Oh, no – I have a cold sore coming on. I can feel that familiar sensitivity on my lip and pretty soon it will ache, tingle, itch, burn, swell and maybe throb.
Argh! Cancel my dental appointment, cancel my night out with my friends, cancel my date, forget chorus rehearsal, post pone our wedding!!!
Having a cold sore can be a downer. They are unsightly and usually quite painful. Cold sores interrupt our social life. And they always seem to pop up at the worst moments.
What Are Cold Sores?
Cold sores are a group of tiny blisters that occur on or around your lips. They often start with an itching or burning sensation around your mouth, followed by the appearance of small fluid- filled sores.
The blisters can coalesce forming larger blisters. Cold sore blisters usually break, forming a crust which heals in 7-10 days. They can leave scars or discoloration of the skin. And they can leave a permanently sensitive spot around or on the lips.
What Causes Cold Sores?
Cold sores are caused by a herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) closely related to the one which causes genital herpes.
The virus is quite contagious – 80 – 90 % of people have been infected. During an active outbreak it is very important to take precautions around infants and immune compromised individuals.
After an initial cold sore outbreak, the herpes simplex 1 virus lies dormant in the ganglion of the trigeminal nerve that serves the area of the mouth.
When the virus is again triggered it tends to travel down the same nerve, appearing as a cold sore outbreak in the usual place.
What Triggers a Cold Sore?
Anything that lowers the immune system can set the stage for a recurrence. Fever, strong sunlight, fatigue, certain foods, menstruation, physical mental or emotional stress and vaccination are among the common factors.
Keeping healthy with unprocessed food intake, good hydration, appropriately timed restful sleep, exercise and fresh air, mental and emotional rejuvenation, and so on, will go a long way in preventing a recurring acute outbreak of herpes simplex 1.
Susceptibility and Homeopathy
Repeated acute outbreaks of HSV-1 are really the expression of an underlying chronic imbalance which some people are prone to and others not. (In Homeopathy, we know this to be true of the majority of repeated acute illness – they are viewed as the tip of the iceberg of a deeper energetic disturbance.)
Why are some people more susceptible?
Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, father of the system of medicine we call Homeopathy, came to realize that the effect of many diseases can be present even after the acute infection has passed or is treated. (Samuel Hahnemann, The Chronic Diseases Their Peculiar Nature and Their Homeopathic Cure)
He also found out, after treating generations of families, that this effect can be present in future generations without the actual infection having been acquired.
This trans-generational deeper susceptibility, he called ‘miasmatic effects’ or Miasm. Hahnemann identified 3 Miasms in his lifetime.
The symptoms of HSV-1 (cold sores) most often place it in the sycotic miasm. Some other sycotic miasm dermatologic symptoms the individual suffering with chronic cold sores might have are: warts, moles, unnatural thickening of the skin as well as nails. These all represent an overgrowth of tissue which relates to the theme of sycosis – ‘Excess’.
Suppression of the eruption and discharge of a cold sore with over the counter or prescription drugs can lead to recurrence of cold sores (individual susceptibility) and trans-generational susceptibility.
Hahnemann found there was a link between suppressions of physical eruptions, discharges (and also those in the mental sphere) by chemical or other means, and the dynamics of any Miasm or deeper illness.
Understanding the individual and their discomfort through a miasmatic lens, gives essential information to the homeopath, helping them see the totality of the symptoms of the state of each patient in order to choose for them the most similar homeopathic medicine. (Law of Similars)
How To Take a Homeopathic Medicine
Homeopathic medicines are FDA regulated. They come in different potencies and can be purchased over the counter or from pharmacies on line that make them according to the Homeopathic Pharmacopea of the United States (HPUS).
The 30c or 6c potencies are most widely available in stores. Place 1-3 pellets of the chosen medicine of the selected potency on the tongue to dissolve.
If your symptoms are better, do not repeat the medicine unless symptoms return. If symptoms show no improvement after one to two doses 4-6 hours apart, look at using a different medicine. If still no improvement, consult a professional homeopathic practitioner.
If you suffer from frequent eruptions, see a professional practitioner for constitutional care. If the eruptions are associated with other chronic symptoms, see a professional practitioner soon.
Some Homeopathic Medicines for Cold Sores
There are over 240 remedies for cold sores or fever blisters, as they are sometimes called. Here are a few of the more commonly used medicines.
Rhus toxicodendron – Small inflamed blisters in clusters containing yellowish watery fluid. Intense burning with or without intense itching. Generally feeling sick/achiness but better by moving around; desires warmth or feels better in a warm bath can be confirming symptoms.
Arsenicum – Cold sore that burns intensely but feels better when a heated compress is applied. This medicine can be confirmed if the person has one or two other Arsenicum symptoms such as feeling anxious, restless, exhausted.
Natrum muriaticum – Blisters containing clear liquid, looking like little pearls. Other confirming symptoms may be cracked lips, a fever or a cold, desiring salty food, blisters coming on after emotional upset where the patient is averse consolation, being in intense sun. May stop an outbreak in the early tingling stage.
Hepar sulphuricum – Cold sores are painfully sensitive to touch or cold. Other confirming symptoms can be irritability and feeling generally cold and chilly to the degree of wearing a hat indoors. Often there is a low resistance to infection.
Graphites – Large individual blisters (pea size or larger) which itch and ooze a translucent sticky fluid the color of honey. The crusting over and cracking of the skin causes an extended healing process. The person may tend toward many skin problems.
Sepia – When other well indicated medicines fail, this will often be the one. Generally the person experiences a lack of vital energy, sluggishness. Yet they improve with vigorous exercise like running or dancing. It is related to Natrum muriaticum.
Thuja – A medicine which can be indicated for cold sores (or any eruptions) that come on after vaccination.
Non Homeopathic Help for Cold Sores
Super Lysine ointment
Sting Stop topical gel (Echinacea, Ledum, Urtica)
Ice – as soon as any sensation is felt
Capsicum – red pepper tincture or local application of strong red pepper tea
Honey – especially Manuka
Thank you to Barbara Bason, homeopath and speaker for Homeopathy Delaware, for presenting this topic on April 6, 2022 via Zoom.
Please join us on May 4, 2022, 6:30pm via Zoom to hear Afreen Kazi present “Myths and Facts About Homeopathy”.
National Center for Homeopathy www.homeopathycenter.org
Everybody’s Guide to Homeopathic Medicine by Cummings and Ullman