Herpes is the short for herpes simplex, a common viral infection, that often leads to blemishes or sores on the skin, particularly on the face or in the genital area. The most common is the Herpes Simplex infection, the symptoms of which are known as ‘fever blisters’, or ‘cold sores’ that appear on mouth or lips. This is known as HSV-1 (facial herpes). The other common form of herpes appears in the genitals, known as HSV-2 (genital herpes). A person infected with HSV will have recurrent episodes of active herpes for the rest of his life.
The common cause of Herpes is through skin-to-skin contact, which transmits HSV-1 and HSV-2. In case the first episode of herpes occurs during pregnancy, there are possibilities of passing on the virus to unborn baby.
From an Ayurvedic perspective, when our immune systems are weak, that is when the body does not receive enough food, exercise or sleep, and are exposed to environmental toxins or chronic stress, the body experiences imbalance of doshas. Impurity of Pitta, along with blood, is considered the main causative factor for the condition. This impurity of blood, which can also be caused due to poor digestion, wrong eating habits, leads to appearance of leasions in the skin.
Hence as for Ayurvedic treatment, the first step is to balance the doshas. This is achieved through dietary modifications, and adding herbs and dietary supplements to balance the doshas that lead to this disease. The herbal preparations detoxify blood and lymph, expel the toxins and vitiated doshas from lymph and blood, and hence the underlying tissues get rejuvenated. This reduces the burning, inflammation and tingling sesation.
Second step involves rejuvenation of body, as ayurveda believes that a disease affects not only a particular organ, but the entire body. Hence after balancing the doshas, the body needs to be rejuvenated using Rasayanas, so that the body develops immunity to fight recurrent attacks of the disease. One such ayurvedic preparation for body rejuvenation is Chyavanprash.
Apart from balancing doshas, and rejuvenation of body, the treatment to particular organ that mainly affects the disease is the final stage of treatment. This is called Sthanika Chikitsa (local treatment). In the case of genital herpes, this is achieved through local application of herbal paste prepared from rose, amalakki, neem and sandalwood. These preparations restores and rejuvenates the structure and color of the skin, while also reducing inflammation and tenderness of the skin.
Finally necessary diet and lifestyle modification needs to be taken into consideration. An anti-Pitta diet is recommended.
Fresh vegetables, fruits, beans, fish, chicken and eggs are considered beneficial for people with herpes. A good night’s sleep of more than 8 hours is vital. Half an hour of regular exercises are suggested to reduce stress, as stress is a possible factor for trigger of herpes. Yoga and meditation also has proved to support immune system immensely by reducing stress and offering tranquility and well-being.