Certain foods common in Middle East diets are better at minimizing the symptoms of herpes, a sexually transmitted viral infection that causes painful lesions on the mouth and genitals.
Good news for ecosexuals looking for more natural ways to promote intimate wellbeing: promising research suggests that an herb indigenous to mainland Europe and Asia, known as Tansy, may provide natural relief for the symptoms of herpes. The joint research project between groups in Greenwich and Spain found that Tansy, a plant commonly known as Mugwort or Golden Buttons, has several compounds that may act as antioxidants.
Herpes is caused by either of two main viruses, herpes simplex 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex 2 (HSV-2). Most genital lesions are attributed to HSV-1, with HSV-2 causing most cases of oral (mouth and lips) lesions, though this is not always the case. Transmission of either virus occurs through the exchange of fluids during unprotected oral, genital or anal sex, and either virus has been found to cause outbreaks on the mouth, lips and genital-perineum region in men and women.
Oftentimes, an individual will be infected but never show an outbreak: such people are called carriers. In Israel, its been estimated that 78% of infected individuals are asymptomatic, meaning they test positive for HSV-1 or HSV-2, but have never developed any outward signs of infection. For more on herpes infection rates, read Prevalence of Herpes in the Middle East.
The most effective way to known whether you have herpes is to get a ‘serum’ test, something that needs to be ordered by a physician, to determine the presence of antibodies to the herpes virus in the blood.
Generally, women are more susceptible to infections than men because their reproductive systems provide a moist environment that allow for the easier transmission and spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Using certain types of condoms (latex for example) provide an excellent barrier method for preventing infections reported on a condom company, Love begins with L, an eco company that manufactures, sells and distributes eco-friendly condoms.
Science Daily.com reports on the value of antioxidants in treating skin lesions, such as those incurred during a herpes outbreak.
Herpes more common with HIV/AIDS
“Antioxidants are important for healing wounds and can be used to treat the skin eruptions and blister-like lesions or cold sores that are the symptoms of herpes.
“The drugs currently available to treat the disease like Zovirax are becoming less effective as the virus is developing resistance to them. Diseases such as genital herpes are also increasing due to immunosuppressive illnesses such as AIDS.”
Why Natural Research Matters
Such studies are timely for many reasons. As traditional medicines lose efficacy, and natural remedies gain in popularity, research into natural remedies are “proving the scientific basis for many traditional medicinal plants,” explained Dr. Solomon Habtemariam from the School of Science at the University of Greenwich at Medway, one of the lead researchers.
“We are now able to identify even more structurally complex natural products and those that are present in plants in minute concentrations with our state-of-the-art analytical facilities. In collaboration with our international partners, we are searching for novel antidiabetic, antimicrobial, anticancer, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective agents from natural sources,” Dr. Habtemariam said.
Herpes Management Leads to the Mediterranean Diet
The bad news is that once someone has been infected with HSV-1 or HSV-2, there is no known ‘cure.’ The primary objective becomes two-fold: limit outbreaks and prevent transmission of the herpes virus.
For example, someone with a cold sore on their lips should avoid kissing anyone, particularly children, infants or other immunocompromised individuals, as in rare case, acute herpes infections have been known to be fatal.
It’s imperative that couples, even those in monogamous relationships, use a barrier method (such as condoms) when engaged in sexual activity, especially if one partner is infected. Even if no oral or genital lesions are noted, the virus can still be passed from one person to another.
Besides tansy, olive oil and tea tree oil may help sooth skin outbreaks. Keep the skin dry, reduce stress, and avoid artificial sweeteners such as aspartame which have been linked to increased numbers of outbreaks (possibly because of lower immune system response).
Finally, diets high in lysine and low in arginine, both common amino acids, may help some sufferers. In some drug stores in the western east it is possible to buy amino acids like lysine (try lysine on Amazon – it may deliver to your state or country) and of course the ideal way to avoid arginine is to not eat it in your foods.
We tried to buy lysine Canada but the pharmacist said they don’t carry it.
Typical Middle East foods to suppress a herpes outbreak include:
Meat and fish
Plant-based sources of lysine:
- soy-based products like:
- soy milk
- beans, including:
- kidney beans
- navy beans
- black beans
- chickpeas and hummus
Nuts, seeds, and grains
- pumpkin seeds
- macadamia nuts
Grains aren’t usually rich in lysine but there are some exceptions — and they happen to be great for you, and include:
Food to avoid if you have herpes virus
- whole wheat
- white flour
- wheat germ