Q&A: Treating Genital Herpes Naturally

Q: I have been diagnosed with genital herpes and I do not want to take prescription medicine. Is there a way I can treat it naturally? Or is there a cure on the horizon?

A: Genital herpes is caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus 1 & 2 (HSV) and is transmitted from skin to skin contact most commonly during foreplay and sexual intercourse.

Genital herpes outbreaks are unpredictable and the herpes blisters are often painful. Some people have multiple outbreaks per year and others never have another outbreak after the initial outbreak.

Researchers are currently studying a vaccine to prevent genital herpes in the future. For now, medications known as antivirals are used to reduce the number of outbreaks but DO NOT cure the virus. It is important to know that even with treatment it is possible to transmit the virus to other partners.

Using condoms, taking antivirals, and avoiding sexual intercourse during a known outbreak can significantly reduce the risk of transmission to your partner. The antiviral medications are optional especially if you have few outbreaks. However, during pregnancy the virus can be transmitted to the baby during delivery and women with genital herpes are started on antiviral medications during the last weeks of pregnancy. 

There are no known herbal remedies that treat or cure genital herpes. There are some over the counter ointments that help soothe the painful blisters. Prevention is the best medicine and the one known way to reduce the number of outbreaks is to have a healthy immune system.  Treating your body well by eating healthy foods, exercising, and getting at least 6 hours of sleep every night is one way to keep yourself healthy and reduce outbreaks.