27 Herbs that Fight Herpes Simplex Infections

licorice herpes simplex

Licorice root herb helps fight herpes simplex viruses.

A number of herbs have been shown to inhibit Herpes Simplex infections. Let’s look at significant research on one of these as an example. We’ll follow this with a list of other anti-herpes herbs with the associated evidence.

Gynura herb for herpes

A good example of some of these anti-herpes herbs comes in the form of an herb called Gynura. Let’s take a look at some of the evidence.

An international group of researchers has determined that the Gynura herb (Gynura procumbens) is a potent antiviral against herpes simplex virus 1 and HSV-2.

The Gynura herb is an African, Indonesian and Chinese medicine traditional herb used for a number of conditions. It is also one of several other herbs that have been proven to have antiviral action against herpes simplex.

Laboratory research on HSV-1 and HSV-2

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 Gynura herb – also called African mistletoe. The first tests began in the laboratory, and the success of the herb led to a clinical (human) trial.

In the laboratory, the researchers tested Gynura against cells that were infected with herpes simplex-1 and herpes simplex-2 viruses.

Gynura treats herpes

Gynura herb treats herpes simplex.

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.

Human clinical research provides confirmation

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.

Other herbs that inhibit HSV

Multiple studies have also determined a number of other antiviral herbs inhibit herpes simplex viruses. We have reported on many of these with additional research evidence:


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Case Adams is a California Naturopath and a Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner with a PhD in Natural Health Sciences, and diplomas in Homeopathy, Aromatherapy, Bach Flower Remedies, Blood Chemistry, Clinical Nutritional Counseling and Colon Hydrotherapy. He has authored 26 books on natural healing strategies.

Case Adams, Naturopath

Case Adams is a California Naturopath and a Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner with a PhD in Natural Health Sciences, and diplomas in Homeopathy, Aromatherapy, Bach Flower Remedies, Blood Chemistry, Clinical Nutritional Counseling and Colon Hydrotherapy. He has authored 26 books on natural healing strategies.

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