The Herpes virus is a difficult little bug; a so-called ‘incurable’ infection with painful skin lesions. The sores come and go, more frequenly for some individuals than others, and often flollow stressful life conditions where the immune system may be weakened. Allopathic medicine doesn’t yet have a cure for this disease, only pills and creamse that must be used regularly to keep outbreaks from recurring and to lessen their duration. Incurable, painful, sort-of ugly, and with great names like ‘oral-labial’ or ‘genital’, this can be one challenging illness.
I’ve been through this personally – for many years, I had painful outbreaks that began with extremely painful cold sores on the roof of my mouth, then regularly manifested as smaller sores on my lips and gums. I’ve struggled with how to break the news to female partners, who, thankfully, never made it as big a deal as it seemed to me. Still, I often had those couple of days of feeling like I had a flu, followed by an outbreak – and at what always seemed like the worst of times. Being an athlete, heavy training also provided the ‘heavy stress’ conditions for an outbreak to come on, making it twice as hard to recover from hard workouts.
I freqently wondered in the midst of these bouts with HSV if this was something I’d have to deal with for the rest of my life – I tried doctor prescribed medicines, Lysine and other remedies, but none kept the virus at bay enough to really make a difference.
Then it so happened I got involved in essential oils – the powerful aromatic compounds distilled in small amounts from plants. You’ve probably heard of them – Lavender oil, Sandalwood, Frankincense, etc. They’re getting to be fairly common these days. And then one day I stumbled onto research being performed with a particularly rare essential oil called ‘Melissa’ or ‘Lemon Balm’. Melissa is steam distilled from the leaves of the Melissa herb – and in very small quanitities. The plant yields a small amount of oil relative to all the other aromatic plant species out there. Research has been being performed in Europe for several years applying Melissa oil to herpes outbreaks, with very interesting results. In fact, one German pharmaceutical company extracted the ‘active’ component of the oil and sold it in a prescription preparation for use by herpes ‘sufferers’.
Perhaps the most impressive statement about the efficacy of Melissa on herpes outbreaks was made by Dr. Dietrich Wabner, a German scientist at the Technical University of Munich – he reported that a ‘one time’ application of ‘true’ Melissa oil could lead to a complete remission of outbreaks. A cure! It seemed expensive for a little bottle of clear liquid, but not so when compared to any other medicine – and the possibility of a ‘complete remission of outbreaks’! I’d figured I had nothing to lose.
A little further investigation gave me a better idea of a protocol; The oil may not lead to a complete remission in one application – though much success was found when the oil was applied directly to the affected area when an outbreak felt ‘imminent’ (those of you dealing with this know what I mean). This was to be done a few times a day throughout the outbreak, and for the next several times an outbreak was surfacing. My outbreaks tended to occur on my tongue at that point – I would get the flu/fatigued feeling, then my tongue would swell a bit, and I’d get some cold sores on it. I still got lesions on my lower lip occasionally, but not as often if I kept protected from the sun. So I started on the Melissa; just one drop in my mouth a few times a day. It’s a powerful oil, but I actually liked the taste, and the aroma was truly wonderful – very uniquely herbaceous and bright.
Well, perhaps the single dose worked for some folks, but I wasn’t quite so fortunate – though I was certainly not discouraged. The history of Melissa and it’s healing powers was renoun, and I kept up with the program. Despite continuing to have outbreaks, they were shorter, and they seemed to occur less frequently. And after a while, it dawned on me – the outbreaks had stopped completely! And believe me, my life has been no less stressful – more so if anything. Also, while outbreaks do tend to happen less freqently for some over time, I had been living with this for 15 years and they were still fairly regular. But no matter how stressful my days were, how heavy my weight training sessions or other athletic endeavors, the outbreaks have not returned!
Now to those who may have more sensitive skin than I, Melissa can be diluted in a carrier oil (like Hazelnut or Rosehip Seed oil) down to 10% or less of the total concentration and still be just as effective – taking any essential oil orally, and undiluted certainly, should be done with caution – pay attention to your own reaction and proceed accordingly. I haven’t any experience with the ‘genital’ variety of the virus, but I it should work just as well – though this is where the carrier oil might feel a little nicer. But whatever way it’s used, the protocol should be followed as closely as possible: apply the oil a few times a day to the affected area as soon as you feel an outbreak coming on, and stick with it until the lesions have healed. Then do it again the next several times an outbreak is surfacing. There are no guarantees, but I do hope this wonderful natural medicine can provide the same relief for others as it has for me.
For sufferer’s of Shingles, another Herpes virus variety causing lesions of the skin, Ravensara (Ravensara aromatica, or ‘True’ Ravensara) oil has been used. Individuals have found relief using Ravensara in a 50-50 blend with Tamanu Nut oil. The Tamanu Nut sooths the skin during the healing process and keeps the Ravensara in contact with the sores. I have not heard of this offering a complete cure, but I have heard of this blend really helping relieve discomfort of this condition.
So if you choose to use aromatherapy oils like Melissa or Ravensara yourself (or to a recommendation), find a trusted source for the essential oils. Find ‘true’ varieties of each – Melissa is often adulterated, and the real thing is generally priced between $10 and $20 per milliliter (about 25 drops, which actually goes a long way); Ravensara should be of the ‘Ravensara aromatica’ variety. Be conservative with direct application – remember that diluting the oil has not been reported to reduce efficacy. Yes, I liked the Melissa oil straight, and never had a problem – but others I’ve known have had sensitive reactions – though this may have been related to UV exposure. Be good to yourself and listen to your body – may you achieve healing success!
About the Author
The Ananda Apothecary carries some profoundly therapeutic essential oils, including French helichrysum oil — with many diverse healing properties for the musculo-skeletal system — and geranium oil, having several important anti-fungal and anti-microbial therapeutic aspects.