Herpes is a sexually transmitted infection. Unlike bacterial infections such as syphilis, chlamydia or gonorrhea, herpes is caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus and is one of the most common sexual health problems. The virus has two forms, genital and oral herpes and both forms produced blistering either in the genital or oral area. Herpes is transmitted by kissing, unprotected sex, skin contact, touching the blister area, saliva, or from the infected mother to the baby at the time of vaginal delivery. When learning how to get rid of herpes, many people think that there is no cure, however, there are home remedies for herpes that do work. Our treatments not only inhibit the virus at home but also address the symptoms of herpes and prevent future outbreaks.
There are two types of herpes and the symptoms of herpes differ for each type.
Type 1 herpes is not sexually transmitted and widely known as ‘cold sores’.
Cold sores are minor sores that affect the mouth, face, and lips. These sores flare up for a few days and naturally subside on their own. However, the virus is only dormant and can reappear at regular intervals.
Type 2 herpes is a more virulent strain of the virus and is a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
The symptoms of genital herpes experienced for the first time include:
- High temperature and fever
- Muscle pains
- Difficulty or pain during urination
- Itching or burning sensations in the groin area
Soon after the burning sensation, small groups of blisters appear which can be painful. The blisters can appear on the genitals, anus or general groin area. The blisters tend to small and clustered. If you have a singular open sore, it more likely to be chancroid.
The symptoms of genital herpes will subside 5-10 days after the initial outbreak. This will depend on the patient’s immune system and anti-viral treatment. Further outbreaks can also be expected at the rate of at least one per year.
- Baking Soda
Baking soda can be used to get rid of herpes. It provides some relief from all the itchiness and pain. It is thought that the alkaline environment from baking soda disrupts the virus life cycle.
Soak a cotton ball in the baking soda and apply it directly to the sores. With its drying properties, baking soda can help dehydrate and remove the herpes sores from the surface of your skin. It will also help dry out the blisters.
Note: Don’t re-dip the cotton ball, to avoid contaminating the remaining baking soda that you have not used.
- Tea Bags
The antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of regular tea consumption have been documented by many studies. (1)
Black tea contains higher amounts of anti-inflammatory tannins, making it preferable to herbal tea or green tea in alleviating herpes sores. It is an effective home remedy for herpes.
Prepare a cup of tea with the help of tea bags. Put the used tea bag on the infected area after it cools down. Leave it for 5 minutes. Repeat it twice or thrice a day for the best results. You can even break open the tea bag and expose your herpes sores to the tea leaves.
Cornstarch is an effective herpes home remedy as it helps reduce itching and roughness by absorbing extra moisture from the skin (i.e. it works in a similar manner to baking soda).
Dip a cotton ball in the cornstarch and dab it on the affected skin. It will then dry out the herpes sores and help alleviate some of the discomforts.
Note: Don’t put the used cotton ball in the unused cornstarch as this will only contaminate it.
- Aloe Vera Cream
Aloe vera is a succulent from the Aloe family which is a proven home remedy to get rid of herpes.
While studies have found that the topical application of aloe vera is ineffective in preventing sunburns, sun damage, and radiation-induced injuries, it has been proven to be effective for genital herpes and various skin-related problems (2).
A 1996 study found that a clinical trial involving 60 Pakistani men with genital herpes found those who used a hydrophilic cream containing aloe vera extract recovered faster than their counterparts who were treated with a topical placebo. (3)
While more studies that test the efficacy of aloe vera creams when treating genital herpes are needed, there is strong evidence that aloe vera is one of the better home remedies for herpes.
Simply apply the cream to your lesions three times each day until they heal. You may experience some mild itching, but this should be resolved within a day.
- Epsom Salt
A warm bath with Epsom salt can help soothe and alleviate the itching you feel from your herpes sores.
Simply mix some Epsom salt in warm bathing water. Take a bath or soak in the infected areas of the skin. Allow it to dry on its own and take a shower afterward. This should provide some relief from the pain and discomfort.
- Black Coffee
Unfortunately, herpes can also leave you with blisters and sores around your lips and in your mouth. If this is the case, you can turn to black coffee as a short-term oral remedy.
Prepare a cup of black coffee without any milk or sugar. Take a sip after it cools down. Swirl it in your mouth for some time and spit out later. Repeat this process twice a day.
