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Herbal Self-Help for Herpes

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Nothing like the stress of back to school or work to make those irritating lip blisters pop up

Nothing like the stress of back to school or work to make those irritating lip blisters pop up. But for the estimated 50 per cent of North Americans who suffer from the herpes simplex virus, the Prunella vulgaris (self-heal) plant offers promising help.

Chinese medical experts have used self-heal, a member of the mint family, for centuries to treat oral sores. Similarly, Europeans have traditionally used the herb to combat throat and mouth problems.

Now research by Drs. Spencer Lee and Song Lee of Dalhousie University in Halifax has revealed that self-heal inhibits the herpes virus. When isolated, one of the plant's active compounds, PVP-E, halted replication of both herpes simplex types I and II in cultured tissue cells pre-infected with the virus. The doctors also tested the extract on cells prior to exposure to the virus and were pleased to discover that PVP-E had no toxic effects but, in fact, protected the healthy cells from infection.

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