How to Use Lavender for Herpes
Herpes is a common infection. Two different, but closely related viruses can cause herpes: herpes simplex virus type 1 and herpes simplex virus type 2, according to Planned Parenthood 1. Both are easily spread and stay in the body for life; symptoms can come and go. HSV-1, or oral herpes usually occurs as on the lips as a cold sore, but genital herpes will present as genital blisters or warts. According to the National Cancer Institute, some essential oils have antiviral activity against the herpes simplex virus. Shirley Price notes in her book, "Aromatherapy for Common Ailments" that lavender essential oil has antiseptic and regenerative properties 3. However, if you suspect you have developed the herpes virus, make sure to consult with a physician before attempting any herbal or natural remedies at home.
Open the bottle of jojoba oil and add 20 drops of lavender essential oil. Add 10 drops of tea tree essential oil, followed by 5 drops of myrrh essential oil. Finish off the mixture by adding a few drops of peppermint essential oil.
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Screw the cap back on and roll the jojoba oil bottle on a flat surface for several minutes. Do not shake the bottle.
Apply the essential oil mixture with a cotton ball to the affected area as soon as the blisters break out. Amy Rose shares this formula for treating a herpes breakout and relieving its symptoms in her book, "Natural Healing Wisdom & Know How: Useful Practices, Recipes, and Formulas." Rose claims that the formula will also prevent future breakouts 2. The lavender, tea tree oil and myrrh all have anti-fungal properties and are used to treat the herpes virus itself, while the peppermint provides relief from itching.
Always add essential oils to a carrier blend, such as jojoba or almond oil. Applying them directly to your skin may cause burning or itching. Geranium essential oil can be used in place of myrrh in the essential oil mixture for treating herpes. Capsaicin, an active ingredient found in cayenne, may also provide relief for the pain and itching from herpes, according to Rose. Capsaicin needs to be in a cream or oil base, as it is too potent to be applied directly to your skin.
Herbal and natural remedies are not meant to replace medical treatment or advice.
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- Planned Parenthood: Herpes
- "Natural Healing Wisdom & Know How: Useful Practices, Recipes, and Formulas"; Front Cover Amy Ros; 2009
- "Aromatherapy for Common Ailments: How to Use Essential Oils--Such as Rosemary, Chamomile, and Lavender--To Prevent and Treat More Than 40 Common Ailments"; Shirley Price; 2003
- National Cancer Institute: Questions and Answers About Aromatherapy
- McQuillan G, Kruszon-Moran D, Flagg EW, Paulose-Ram R. Prevalence of herpes simplex virus type 1 and type 2 in persons aged 14–49: United States, 2015–2016. NCHS Data Brief. 2018;304.
- Tronstein E. Genital Shedding of Herpes Simplex Virus Among Symptomatic and Asymptomatic Persons With HSV-2 Infection. JAMA. 2011;305(14):1441. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.420
- World Health Organization (WHO). Herpes simplex virus. Updated January 31, 2017.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Genital Herpes - CDC Fact Sheet (Detailed). Updated January 31, 2017
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Genital Herpes - CDC Fact Sheet. Updated August 28, 2017.
- Chun H, Carpenter R, Macalino G, Crum-Cianflone NF. The role of sexually transmitted infections in HIV-1 progression: A comprehensive review of the literature. Journal of Sexually Transmitted Diseases. 2012;2013(176459):1-15. doi:10.1155/2013/176459
- Heslop R, Roberts H, Flower D, Jordan V. Interventions for men and women with their first episode of genital herpes. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016 Aug 30;(8):CD010684. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD010684.pub2
- Jin F, Prestage GP, Mao L, Kippax SC, Pell CM, et al. Transmission of herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2 in a prospective cohort of HIV-negative gay men: the health in men study. J Infect Dis. 2006 Sep 1;194(5):561-70.
- Schulte JM, Bellamy AR, Hook EW 3rd, Bernstein DI, Levin MJ, et al. HSV-1 and HSV-2 seroprevalence in the united states among asymptomatic women unaware of any herpes simplex virus infection (Herpevac Trial for Women). South Med J. 2014 Feb;107(2):79-84. doi:10.1097/SMJ.0000000000000062
Alena Bowers began writing professionally in 2001 and is author of the book, "Alter This!" by Lark Books. She is an educator, yoga instructor and healing arts professional living in Portland, Ore. Bowers holds a Master of Education in visual art from Portland State University.