- Manuka Honey
Manuka honey is packed with anti-bacterial and antiviral properties. Honey has been used for its medicinal properties since antiquity, particularly for the purposes of wound healing.
Its one of the best home remedies for herpes.
A 2004 study found that the topical application of honey was more effective than acyclovir cream in inducing a faster healing time in patients who suffered from oral or genital herpes. (4)
Apart from a lower mean healing time, honey treatment was also more effective in reducing the occurrence of crusting and the mean duration of attacks and pain for labial herpes and genital herpes.
You can apply it directly to the infected areas. It will speed up the healing of blisters and cold sores while reducing the intensity of any outbreaks you might experience.
Cut a lemon into two halves and apply it on the sores. You can keep it there as long as you want, but make sure to replace it with a fresh lemon after some time.
The lactic acid bacteria (LAB) found in milk produce ‘bacteriocins’, which have antiviral properties. (5) These ‘bacteriocins’ inhibit various activities of not only the herpes simplex virus but also the poliovirus.
To benefit from these antiviral effects, apply cold goat’s milk on your lesions and sores and wait for 15 minutes before you wash it off and pat them dry.
- Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper contains ‘capsaicin’, which can help alleviate minor pain and irritation by decreasing the substance that helps transmit pain signals to your brain.
It is particularly suitable for the people who experience post-herpes neuralgia.
You can benefit from it by mixing a teaspoon of cayenne pepper in a glass of warm water. Drink it throughout the day.
Another alternative would be to rub a cream, gel or lotion that contains cayenne pepper to your lesions or sores with a cotton ball.
- Coconut Oil
The coconut kernel and tender coconut water contain a wide range of medicinal properties. The kernel has been shown to have antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and antiparasitic properties. (6)
It is a proven natural remedy to get rid of herpes.
Coconut oil contains ‘monolaurin’, a substance derived from lauric acid which has antiviral properties and comprises almost 50% of a coconut’s fat content.
Meanwhile, coconut oil has been proven to have wound healing properties. You can thus apply it directly on the infected skin using a cotton ball or fingertips.
- Grapefruit Seed Extract
It is a natural disinfectant that kills fungi, viruses, and bacteria. Mix one part of the extract with nine parts of water and dab it on the affected skin with a cotton ball.
Note: People allergic to grapefruit seed extract must not use this remedy.
- Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide works as an antibacterial agent. It can be used in the diluted form. Mix food-grade hydrogen peroxide in the distilled water and apply it to your skin.
Vanilla is alcohol based, which makes it difficult for viruses to survive. It either kills them or reduces the severity. Take some pure vanilla extract. Soak a cotton swab in it and apply it to the infected areas. Perform it four times a day.
Note: Use organic vanilla extract for the best results.
- Ice Cubes
Ice cubes help reduce the pain caused by cold sores. Take an ice cube and keep it on the affected area as long as possible. Wipe off the water. Apply a bit of petroleum jelly on the skin.
Garlic works efficiently against viruses, bacteria, fungus, and microbes. It is anti-inflammatory and antibiotic and one of the best home remedies to get rid of herpes.
Roast a clove of garlic in olive oil and chew it, to repress the symptoms of herpes.
- Or else, you can also add crushed garlic to water and drink it on an empty stomach.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar acts as an astringent and helps strengthen the immune system. Mix one part of vinegar with three parts of water and apply this solution to the infected area. It dries up the sores and heals them quickly.
Note: Make sure that you don’t use apple cider vinegar directly on your skin. It needs to be diluted, to prevent the burning sensation.
- Thyme Oil
Most people when learning how to get rid of herpes don’t realize that there are herbal options. One such option is thyme.
Thyme leaves have long been a staple in traditional medicine for its ability to prevent infections. One study found that thyme oil was able to demonstrate virucidal activity against HSV-2 at a 0.007% concentration (7).
Thyme oil and other essential oils (anise oil, hyssop oil, ginger oil, chamomile oil and sandalwood oil) were found to inhibit the herpes virus.
To use thyme oil as a home remedy for herpes, simply apply thyme oil topically to the infected area with a cotton ball.
- Rosemary Oil
Apart from its fragrant and decorative uses, rosemary has been used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of disorders with its antiseptic properties.
One study found that rosemary oil exhibited a significant inhibitory effect on the herpes virus (8). You can thus apply it topically to the infected area, or use it as a herbal mouthwash.
- Summer Savory
Summer savory is not only a popular herb in the cuisines of Atlantic Canada, Bulgaria, and Romania.
