Q. L-lysine works for cold sores, and I believe it can ease shingles too. I was plagued with cold sores and then developed a shingles rash. I’ve had success in both cases with large doses of L-lysine.
Everyone I have told to try this has gotten benefit. But when I have given this information to doctors, they basically said I was nuts and there was no medical literature to confirm my findings. Well, some day they may catch up.
A. Do not hold your breath. Viruses in the herpes/chickenpox family cause both cold sores and shingles, but there have been few studies on the use of L-lysine for these infections. One study from Russia demonstrated positive results with a topical preparation (Antibiotics and Chemotherapy, Nov. 2003). Since few American doctors or scientists are following the Russian literature, it is unlikely to stimulate further investigation.
In the meantime, we have received reports from other readers who have also gotten relief from the pain of shingles by taking L-lysine. One said:
“Some time ago I had shingles on the side of my face. A druggist friend of ours recommended L-lysine and it worked.” Another reported: “After 24 hours taking L-lysine following each meal, I was able to reduce my narcotic pain reliever for shingles. I now have very little nerve pain, and the lesions are starting to dry up. L-lysine has been a godsend.”
You can read how people have used bee-sting therapy, green tea or Listerine to help ease the pain of shingles or post-herpetic neuralgia in our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies.