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Are Cold Sores Really Herpes? Here's the Truth...

February 14, 2009 | 448,163 views
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In this video, I explain the difference between canker sores and oral herpes blisters, and give recommendations on natural approaches that can treat oral and other herpes virus infections safely and effectively.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Herpes is a very common viral infection where there’s much confusion, because not only are there different types of herpes, but oral herpes is also frequently confused with canker sores (also referred to as cold sores), which is an entirely different condition. First of all, herpes can be broken down into two primary infections: 

  1. Herpes simplex
  2. Herpes zoster 

The herpes simplex infection will affect one of two primary areas and is therefore generally categorized as either: 

  1. Oral herpes
  2. Genital herpes 

But the herpes simplex infection has also been associated with a number of other clinical conditions, such as: 

The most common condition, which I will discuss here, is oral herpes, which is commonly mistaken for canker or cold sores. However, it’s important to understand that there’s a distinct and clear difference between these two conditions, or else you run the risk of selecting the wrong treatment method. 

What’s the Difference Between Cold Sores and Oral Herpes? 

Canker, Cold SoreCanker/Cold sores – Canker sores, aphthous stomatitis, also known as cold sores, are painful ulcerations that typically occur inside your mouth, inside your cheek, or sometimes even on your tongue.   They are due to an autoimmune problem – typically a reaction to chocolate, citrus, or wheat.  It’s important to realize that canker sores will NOT respond to any type of herpes intervention, as it is not a viral infection but an autoimmune condition.If you try to use anti-herpes approaches for canker sores, they simply will not work. 

Herpes blistersOral herpes blisters -- Herpes lesions are quite different from canker sores, although they too can be very painful. They are typically presented as small, red blisters on your lips. 

What Is Herpes Zoster? 

Herpes zoster, the second type of herpes infection is also called shingles. It is typically a reactivation infection of the chickenpox virus. If you get the chickenpox, the virus may remain latent in your autonomic ganglia.  

Then later on in life the virus can get reactivated by some type of stressor, resulting in shingles, which is a very painful skin condition that most will seek medical treatment for. It can become reactivated at any age, but it’s typically people in their 60s or older who get shingles.  

Herpes zoster, ShinglesThere are a number of approaches you can use for shingles. Typical antiviral types of drugs are normally used, and are sometimes effective. My experience with them, however, has not been favorable. And of course, I am opposed to routinely using drugs for conditions where safe and effective alternatives are available.  Fortunately, there are a number of natural therapies you can use for herpes infections. 

Natural Therapies for Herpes Infections 

The following remedies have been found effective in treating herpes infections: 

  • Lysine (an essential amino acid)
  • Aloe vera
  • Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)
  • Resveratrol (a very potent antioxidant from grape seed)
  • Garlic
  • Lactoferrin (a potent antimicrobial protein found in colostrum)  

In addition to these remedies, which all tend to work, in my experience, the two approaches that work the very best are a homeopathic formulation and the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT).  You can generally find homeopathics especially formulated for either herpes simplex or herpes zoster. I’ve found them to be surprisingly effective. They’re also non-toxic so they’re very safe, with virtually no side effects. 

The Emotional Freedom Technique is a form of psychological acupuncture without needles. By tapping on different acupuncture meridians, you can energetically resolve the emotional precedent that caused your immune system to weaken, allowing the infection to take hold. Once you get at the emotional root, your immune system tends to get reactivated, along with a number of genes that can help to resolve and heal your physical condition. 

The Newest Herpes Treatment Under the Sun 

Last but not least, there’s yet another new intervention that I have yet to try personally. However, the evidence suggests it would work effectively and support its use, and that is high-dose vitamin DThere have been a large number of successes with people using up to 50,000 units once a day for three days.   It would be particularly effective if you have not been taking vitamin D regularly and have not had frequent exposure to the sun.   If you’ve had your vitamin D levels tested and are within the therapeutic level, then clearly you don’t want to use this approach as you may overdose on vitamin D. However, more than likely, if you have normal vitamin D levels, you wouldn’t have gotten the infection in the first place.  We know vitamin D works for flu, coughs and colds, and appears to work for most all the typical types of viral infections – even infections like herpes.

Canker/Cold Sore