African-Asian Herb Joins Other Herbs Treating Herpes Simplex Infections
An international group of researchers has determined that an African, Indonesian and Chinese medicine traditional herb used for a number of conditions is a potent antiviral against herpes simplex virus 1 and HSV-2. This is one of many other herbs that have been proven to have antiviral action against herpes simplex.
The team of researchers, from Thailand’s Mahidol University, Germany’s Freiburg University and Australia’s Monash University, conducted a series of experiments with the herb Gynura procumbens – which is also called African mistletoe – first in the laboratory, and then with a clinical (human) trial.
In the laboratory, the researchers tested Gynura procumbens against cells that were infected with herpes simplex-1 and herpes simplex-2 viruses.
The scientists tested several extracts of Gynura, and found that an ethanol extract of the crushed plant parts inhibited the replication of HSV-1 and HSV-2 viruses among the cells.
Using this evidence, the researchers then tested the same extract in a clinical study of patients infected with herpes labialis – an infection of either HSV-1 or HSV-2 that causes cold sores on the lips (labialis) or otherwise around the mouth or within the mouth.
While herpes labialis is typically an infection of HSV-1, the prevalence of HSV-2 infections is growing. Today it is estimated that up to 15% of herpes labialis is HSV-2.
The researchers tested 59 patients in a placebo-controlled double blind study. They were randomized into three groups, and 19 patients were given either a 1% solution of Gynura in a herbal gel, 22 patients were given 2% solution herbal gel, and 18 patients were given a placebo.
After four days of treatment 51% of the treated groups had full crusting and 63% had a full healing of the cold sores within 7 days. This latter effect was 43% greater than among the placebo group.
Furthermore, the average cold sore healing rate was 8.7 days among the herbal gel treatment group, 8% faster than the placebo group.
While there was a faster healing time and significantly more patients were fully healed within 7 days, the researchers noted that the healing effect was not as great as it would have indicated from the laboratory studies.
The researchers concluded that the issue must have been the percentage of active ingredient in each herbal gel for the treated group. Only a 1% and 2% solution is a significantly small dilution rate for a medication.
The relatively low healing rate compared to what was expected, would likely “arise from the low participated patient number and insufficient extract concentration in the herbal product.”
Because this was the first study testing the plant against herpes using a precise dilution rate, it is more focused upon the safety of the medication than its efficacy. For this reason the researchers suggested additional studies should be conducted using higher dose rates.
What is Gynura?
Gynura procumbens and its relatives including Gynura pseudochina, Gynura nepalensis and others, has been used for thousands of years among the healing traditions of Africa, Indonesia, China, Malaysia, India and Thailand. The herb, in fact, has a reputation for its expansive healing abilities. It has been used traditionally for inflammation, fevers, rases, headaches, constipation, hypertension, diabetes and even cancer.
The later use has been verified by several studies against different types of cancer, including breast cancer and bone cancer.
Several studies have also found that Gynura produces vasodilation – which means a relaxing and widening of the blood vessels. This of course reduces blood pressure.
Other studies have shown it reduces hyperglycemia.
Gynura have been found in different studies to contain coumarins, anthocyanins pyrrolizidine alkaloids, spirostanol and several anthocyanins.
Several other herbs proven to inhibit Herpes Simplex virus
Multiple studies have also determined a number of other antiviral herbs inhibit herpes simplex, including Andrographis paniculata (Andrographis), Lippia graveolens (Mexican oregano), Agrimonia pilosa (Agrimony), Pithecellobium clypearia (Greater grasshopper tree), Punica granatum (Pomegranate), Coronopus didymus (Lesser swinecress), Juglans australis (Nogal criollo), Lippia alba (Bushy Lippia – verbena), Limonium sinense (Limonium or Sea Lavender), Aristolochia debilis (Aristolochia – MaDou Ling), Artemisia anomala (Artemisia), Lindera strychnifolia (Japanese Evergreen Spicebush), Patrinia villosa (Patrina – Bai Jiang Cao), Pinus massoniana (Masson’s pine), Prunella vulgaris (Self-Heal/Heal-all), Pyrrosia lingua (Tongue Fern), Rhus chinensis (Chinese Sumac/Nutgall tree), Sargussum fusiforme (Hijiki seaweed), Taraxacum mongolicum (Chinese dandelion) and Viola yedoensis (Viola).
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