Clinical Investigation has shown that liquorice actually has the ability, in some cases, to eradicate the cold sore virus which lies dormant in between outbreaks.

Liquorice Balm costs £10.99 for 30g. Call: 0844 7009975 or visit www.skinshop.co.uk


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