Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease that is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Symptoms of genital herpes include red bumps and fluid-filled blisters that are painful around the anal or genital region. Patients also suffer from painful urination, weakness or fever during the initial stages of genital herpes. Conventional or alternative treatment can only reduce the frequency of outbreaks or the symptoms and cannot completely cure the disease.
Sometimes treatment given for cold sores that are also caused by HSV could be effective for treating genital herpes. In some cases, the same treatment may not be effective, for both these types of herpes are caused by different strains of HSV (HSV-1 and HSV-2). Once the condition is controlled, subsequent outbreaks could occur during menstrual periods, fever, cold or stressful situations. Genital herpes is very contagious and direct sexual contact must be avoided.
Turmeric For Genital Herpes
Curcumin as I have mentioned in my other articles, can protect the immune system and has anti-inflammatory effects. This could reduce inflammation and pain caused by HSV responsible for genital herpes. These therapeutic benefits are because curcumin has antioxidant benefits that can protect our bodies against damage by free radicals. It can reduce histamine levels and improve natural cortisone production. Both these actions have anti-inflammatory benefits. Animal studies have found that curcumin is effective in treating viruses and other organisms by blocking the activities of certain enzymes present in viruses. This could benefit in treatment of genital herpes that is caused by a virus.
When I researched, I was not able to zero any human studies on the benefits of turmeric for genital herpes, test tube studies have found that substances like curcumin in it could benefit as topical treatment.
According to researchers, curcumin is a phenolic compound and has a powerful antiviral agent. It is known to inhibit activity of certain co-activator proteins (p300) that are the initial cause of the herpes simplex virus. Test tube studies conducted found that curcumin was able to reduce infectivity of HSV-1 and IE gene expression.
The herpes simplex virus also causes cold sores to occur. In another study, it was found that turmeric compounds did not support HSV growth and could be used to prevent cold sores. Cold sores are caused by HSV-1 and further studies are required to know which form of turmeric can be used to treat this condition and could also provide potential benefits for genital herpes.
The mainstay of treatment for HSV has always been nucleoside analogues. However, new drug resistant strains which have emerged in recent times have required researchers to explore new anti-HSV-1 drugs that could benefit treatment of conditions like genital herpes. Studies have found that certain compounds like polyphenols, polysaccharides and terpenes have antiviral effects that could act as anti-HSV-1 agents. Curcumin is a polyphenol and could benefit this treatment.
Curcumin can be used topically in the treatment of genital herpes. This is due to its antiviral and antimicrobial properties. In all, 19 of turmeric constituents were analyzed for their action against HSV-2 virus. Studies have found that four compounds which included curcumin were effective when applied topically in the vagina of rat models with genital herpes. The results show that turmeric can protect against HSV-2 and therefore benefit genital herpes and this could warrant further research on its potential as a microbicide.
There is no cure for genital herpes. Medications can be taken to cure symptoms like pain and blisters but not to cure the disease itself. Vitamins – especially vitamin C – are very good to boost immunity and can be taken. Other herbs can also improve our immunity and help with easing symptoms of genital herpes. Drinking a cup of hot milk with turmeric daily can heal the body for it has antiseptic effects.
Dosage of turmeric depends on the medical condition and the duration required. While turmeric can be used as a flavoring agent in large amounts by both adults and children, there is no recommended pediatric turmeric supplement dose. For medical purposes, turmeric extract or powdered turmeric is preferred since it absorbs better. There are several ointments made using turmeric that can be used for topical application like for treating genital herpes. Sometimes curcumin is combined with bromelain to improve its absorption levels and anti-inflammatory effects.
It is a good practice to consult your doctor before using curcumin or any other herbal supplements. Excess usage could cause indigestion, gas, diarrhea or nausea. It must be avoided during surgery for it could increase bleeding and react adversely with anti-platelet or anti-coagulant medications. People who suffer from excess stomach acid or gall bladder problems, pregnant and breastfeeding women must avoid turmeric supplements.