It is estimated that almost two-thirds of American adults are infected with the virus that causes cold sores or fever blisters. A red lesion on the lip or near the mouth can be embarrassing and painful. People seem to stare and back away. Finding a remedy for cold sores can be challenging. Here’s an unusual approach:
Q. I am 24. I have had cold sores two or three times a year since I can remember. It’s more than just an annoyance. When I have a festering wound on my lip, my life comes to a screeching halt. I can’t go anywhere. Since I work at a restaurant as a bartender, every second is agony. It’s the worst part of my life for sure.
Ever since I can remember I have been searching everywhere high and low for remedies and I have come across so many different ideas. From regular doses of apple cider vinegar, to regular doses of fresh garlic, to echinacea and goldenseal. I used to carry Abreva with me everywhere and lysine lip balm and garlic pills and lysine pills.
I used to go to the whole foods market and get raw organic garlic and just eat it whole in hopes of suppressing the virus. Nothing has ever worked as good as what I have been doing for the past year or so.
I have had only one but it was when I tried stopping to see what would happen and it was in a spot I have never had it and of lesser severity than usual. I know this is going to sound gross but for some crazy reason ear wax has been the single solution that I have grown to trust. After me trying everything in desperation to help control my outbreaks rubbing a little of my own ear wax has proven to be most effective.
I also take Lysine in moderation about 500mg a day… double to 1000mg if I feel very stressed or if I get a sunburn or just feel that tingle. I still got them on occasion when I was only using Lysine but now since I use a combination of the two I haven’t had one in at least a year which is a crazy long time for me.
There is hope.
A. The virus that causes classic cold sores is herpes simplex 1 or HSV-1. Doctors call these outbreaks Herpes simplex labialis (HSL). Doctors prescribe antiviral drugs such as acyclovir, famciclovir or valacyclovir for both cold sores and genital herpes infections with good success.
We thought your idea was pretty far out there, but after a little digging in the medical literature we discovered that Russian scientists have identifed ear wax (cerumen) as having some anti-herpes activity. Here’s the abstract from 1995.
“The cerumen (earwax) of some mammals possesses antistaphylococcal, antimicrococcal and antiherpes activities. The cerumen of two thirds of individuals, irrespective of their species identity and sex, has antiviral properties. The mean chemotherapeutical index in the studied groups follows a significantly decreasing sequence: dogs, humans without signs of herpes infections, rabbits, and humans with clinically expressed herpes infection.
Cerumen of almost 25% of humans of the compared groups displays the immunostimulating activity. The cerumen of all studied individuals contains yeast-like fungi. A suggestion is put forward that the products of their metabolism stimulate local release of interferon-like substances by the lymphoid tissue in the cerumen.”
There is a great deal of support for the idea of using l-lysine to prevent or control herpes outbreaks. You can find more stories about this amino acid for cold sores here. Some people even report that l-lysine works against shingles pain. Shingles are also caused by a herpes-type virus.
It is not the same virus that causes cold sores, though. Rather, shingles are triggered by the virus that causes chicken pox, Varicella zoster virus (VZV). We encourage people to seek immediate medical attention at the first signs of a shingles outbreak (burning, pain, tingling or numbness especially on one side of the body followed by a red rash or blisters). Immediate treatment with an antiviral drug can cut short the outbreak.
Although we have not been able to find any scientific support for l-lysine against shingles, some visitors to this web site have reported good results. Here is a link to some reports.