It is rich in phenolic compounds such as rosmarinic acid and flavonoids. It has demonstrated effective antimicrobial activity; researchers are testing its potential as an alternative means of dealing with bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotics.
A 2015 article published in the Journal of Acute Medicine found that summer savory essential oil had a significant inhibitory effect on the herpes virus (9).
To use this herb as a home remedy for herpes, you can apply it topically to the infected area or use it as a herbal mouthwash.
Rhubarb leaves may be poisonous, but its roots have been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years in China.
A 2003 journal article found that rhubarb demonstrated a significant anti-viral effect on the herpes virus and was an effective treatment to get rid of herpes (10).
Meanwhile, a 2001 study found that a combination of rhubarb root extract and a sage extract showed “promising activity” when used as a topical treatment for herpes labialis (5).
You can thus tap into rhubarb’s antiviral properties by either adding it into your diet (multiple rhubarb recipes are readily available) or applying a topical dressing of rhubarb root extract and sage extract to the infected areas.
- Greek sage
Greek sage (also known as Greek oregano) has long been utilized for its decorative value, medicinal properties and culinary applications by the Greek civilization.
A 1997 study found that Greek sage essential oil demonstrated high levels of virucidal activity against the herpes virus(11).
At a concentration of 0.2%, it was able to inactivate 80% of the infectious virus colony within only half an hour. This power makes it one of the best home remedies for herpes.
To benefit from its potent antiviral and antimicrobial properties, you can apply it topically to the infected areas or use it as a herbal mouthwash.
Echinacea is derived from the aerial and root parts of coneflowers (Asteraceae).
Various studies have demonstrated the anti-inflammatory, antiviral and immunomodulatory effects of Echinacea preparations. (12)
Apart from herpes, it has been used to treat a wide range of skin problems, e.g., skin boils, wounds, ulcers, burns, hemorrhoids, and psoriasis. (13)
A 1998 study found that Echinacea demonstrated potent antiviral activity against both strains of the herpes virus. (14)
Apply Echinacea on your herpes blisters and sores, or drink Echinacea extract as a means of rebooting your immune system and increasing your resistance to the Herpes Simplex Virus.
It can be consumed orally in the form of a tea, juice, or as tablets. Drink a ¼ teaspoon of Echinacea tincture, 3-4 times a day.
- Eucalyptus Oil
A 2001 study found that eucalyptus oil exhibits antiviral activity against both types of herpes virus.
The study notes that it affects the virus in the early stages of the virus, but not after it has penetrated into the host cell and taken hold.
While the active anti-herpes components it contains remain unknown, you can still take advantage of its direct antiviral effect against HSV. It is certainly one of the most effective home remedies to get rid of herpes.
Being a natural pain reliever, eucalyptus oil also helps ease the pain and itching. Mix equal amount of this herbal oil and water.
Dab it onto the affected parts of the skin to get some relief.
Licorice reduces inflammation and swelling since it contains saponins, chemical substances that fight viral infection.
Prepare a concoction from licorice roots and apply it on the affected part.
- Olive Leaf Extract
Olive leaf extract contains oleuropein, which has demonstrated potent antiviral activities against a number of viruses. (15) It is also one of the more traditional home remedies for herpes.
You can use olive leaf extracts to get rid of herpes as it helps inhibit the HSV activity in your body. It also relieves the outbreak of sores and restores the energy levels.
You may use a 500mg tablet of olive leaf extract to treat herpes.
- Or else, heat one cup of olive oil and add some lavender oil and beeswax to it. Allow it to cool for some time. Then, apply it to the infected areas. It is considered as one of the best home remedies for herpes.
- Oregano Oil
Oregano oil is packed with powerful antibiotic and antiviral properties that ward off the virus. It is an effective treatment for genital herpes.
You may use it topically, as well as orally. Either apply it to the affected parts or pour a few drops under the tongue.
- Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is one of the most studied home remedies to get rid of herpes.
The antiviral effects of tea tree oil against the herpes simplex virus have been examined in a 2001 study.
Australian tea tree oil was proven to demonstrate high levels of virucidal activity against both types of herpes (HSV-1 and HSV-2).
Their results indicate that tea tree oil was able to affect the virus before or during the adsorption process (but not after it has penetrated into the host’s cell while noting that the exact anti-herpes components it contains remains unknown.
You can thus take advantage of this popular and well-known home remedy for herpes. Use an eye-dropper and put only one drop of tea tree oil on the affected areas.
- Use a carrier oil to dilute the tea tree oil; otherwise, it may increase the inflammation.
- Wash your hands before and after performing this remedy.
- Lemon Balm
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is certainly the best smelling home remedies to get rid of herpes. It’s also very effective as it has been proven to be effective in reducing the virucidal activity of herpes.
A 2012 study found that lemon balm extract was able to demonstrate a high virucidal activity even at low concentrations.
It contains ‘rosmarinic acid’, which affects the ability of the virus to attach to host cells.
It is one of the best home remedies to get rid of herpes.
Lemon balm extract can be applied directly on the infected skin, using a cotton ball. You can also rely on lemon balm in the form of creams and ointments.
Another alternative would be to brew lemon balm tea, and then apply it your sores and blisters with a cotton ball after it cools down.
- Indian Lilac
Indian lilac is also known as neem. A 2014 journal article found that it contains a water-soluble compound named ‘SQDG’.
SQDG demonstrated significant anti-herpes activity.
Likewise, Indian lilac extract prevented the virus entering the host’s cells even at mild at concentrations.
Given its proven efficacy in healing herpes sores and other the skin problems, you can depend on Indian lilac to alleviate your herpes infection.
You can either use oil of Indian lilac leaves or prepare a decoction.
- Red Marine Algae
In recent years, scientists have turned to marine natural products for their “antitumor, antiviral, anticoagulant, antioxidant, immuno-inflammatory effects. (16)
Red marine algae have antiviral properties and are able to act as an immunity booster. Its one of the more unusual home remedies to get rid of herpes, but it certainly works.
Red marine algae can be taken in the capsule form. It prevents the outbreak of both Oral Herpes and Genital Herpes.
- Peppermint Oil
Peppermint oil is another essential oil that helps get rid of herpes.
First of all, clean your skin with water. Now, dip a cotton ball in fresh water and then in the peppermint oil. It is done to dilute the oil so that it doesn’t irritate your skin. Apply it to the affected area, twice every day. It kills virus particles present outside the cells.
- Witch Hazel
Witch Hazel is known to have exquisite medicinal properties to cure the skin diseases and problems. You can buy witch hazel hydrosol from the market.
Take one teaspoon of witch hazel hydrosol and dab it onto the affected skin, using a cotton ball.
- St. John’s Wort
St John’s wort has antiviral properties. The flower of this herb contains hypericin, which is one of the active natural substances to heal herpes. You can topically use its tincture to treat the problem.
Comfrey is an anti-inflammatory and astringent herb. Soak a cotton ball in comfrey tincture and apply it on the skin. It reduces inflammation, redness, itching, and dries the sores.
Note: If you plan to use comfrey, it would be best to consult your doctor beforehand.
- Calendula (Marigold)
The antiviral properties of calendula help get rid of herpes simplex virus and heal the skin effectively.
Calendula has long been used as a folk remedy for bruises, burns, sunburns, ulcers, wounds, cutaneous inflammatory diseases, and internal inflammatory diseases. (17)
You can use calendula oil directly on the affected skin. It lessens the redness and itching.
A 2008 study observed that essential oils, like chamomile, have demonstrated a potent inhibitory effect and virucidal activity against genital herpes.
The researchers noted that chamomile oil was effective against genital herpes by mainly preventing the virus entering the host’s cells.
Chamomile oil can thus be applied topically to the affected areas of the skin. It helps prevent the outbreak of the virus due to its antiviral attributes. Furthermore, it pacifies the irritability and heals the skin. As such, it is one of the best home remedies to get rid of herpes.
- Eat foods rich in Lysine like fish, chicken, beef, milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.
- Vitamin C prevents herpes outbreaks. Increase the intake of foods that are a rich source of vitamin C.
- Take proper rest.
- Use protection while making sexual contact, to prevent the spread of the disease.
- De-stress yourself to strengthen your immune system.
- Wear breathable clothes to allow the air circulation.
- Drink ample amount of water.
- Maintain personal hygiene.
- Don’t scratch your skin as it will increase the irritability.
- Avoid physical contact with others, as herpes is highly contagious.
- Don’t use personal items of an infected person.
- Avoid exposing your skin to the UV rays. Use sunscreen of at least SPF 15.
- Don’t touch the blisters.